Importance to Livestock and Wildlife
More info for the term: swamp
Purple loosestrife shoots may be grazed by white-tailed deer [2,102], muskrat [2,129], and rabbits [2,113], but extent of mammal herbivory is sometimes difficult to determine due to rapid regrowth of multiple new stems from browse points. In a mixed stand of purple loosestrife and cattail, foraging muskrats were observed to occasionally cut stems of purple loosestrife but preferentially fed on roots and overwintering shoots of cattail .
While purple loosestrife invasion is often reported as detrimental to wetland-bird habitat, some evidence indicates little to no harmful effect. American coot, pied-billed grebe, black-crowned night heron, American goldfinch and gray catbird have all been observed nesting in purple loosestrife stands [2,102]. Red-winged blackbirds preferentially nest in purple loosestrife over cattails [101,142]. American goldfinch construct nests in purple loosestrife, utilizing the relatively stable stalks to attach nests above the ground or water surface . Pied-billed grebes use dead purple loosestrife stems as nest substrate in habitat with standing and emergent vegetation . In a 2-year survey of birds in wetlands surrounding Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay in eastern Lower Michigan, swamp sparrow nests were most abundant in areas of purple loosestrife dominance .
Although purple loosestrife, with its tiny seeds, has been assumed to provide little to no food for birds , there are several reports of ducks and red-winged blackbirds consuming purple loosestrife seeds , and a report of damage to experimental seedling plots in England caused by ring-necked pheasants and pigeons .
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