Nest-Site Characteristics of Red-bellied and Red-headed Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers in East-Central Ohio
Creators:Ingold, Danny J.
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Citation:The Ohio Journal of Science. v94, n1 (March, 1994), 2-7
In order to understand more clearly what factors limit the reproductive success of primary cavity-nesting birds, it is important to examine and compare the nest-site characteristics of sympatric species in a variety of forest and woodland habitats. To add to the data already available on various woodpecker species in eastern and central North America, several nest-site and habitat characteristics were compared and quantified for 46 red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus), 26 red-headed woodpecker (M. erythrocephalus), and 44 northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) nest cavities. Flicker nest cavities had larger entrances and were located lower in trees than were red-bellied and red-headed woodpecker cavities. Red-bellied woodpeckers excavated fresh nest cavities surrounded by bark in living trees significantly more often than flickers and red-headed woodpeckers. Red-bellied woodpecker cavities were also located in limbs angling downward more often than those of flickers and red-headed woodpeckers, although the difference in frequency was not significant. The compass orientation of nest cavities was random in all species. Redbellied woodpeckers nested in forested areas with abundant ground vegetation more frequently than did flickers and red-headed woodpeckers. The continued existence of northern flickers and particularly redheaded woodpeckers in the Unglaciated Plateau region of Ohio is probably dependent on the continued existence of large dead trees in the region.
Author Institution: Department of Biology, Muskingum College
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