We described passerine nesting in Chickasaw plum (Prunus angustifolia) as related to plum age in north-central Oklahoma during the 2007 and 2008 nesting seasons to better understand the role of plum in bird ecology. We measured properties of nests (height aboveground), nest-supporting stems (height, diameter, age) and nesting stands (age, area). We observed Bell's vireos (Vireo bellii), brown thrashers (Toxostoma rufum), field sparrows (Spizella pusilla), northern mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos) and painted buntings (Passerina ciris) nesting in plum stands and inferred nesting by blue grosbeaks (P. caerulea), greater roadrunners (Geococcyx californianus), mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) and northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis). Nest height was consistent among species at averages ranging from 0.7 m (se = 0.13, n = 5) for field sparrows to 1.1 m (se = 0.07, n = 30) for northern mockingbirds. Bell's vireos and field sparrows nested on younger stems (average age = 7 y) than the other species (average age = 12–15 y). Availability of relatively old (≥10 y) stands of Chickasaw plum was necessary to maximize richness of shrub-nesting grassland-associated birds in Oklahoma.
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Vol. 164 • No. 1