Sapsucker Feeding Damages Crown-Released Yellow Birch Trees

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Feeding damage by yellow-bellied sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius varius L.) was evaluated in yellow birch crown-release studies in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The frequency and intensity of sapsucker feeding activity was related to crown-release with the most severe damage being inflicted on the more heavily released trees. Vigorous dominant poles were fed on more often than less vigorous codominant and intermediate poles, and sapsuckers preferred yellow birch trees as a summer food source over all other available tree species. Feeding holes were concentrated in an area on the main stem within the lower portion of birch crowns and just beneath them. Sapsucker feeding reduced annual growth of host trees, and top dying above girdles was often observed.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Assistant Forestry Technician, Northern Hardwoods Laboratory, maintained at Marquette, Michigan, by the North Cent. For. Exp. Sta., USDA Forest Service

Publication date: December 1, 1974

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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