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Use of Artificially Created Douglas-Fir Snags by Cavity-Nesting Birds

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In western Oregon, we created snags by sawing tops off live Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) (n = 821) trees and monitored their condition and use by cavity-nesting birds. We created snags in three silvicultural treatments: modified clearcut stands, two-story stands, and small-patch group-selection stands. We used two snag patterns: clumped and scattered. Created snags averaged 3.8/ha in density, 17 m in height, and 75 cm in diameter. Chainsaw-topped snags were used by cavity nesters within 5 yr of creation. Abundance of excavated cavities increased in all silvicultural treatments (P = 0.0001) and was higher in two-story and clearcut stands than in small-patch stands (P ≤ 0.0004). We did not, however, find that snag pattern (clumped v. scattered) affected use by cavity-nesting birds based on abundance of excavated cavities (P > 0.6). We observed excavated cavities in five hardwood species indicating that hardwoods represented an important resource for cavity-nesting birds. Creating conifer snags by topping and retaining hardwoods may retain or increase populations of cavity nesters in areas with low natural snag density. West. J. Appl. For. 12(3):93-97.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, Holdsworth Natural Resources Center, Box 34210, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, 01003

Publication date: 01 July 1997

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