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Title: Response of Brown Creepers to forest edges in the southern Sierra Nevada

Author: Purcell, Kathryn; Thompson, Craig; Drynan, Douglas;

Date: 2012

Source: Condor 114(1):185-196

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: We studied the responses of the Brown Creepers (Certhia americana) to forest edges in the southern Sierra Nevada, California. We censused birds and monitored nests in four forest types over an elevational gradient. We identified homogeneous habitat patches homogeneous in terms of forest type, seral stage, and canopy cover and rated. eEdges between adjoining patches were assigned ratings ofas soft, moderate, or hard based on the basis of relative differences in habitat the suitability of adjacent patches. Brown Creepers were more abundant in sites with less high-contrast edge and more medium- and high- quality habitat. Creepers They avoided soft and moderate edges when selecting nest sites. Successful nests were in large-diameter substrates trees in forest with lower canopy closure and farther from moderate and hard edges compared tothan were unsuccessful nests. Our results showed cClear negative responses to edge in terms of abundance, nest location, and nest survival. This was were surprising because previous work has suggested that edge effects and the processes underlying them may differ in western coniferous forests due tobecause of their natural heterogeneity, and because historic past forest management practices in the region resulted in fairly soft edges. The strength of the response was somewhat tied to the severity of the edge, although creepers avoided even soft edges were avoided. Hard edges were relatively rare and primarily resulted primarily from natural discontinuities. Our results suggest that Brown Creepers wshould benefit from forest management practices that retains mature forest with minimal discontinuities, regardless of their source. Results also suggest that differences in relative habitat quality rather than differences in vegetation were responsible for observed patterns.

Keywords: Brown Creeper, Certhia americana, contrast-weighted edge, edge effects, elevational gradient, nest survival, snags

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Purcell, Kathryn L.;Thompson, Craig M.;Drynan, Douglas A. 2012. Response of Brown Creepers to forest edges in the southern Sierra Nevada. Condor 114(1):185-196.

 


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