We examined nesting success and levels of nest predation and cowbird parasitism among five different silvicultural treatments: regenerating (3-6 years old), mid-rotation (12-15 years old), and thinned (17-23 years old) pine plantations, single-tree selection, and late-rotation pine-hardwood stands in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas from 1993 to 1995. We monitored 1674 nests. Differences in daily mortality and daily predation rate among two or more treatments were found for 4 and 3 of 12 species, respectively. These differences were lost following Bonferroni adjustments, but thinned stands had higher levels of predation than single-tree selection stands when predation levels were averaged across species. Daily predation rates were positively correlated with the relative abundance of birds, suggesting that nest predators respond to prey availability (i.e., nests) in a density-dependent manner. The relative abundance of cowbirds differed among treatments, with the highest densities in regenerating, thinned, and single-tree selection stands. Field Sparrows (Spizella pusilla) and Yellow-breasted Chats (Icteria virens) experienced higher levels of parasitism in thinned than regenerating plantations, whereas White-eyed Vireos (Vireo griseus) experienced higher parasitism in regenerating plantations than in mid-rotation or thinned plantations. Several shrub-nesting and 1 ground-nesting species had lower nesting success in thinned and regenerating plantations than has been reported in previously published studies. Thus, some seral stages of even-aged management may provide low-quality nesting habitat for several early-successional bird species. In contrast, many species nesting in mid-rotation and single-tree selection stands had nesting success similar to or greater than that found in previous studies, suggesting that some silvicultural treatments, when embedded in a largely forested landscape, may provide suitable habitat for forest land birds without affecting their reproductive success.
Additional publication details
Nesting success of birds in different silvicultural treatments in southeastern U.S. Pine Forests