Large wildfires are common in many western coniferous forests, and these fires can affect woodpecker reproduction and habitat use. Our objectives were to examine nesting densities, reproductive parameters, and species-specific habitat selection of woodpeckers in a recently burned region of the Black Hills in South Dakota, USA, between 2001 and 2004. Postfire nesting densities were greatest in areas dominated by high prefire canopy cover, and reproductive success averaged >70%. For some species of woodpeckers, factors such as diameter at breast height, burn severity, and distance to unburned patches were important for nest-site selection. Our data indicated that nesting densities of many woodpeckers in the Black Hills were lower than what has been recorded elsewhere following recent, large wildfires in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests. Management activities that simulate mixed-severity fire effects and retain higher numbers of large snags are likely to benefit cavity nesters in this region.
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Vol. 72 • No. 2