Effect of white-tailed deer on songbirds within managed forests in Pennsylvania

  • Published source details deCalesta D.S. (1994) Effect of white-tailed deer on songbirds within managed forests in Pennsylvania. Journal of Wildlife Management, 58, 711-718.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Reduce adverse habitat alterations by excluding problematic terrestrial species

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Reduce adverse habitat alterations by excluding problematic terrestrial species

    A replicated study in four hardwood forest sites in Pennsylvania, USA, between 1980 and 1991 (deCaslesta 1994) found higher species richness and abundances of intermediate canopy-nesting songbirds in plots with lower densities of white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus across sixteen experimental plots (deer density of 3.7 deer/km2: averages of 17.5 individuals and 11 intermediate canopy-nesting species in each plot; 7.9 deer/km2: 16 individuals and 11.5 intermediate canopy-nesting species; 14.9 deer/km2: averages of 13 individuals and seven ICN species; 24.9 deer/km2: averages of 10.5 individuals and 7.5 intermediate canopy-nesting species).  Plots were 13 or 26 ha and contained between one and four deer. There were no changes in either species richness or abundance of ground-nesting or upper canopy-nesting species. Threshold densities for songbirds not found with high deer densities (eastern wood pewee Contopus virens, indigo bunting Passerina cyanea, least flycatcher Empidonax minimus, yellow-billed cuckoo Coccyzus americanus, cerulean warbler Dendroica cerulea, eastern phoebe Sayornis phoebe and American robin Turdus migratorius) appeared to be between 7.9 and 14.9 deer/km2.


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