For my master thesis, I study landscape and parcel scale habitat preferences of birds in intensive fruit cultures in Valais.
With the help of the young ornithologist Célestin Luisier, we surveyed five times 38 sites between Sierre and Martigny in winter and spring.
At landscape scale, results highlight the importance of semi-natural structures such as hedges, bushes, forest patches, isolated trees and marshes for bird diversity and abundance.
At parcel scale, analyses show a preference for extensive plantations with older trees. Food availability is a priority for parcel selection with an effect of leftover fruits in winter and an effect of accessibility depending on vegetation height and density in spring.
Following these results, we recommend to preserve and create semi-natural structures and promote extensive management in order to improve the situation for birds.