Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Reduce inter-specific competition for nest sites by modifying habitats to exclude competitor species

How is the evidence assessed?

Study locations

Key messages

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.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. 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.

    Study and other actions tested
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. (2020) Bird Conservation. Pages 137-281 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust