Use of Created Snags by Cavity-Nesting Birds Across 25 Years

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Managers often intentionally create snags to mitigate the long-term declines of natural snags, yet information regarding use of created snags by wildlife across long timescales is lacking.

Oregon State and USGS researchers used a long-term experiment to examine foraging and nesting use of 25-27 year-old Douglas-fir snags by cavity-nesting birds. They also compared contemporary measures of bird use to historic surveys on the same snags to quantify how use changed over time. More than 750 hours of observation across two breeding seasons indicated that use of old snags was limited: 11% of snags were used for nesting by four bird species. There were few observations of birds using created snags as foraging substrates. Comparing results to historic surveys, researchers noted that greatest period of use occurred within 5-15 years after snags were created. This study contributes to a more complete understanding of how decay processes and forest development change the usefulness of created snags for cavity-nesting species through time.

 

Barry, A.M., Hagar, J.C., Rivers, J.W., 2018, Use of created snags by cavity-nesting birds across 25 Years: Journal of Wildlife Management, https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.21489.