Pine Forets and Northern Hemisphere birdlife

To: "" <>
Subject: Pine Forets and Northern Hemisphere birdlife
From: "Innes, Angus" <>
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2015 08:02:18 +0000
Roger Giller queried the position of birdlife in northern hemisphere pine 
forests, specifically mentioning natural pine forests.

A number of bird species and families are found in northern hemisphere pine 
forests, including several who have specifically adapted to eat the seeds in 
pine cones. The most famous of those is the crossbill family (including Common 
Crossbill, Parrot Crossbill and Scottish Crossbill) that have evolved powerful 
cross over beaks specifically adapted to extract the seed in large pine cones.

Amongst the birdlife found in pine forests include the Crested Tit, Pine 
Grosbeak, several species of Corvids and of the Owl, Grouse and Woodpecker 
families.  Words such as "Pine" (e.g. Pine Grosbeak, Pine Siskin) and "Spruce" 
(e.g. Spruce Grouse) in the names of some species tell you the habitat in which 
the bird is dominantly found.

Different species of pine will attract a different mix of species, for example 
forests dominated by larch species, that have small cones, will attract 
different species to the large cone bearing pines. Here in the UK, the remnants 
of the great Caledonian Pine Forests are a mix of tree species, including birch 
and oak, but dominated by the Scots Pine. This forest, in the rocky Scottish 
Highlands, is almost exclusively the home of the endemic Scottish Crossbill 
and, in the UK, of the  Crested Tit  and Capercaille.  Many other bird species 
are also found in this forest.

Pine plantations are often monocultures of one pine species, deliberately grown 
close together to prevent side light and force straight growth and minimal side 
branches. Minimal plant diversity, minimal  insect and bird diversity. Fairly 
simple cause and effect situation.

Angus Innes.
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