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During nesting season it is known to play an important role in grassland bird ecology (Dunkin & Guthery 2010: 151). In north-central Oklahoma, Bell’s vireos (Vireo bellii), brown thrashers (Toxostoma rufum), field sparrows (Spizella pusilla), northern mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos) and painted buntings (Passerina ciris) nest in Prunus angustifolia stands and inferred nesting by blue grosbeaks (P. caerulea), greater roadrunners (Geococcyx californianus), mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) and northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) (Dunkin & Guthery 2010: 151). The average age of Prunus angustifolia individuals in the study was 14-17 years, suggesting the importance of maintaining older stands for protecting shrub-nesting bird diversity (Dunkin & Guthery 2010: 155).
Prunus angustifolia is thought to have been cultivated by indigenous peoples of North America. Bartram (1955) reported “The Chicasaw plumb I think must be excepted, for though certainly a native of America, yet I never saw it wild in the forests, but always in old deserted Indian plantations: I suppose it to have been brought from the S. W. beyond the Missisippi, by the Chicasaws.”
Bartram, W. 1955. Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida. Dover Publications, New York.
Dunkin, S.W. & Guthery F.S. 2010. Bird Nesting in Chickasaw Plum Related to Age of Plum in Oklahoma. The American Midland Naturalist 164: 151-156.