Bird communities in the sacred groves of Epirus, Greece

Published: 08-06-2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/9pbjfx24pp.1


Scientific context In Greece, sacred groves were mainly established in mountainous regions during the Ottoman Period (15th-19th century), currently remaining as old growth stands of large trees around chapels that are relatively undisturbed and are by principle excluded from logging by the Forest Service. They can be considered as primary old-growth forests, as they are naturally regenerated forests of native tree species, where there are no clearly visible indications of human activities and the ecological processes are not significantly disturbed (FAO and UNEP, 2020). Description The dataset includes the bird dataset of oak-dominated sacred groves in comparison with their respective oakwood control sites that are under a forest management regime, in Epirus Region, Northern Easter Greece. It includes: a. Site localities: Code of the forests sampled, forest type (sacred or managed), name of the chapel, name of the forest locality in terms of the nearest village, and the coordinates of the bird point counts (GGRS87 / Greek Grid) b. Bird inventory: The inventory of passerine and woodpecker species sampled. c. Bird database: the full dataset including the maximum abundance recorded for each species during sampling. Species that were recorded in the sites but not during the sampling process are marked with * and were not included in data analysis.


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Woodpeckers sampling Woodpeckers were sampled during their breeding season (March to April 2011), following a standard protocol (RIC, 1999). Sampling was performed from 30 min after sunrise for five hours. Woodpeckers were counted in the center of the sites (point counts) using a portable audio player to transmit their breeding calls (call playback method) to 50–60 m and for a fixed duration of 30–40 seconds. We introduced a fixed time interval of 2 min between two successive playback calls, starting from the species that was smallest in size. Passerine sampling The point count method (Bibby et al., 1992) was adopted to record all passerine birds seen or heard within a circle of 100 m radius for 10 min, from the same points as used for woodpecker sampling. Sampling took place in the early morning hours (30 min before and 4 h after sunrise) with two repetitions (April–June 2012) to capture both sedentary and late migrant species in the samples. We counted territorial breeding songs as two individuals and any other calls as a single individual. The maximum abundance recorded during the two sampling repetitions is presented. References Bibby, C.J., Burgess, N.D., Hill, D.A., 1992. Bird Census Techniques (Google eBook). Academic Press. FAO and UNEP, 2020. The State of the World’s Forests 2020. Forests, biodiversity and people. Rome RIC, 1999. Inventory Methods for Woodpeckers. Standards for Components of British Columbia’s Biodiversity, No.19. Ver. ed. The Province of British Columbia, Canada.