We compared cavity-nesting bird communities in aspen (Populus tremuloides) woodland fragments classified on the basis of vegetation structure (tree density) and landscape context (surrounding vegetation). We found very few cavity nesters in fragments predominantly surrounded by forests. Fragments adjacent to meadows contained more species and a greater abundance of cavity nesters. Species richness and abundance were higher in sparsely than in densely treed meadow fragments. Because secondary cavity nesters are often limited by cavity availability, we augmented natural cavities with nest boxes. Although only five boxes contained bird nests, these were all in sparse aspen fragments predominantly surrounded by meadows. However, we found 25 northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) nests in boxes, none of which were in sparse meadow fragments. In addition to high-lighting the importance of landscape context in avian and mammalian habitat relationships, our results suggest that predator or competitor interactions may help structure this cavity-nester community. ?? The Cooper Ornithological Society 2002.
Additional publication details
Composition of cavity-nesting bird communities in montane aspen woodland fragments: The roles of landscape context and forest structure