The red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) is a widespread, adaptable species that continues to decline across North America. We examined stand, nest-tree, and cavity characteristics of red-headed woodpeckers in restored savannas within the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, Wisconsin, USA, during 2002 and 2003. Based on availability, red-headed woodpeckers selected snags and trees with greater dead limb length. Red-headed woodpeckers nested in areas with greater basal area, cavity density, snag density, limb-tree density, and total dead limb length. Red-headed woodpeckers exhibited a decadent-tree threshold that was most accurately measured by the number of trees with dead limbs around (0.04 ha) nests. We found that the probability of a red-headed woodpecker nest being present greatly increased above the decadent-tree threshold. Woodland managers throughout the red-headed woodpecker's extensive breeding range can use our results and recommendations to guide decadent-tree retention for this species.
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Vol. 71 • No. 1