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A land manager's guide to conserving habitat for forest birds in ...

A land manager's guide to conserving habitat for forest birds in ...

Male Yellow-bellied

Male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker — Photo: Daniel Cadieux “There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before.” Robert Lynd 48

Female Pileated Woodpecker —Photo: Robert McCaw HARVESTING EFFECTS ON BIRDS This section provides a description of the general impacts of forest harvesting on birds. To assist managers we have developed a table of specific bird species responses to forest management practices (see Bird Response to Forest Management Practices on pages 50–53) along with the bird species accounts (starting on page 99) which will assist both in identifying birds and describing their habitat and management preferences. Abundance and Diversity The effect of tree harvesting on birds depends not only on the species in question but also the intensity and size of the harvest compared to the surrounding landscape. Clear cut harvesting (where the canopy is completely removed) results in nearly a complete turnover of the bird community, particularly when the clear cut is large. The climate will shift from one that is relatively moist, cool, and dim to a warmer, brighter, drier, harsher environment with greater daily changes in abiotic (non-living) conditions. Mature forest birds will not thrive in a clear cut, and species like Eastern Wood-Pewee, Ovenbird, and Acadian Flycatcher will abandon these stands for a decade or more. As the new regenerating vegetation grows, birds requiring early successional habitat, like the Bluewinged Warbler and Indigo Bunting will appear. When the canopy begins to grow and close in (approximately 10 years post harvest), more forest dependent bird species return. However, it may take 35 to 45 years for forest interior or mature forest birds to re-inhabit an old clear cut. In contrast, shelterwood harvesting may retain sufficient canopy cover to prevent the initial loss of many mature forest bird species. Still, the abundance of many of these species will be lower than on uncut or selectively logged stands. The number of bird species is often greatest on shelterwood stands after the regeneration cut, because both mature forest and early successional habitat are available. Early successional habitat (Chestnut-sided Warbler nest site) — Photo: Mark Peck Harvesting Effects on Birds 49

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