Ecological - Second Order
Fire & Wildlife
We monitored the nest densities and nest survival of seven cavity-nesting bird species, including four open-space foragers (American Kestrel [Falco sparverius], Lewis's Woodpecker [Melanerpes lewis], Western Bluebird [Sialia mexicana], and Mountain Bluebird [S. currucoides]) and three wood-foragers (Hairy Woodpecker [Picoides villosus], Black-backed Woodpecker [P. arcticus], and Northern Flicker [Colaptes auratus]), after two wildfires (one partially salvage-logged and one unlogged) in western Idaho from 1994-2004. We estimated the relationship between nest density and time since fire, tested for statistical differences in nest densities and nest survival in the partially salvage-logged vs. unlogged wildfires, and tested for differences in nest survival between early (1-4 years after fire) and late (5-12 years after fire) post-fire periods. Nest densities of open-space foragers and Northern Flickers generally increased with time since fire, whereas nest densities of Black-backed and Hairy Woodpeckers peaked 4-5 years post-fire. Nest densities of wood-foraging species and Mountain Bluebirds were significantly higher in the unlogged burn, whereas Lewis's Woodpeckers had significantly higher nest densities in the partially logged burn. Kestrels tended to favor the partially logged burn, while Western Bluebird nest densities were nearly equal in both burned areas. For most species, post-fire period and treatment (partially logged vs. unlogged) had little influence on nest survival. However, Hairy Woodpecker nest survival was significantly lower in the partially logged burn versus the unlogged wildfire in the early post-fire period, and Lewis's Woodpecker nest survival was significantly reduced in the later post-fire period versus the early post-fire period in the partially logged burn. Importantly, the salvage logging was designed to retain more than half of the snags over 23 cm in diameter, which provided suitable nesting habitat for open-space foragers during the decade following fire.