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Factors Affecting Road Mortality of the Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica in Farmland

Acta Ornithologica, 40(2) : 117-12


Ninety-nine road-killed Barn Swallows were found during three years of studies on a 48.8 km road network in an intensively farmed landscape in SW Poland. Nearly 88% of all road-kills were recorded in built-up areas and on road sections in their vicinity. The average number of road-kills per 1 km of roads was over twenty times higher in built-up areas than in open agricultural landscape (6.74 vs 0.33 road-kills/1 km). This paper investigates the influence of environmental factors (lines of trees along roads, number of livestock, volume of traffic, number of inhabitants) on the level of Barn Swallow mortality on the roads in question. During the breeding season the number of birds killed in built-up areas was related positively to the number of cattle reared, the overall number of livestock (including pigs) and the number of inhabitants. In the multiple regression model following stepwise forward selection, the number of cattle explained 41% of the variance in the size of the whole-year road mortality of swallows in the built-up area. During the autumn migration period the length of tree-lined road sections in the built-up area had an significant influence on road-kill frequency, explaining 36% of the variance in mortality. Mortality was high on tree-lined sections of road in adverse weather conditions.

Author(s): Orłowski, Grzegorz

Journal: Acta Ornithologica, 40(2) : 117-12

Year: 2005