The aim of this research was to characterise the breeding bird assemblage inhabiting an intensively cultivated, conventional apple orchard in central Poland (51°41′45.1″N, 20°42′08.9″E) and to assess the consequences of this kind of management. The density of birds in such habitats is high, but the species composition is poor. Breeding success was evaluated and habitat parameters were described. The chemicals currently applied do not appear to restrict the species composition of breeding birds. A bigger problem in this context emerges from how the trees are trained and spaced in such an orchard: the crowns are pruned into a small, elongated rectangle and frequently thinned, and the tree density is high. This study is the first one published in Poland that provides definitive evidence of the harmful consequences to breeding birds of intensifying cultivation in apple orchards.
Intensification of agriculture, Birds in orchards, Habitat characteristics, Breeding success