Translator Disclaimer
Author Affiliations +

We investigated the occurrence of, and relationships among, snags and cavity-nesting birds in the rapidly urbanizing region around Seattle, Washington in 2001 and 2002. We measured the density of snags in 49 sites (1-km2 “suburban landscapes” that included built and forested portions), and determined the diameter, height, decay status, and species of individual snags. We spot-mapped territories and observed nests of cavity-nesting birds at a stratified, random subsample of 13 sites. Snags, especially red alder (Alnus rubra), were abundant in sites' forested portions, but rare in the built portions. Snag density was positively correlated with density of live trees. Snags in built versus forested portions were similar in all attributes except decay, which was more advanced in forested areas. In the oldest suburbs (60–80 years old), snags in forested portions were larger, more decayed, and more likely to have broken tops than those in younger suburbs (2–20 years old). Cavity-nesting bird species richness and equity of individuals per species was highest in suburban landscapes where remaining forest was not fragmented, but adjacent to highly intermixed urban and urban-forest land covers. Suburban landscapes with highly interspersed land covers had higher densities of Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus), Red-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta canadensis), Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus) and Downy Woodpeckers (Picoides pubescens); suburban landscapes with higher percentages of forest had higher densities of Brown Creepers (Certhia americana), Chestnut-backed Chickadees (Poecile rufescens), Pileated (Dryocopus pileatus) and Hairy Woodpeckers (Picoides villosus). Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber) densities were positively correlated only with the density of snags. All study sites had low bird densities compared to wildlands, presumably due to the relative lack of live trees and snags. Cavity-nesting birds bred successfully in all landscapes; seven of the nine species produced fledglings in >50% of their nesting attempts. Snags important for nesting were larger in diameter, taller, and more decayed than expected based on availability. Snags with active nests also had evidence of previous use, fungal conks, broken tops, and substantial bark.

Efectos de la Expansión Urbana sobre la Abundancia y la Productividad de Aves que Nidifican en Cavidades

Resumen. Durante el 2001 y 2002, investigamos la presencia de, y la relación entre, troncos muertos y aves que nidifican en cavidades en los alrededores de Seattle (Washington), una región que está urbanizándose rápidamente. Medimos la densidad de troncos en 49 sitios (1-km2 de “paisajes suburbanos” que incluyeron ambientes edificados y bosques) y determinamos el diámetro, altura, estado de descomposición y especie de troncos individuales. Mapeamos los territorios mediante registros puntuales y observamos los nidos de aves que nidifican en cavidades en una sub-muestra estratificada y al azar de 13 sitios. Los troncos, especialmente de Alnus rubra, fueron abundantes en las áreas con bosque, pero raros en las áreas edificadas. La densidad de troncos se correlacionó positivamente con la densidad de árboles vivos. Los troncos de las áreas edificadas y de las áreas con bosque fueron similares en todos sus atributos excepto en su descomposición, que fue más avanzada en los sitios boscosos. En los suburbios más viejos (60–80 años), los troncos en las áreas con bosque fueron más grandes, estuvieron más descompuest

Christina M. Blewett and John M. Marzluff "EFFECTS OF URBAN SPRAWL ON SNAGS AND THE ABUNDANCE AND PRODUCTIVITY OF CAVITY-NESTING BIRDS," The Condor 107(3), 678-693, (1 August 2005).[0678:EOUSOS]2.0.CO;2
Received: 8 May 2003; Accepted: 1 April 2005; Published: 1 August 2005

Get copyright permission
Back to Top