Woodpecker use of forested wetlands in Central Peninsular Florida
Abbreviated Journal Title
CAVITY-NESTING BIRDS; BOTTOMLAND HARDWOOD FOREST; RIPARIAN FORESTS; HABITAT; ABUNDANCE; COMMUNITIES; SIZE; AVAILABILITY; POPULATIONS; MANAGEMENT; Biodiversity Conservation; Ecology
Habitat preferences for many woodpeckers are poorly known in many regions of North America. Seven woodpecker species use forested wetlands in peninsular Florida, yet no study has examined habitat use by woodpeckers in these forests. From September 1991 to August 1992, we used unlimited-distance point counts to sample birds at 32 stations in 2 forested wetland types (spring-fed and blackwater) in central Florida. We documented 1415 visual or aural woodpecker detections. Melanerpes carolinus (Red-bellied Woodpecker), Picoides pubescens (Downy Woodpecker), and Dyrocopus pileatus (Pileated Woodpecker) were common, accounting for 91% of all detections. Overall woodpecker abundance was greater in spring-fed forests than in blackwater forests. The relative abundance of 4 species was greatest during the fall and winter; this trend likely reflected shifts between habitats in response to fruit production as well as an influx of migrant Sphyrapicus varius (Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers). The relative abundance of Red-bellied and Pileated woodpeckers was greatest at sites surrounded by extensive forest cover. Unlike other studies, we found no relationship between woodpecker abundance and tree or snag basal area. The presence of Quercus spp. (oaks) also did not appear important to woodpeckers. Compared to other studies, snag density in the forests we sampled was high. This may have reduced the importance of snags to woodpeckers or made detecting relationships difficult. A high density of Sabal palmetto (sabal palm) may have provided additional foraging and nesting/roosting sites that further contributed to the lack of correlations between woodpecker detections and the presence of snags and oaks.
"Woodpecker use of forested wetlands in Central Peninsular Florida" (2006). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 6341.