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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Reduce inter-specific competition for nest sites by modifying habitats to exclude competitor species Bird Conservation

Key messages

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A replicated controlled study from the USA found no impact of midstorey clearance on the occupation of red-cockaded woodpecker Picoides borealis nesting cavities by southern flying squirrels Glaucomys volans.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A controlled, replicated study in 1990-1 in mixed loblolly pine Pinus taeda and shortleaf pine Pinus echinata forests in eastern Texas, USA (Conner et al. 1996) found that red-cockaded woodpecker Picoides borealis nest cavities were occupied by southern flying squirrels Glaucomys volans and woodpeckers at approximately the same rates. Nest cavity occupation by both species was unaffected by the clearance of midstory hardwood vegetation in woodpecker territories (17 sites cleared of hardwood: 51% of cavities occupied by woodpeckers, 22% by squirrels; seven sites not cleared: 52% occupied by woodpeckers, 27% occupied by squirrels). Midstory vegetation is often assumed to encourage flying squirrels.


Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Bird Conservation. Pages 141-290 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.