Bird Abundance and Cavity Use 25 Years After Timber Stand Improvement

Relative abundance of birds and cavity use by vertebrates were determined on 2 20-ha sites in a mature, second-growth Appalachian forest. One site received timber stand improvement (TSI) by tree girdling 25 years prior to measurement, and the other site did not receive TSI. Although snag density, animal-created cavity density, tree density, and tree basal area were higher on the TSI site than on the control, there were few differences in the relative abundance of birds between sites. Whitebreasted nuthatches (Sitta carolinensis) and wood thrushes (Hylocichla mustelina) were more abundant on the control than on the TSI site. Cavity use was dominated by gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) and flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans). Higher snag and animal-cavity densities did not result in higher cavity-associated bird abundance on the TSI area relative to the control area, but cavity use by vertebrates was higher on the TSI area than on the control. TSI seemingly had no adverse effects on cavity-nesting birds 25 years after treatment.

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