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Observational foraging behaviour of avian pollinators in restored and remnant Banksia woodlands

Citation

Ritchie, Alison; Elliott, Carole; Sinclair, Elizabeth; Krauss, Siegfried (2022), Observational foraging behaviour of avian pollinators in restored and remnant Banksia woodlands , Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ncjsxksvk

Abstract

Pollinators, and the pollination services they provide, are critical for seed set and self-sustainability of most flowering plants. Despite this, pollinators are rarely assessed in restored plant communities, where their services are largely assumed to re-establish. This data set contains the bird-pollinator richness, foraging and bird interaction behaviour between natural and restored Banksia woodland sites in Western Australia. These parameters were measured for natural communities of varying size and degree of fragmentation, and restored plant communities of high and low complexity for three years, in the summer and winter flowering of Banksia attenuata and B. menziesii, respectively. Data collected was used to assess the re-establishment of avian pollinators in restored sites.

Methods

Floral visitor surveys were conducted, observing two spatially distant (> 20m) flowering trees with ≥ 5 inflorescences  and their surrounding neighbours were monitored for floral visitors within a site, one by the same observer and the other by one volunteer. A list of bird species observed during the floral visitor surveys was collated to document differences in the general bird community (i.e. beyond nectarivores). Banksia attenuata trees were monitored in three summers (once in 2010/2011 and twice in each of 2011/2012 and 2012/2013) and B. menziesii trees were monitored over three winters (once 2011 and twice in each of 2012 and 2013), during days without rain or high wind. A total of 96 survey days were conducted in a consecutive sequence of 5-day blocks during peak Banksia flowering for each Banksia species. On each survey day, visits to inflorescences by bird species were observed for eight, 10-minute census periods each hour, starting within 30 minutes of sunrise.

Observers recorded the species and foraging behaviour for each floral visit to a maternal tree as follows: 1) Visitation – foraging bouts were counted as the continuous tracking of a single floral visitor until lost from sight or survey time elapsed, 2) Intra-tree – the next inflorescence visited was located on the same tree, 3) Near neighbour – the next inflorescence visited was on an adjacent tree of B. attenuata or B. menziesii (< 3m), 4) Distant – the next inflorescence was not on a neighbour tree (< 10m), 5) To non-Banksia – after the foraging bout the visitor visited another plant species, 6) Out of the site – after the initial foraging bout, the visitor moved out of the observation survey area (> 10m), 7) Probed inflorescence (yes/no), 8) Number of inflorescences visited and the time spent foraging – for each tree during a foraging bout, and 9) Foraging interaction – during each foraging bout, any intra- or inter-specific species displacement as recorded by species type and frequency. Pollinator Movement Index (PMI) was also calculated. Site landscape characteristics were also included within this dataset, isolation, total edge, edge contrast, site type, density edge, and percentage of urban, floristic and structure.

Funding

Australian Research Council, Award: LP100100620