Breeding Bird Census of Suurpelto Agricultural Area – Summary
Suurpelto (”Great Fields”) is a small (1.4 square km) agricultural area located in the middle of the City of Espoo, South Finland (see Helsinki area tourist map). As Espoo is a fast-growing city, this area too is under building pressures. A breeding bird census was made at Suurpelto in 2000 in order to find out the area’s importance for birds. The results will be used in future city planning.
The study-area consists mainly of fields in agricultural use, with some forests and thickets bordering them. The birds were counted with a mapping census method (Koskimies & Väisänen 1988) on four mornings and two evenings in April-June. Due to the method, the numbers of all the species (such as Jackdaw, Corvus monedula) could not be reliably counted.
A total of 42 species and 247-249 pairs of birds were breeding on the study-area. Their territories are shown on map 1. The most abundant species were Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs; 26 pairs), Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis; 18 pairs), Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella; 17 pairs) Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus; 15 pairs) and Great Tit (Parus major; 15 pairs).
One threatened species (Ortolan Bunting, Emberiza hortulana), five near threatened species (according to the Finnish Red List, Rassi et al. 2000) and two species indicating valuable traditional habitats (according to Leivo 1995) were also breeding on the area. The territories of these birds are shown on map 2. In addition, several species that do not breed on the area (e.g. Wood Pigeon, Columba palumbus) use it as a food source.
- Koskimies, P. & Väisänen, R. A. 1991: Monitoring bird populations. A manual of methods applied in Finland, pp. 63-73. Zoological Museum, Finnish Museum of Natural History, Helsinki.
- Leivo M. 1995: Suomen tärkeät lintualueet - FINIBA: Alustavat kriteerit. Manuscript. Finnish Environment Institute, Helsinki. (in Finnish)
- Rassi, P., Alanen, A., Kanerva, T. & Mannerkoski, I. (eds.) 2000: Suomen lajien uhanalaisuus 2000. Finnish Ministry of the Environment, Helsinki. http://www.vyh.fi/luosuo/lumo/lasu/uhanal/uhanal.htm / http://www.ymparisto.fi/default.asp?node=1758&lan=FI [2001-03-15, address changed 2004-02-04] (In Finnish)