ISSN 1067-4136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2008, Vol. 39, No. 6, pp. 418–424. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2008.
Original Russian Text © A.P. Galanina, 2008, published in Ekologiya, 2008, No. 6, pp. 441–448.
Today, it is impossible to consider the formation of
bird communities without taking into account the effect
of anthropogenic factors, which involves both transfor-
mation of the environment and direct impact on the
fauna (Popov, 1969). The formation of bird communi-
ties in transformed habitats, where their sensitivity to
anthropogenic factors changes depending on seasonal
phenomena in the life of birds, is poorly studied,
although knowledge of the seasonal dynamics of corre-
sponding bird populations and factors determining their
spatial structure in different periods of life is important
for revealing trends in the development of the bird
fauna. Data on the abundance of individual bird species
may be used as a basis for expert evaluation of the eco-
The purpose of this study was to estimate the char-
acter and strength of anthropogenic effect on parame-
ters of bird communities and to reveal probable peri-
odic changes in this effect.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Studies on the seasonal dynamics of the bird fauna
were performed in the test area near the Sviyazhskii
State Nature Reserve, which includes the landscape
complex of the left-bank ﬂoodplain of the Sviyaga
River delta and the Sviyaga–Volga interﬂuve, and also
at the nearby Zoological Station of Kazan State Univer-
sity, where broadleaf forests characteristic of the right-
bank Volga region (upland oak forests) alternate with
steppiﬁcated slopes (
Watershed slopes descending toward the Volga and
Sviyaga are plowed. The degree of agricultural land
development on the slope toward the Sviyaga is lower,
since it is strongly dissected by small rivers and ravines.
Ravines and gullies are under heavy grazing load.
Undeveloped areas in the ﬂoodplain are actively used
for recreation. Some other areas are land-ﬁlled to be
used as construction sites.
The study area has a highly patchy pattern, includ-
ing small forests, rivers, oxbow lakes, meadows, and
ﬁelds, with their area reaching several tens of hectares.
For example, the valleys of small rivers (the Kubnya,
Arya, and Buva) contain small groves, meadows, and
swamped sites. Despite the patchwork of landscape ele-
ments (stations), an untransformed river valley sur-
rounded by cultivated ﬁelds is an integrated whole.
Such relatively small sites surrounded by areas with
markedly different conditions for animals (cultivated
ﬁelds, populated areas, the water area of Sviyaga Bay,
shoreline, etc.) were designated
. With regard to prevailing stations, six condi-
tional types of these compartments were distinguished
(1) open areas (either near or far from the shore);
(2) patchy habitats including a small river, an oxbow
lake, or a segment of the Sviyaga in its narrow part and
surrounding areas; (3) forested shores; (4) forest areas
(forests, forest margins, or forest strips); (5) populated
areas; and (6) parts of the Sviyaga Bay water area (the
Kuibyshev Reservoir), usually with islands.
The material was collected by means of bird cen-
suses taken along permanent (but not strictly ﬁxed)
transects in 41 compartments between May and Sep-
tember 2004, twice a month (below, indices I and II
refer to the ﬁrst and second halves of the month).
An area of approximately 100 km
was surveyed, with
the total length of census routes being 830 km. The
results were used to calculate bird population density.
Specific Features of Bird Community Formation Depending
on the Degree of Anthropogenic Impact
A. P. Galanina
Kazan State University, Kremlevskaya ul. 18, Kazan, 420008 Tatarstan, Russia;
Received December 13, 2007
—The population density and relative abundance of some bird species reach the highest values in the
communities of habitats with a high degree of anthropogenic transformation. The species diversity of birds
shows an inverse correlation with the index of anthropogenic impact (in grades) calculated with regard to a
number of parameters. Relevant correlations change periodically, with the correlation coefﬁcient reaching the
highest values in the nesting period and decreasing to a minimum during the ﬂight period.
: anthropogenic impact, bird fauna, species diversity, correlation.