Black-backed Woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus) are burned-forest specialists that rely on beetles (Coleoptera) for food. In the Black Hills, South Dakota, standing dead forests resulting from mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) outbreaks offer food resources for Black-backed Woodpeckers, in addition to providing habitat similar to burned forest. However, data on reproductive rates in these habitats are lacking. We estimated nest success and evaluated factors affecting nest survival of Black-backed Woodpeckers in beetle-killed forests in the Black Hills in 2004 and 2005. Nest success was 78% (n = 12) in 2004 and 44% (n = 31) in 2005. Fledging rates per pair were 2.0 ± 0.3 SE (n = 12) and 1.4 ± 0.3 SE (n = 28) in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Our results showed that temporal effects (e.g., age, date, and year) had the greatest influence on nest survival. Nest age was the most important predictor of daily nest survival; survival was higher in older nests. Nest survival was also lower later in the breeding season. The difference in nest success between the two years requires further study; however, nest success of Black-backed Woodpeckers in beetle-killed forests in the Black Hills was within the range of nest success within postfire habitats in this area. In the Black Hills, forests experiencing beetle outbreaks offer available habitat for Black-backed Woodpeckers.
Bonnot, Thomas W.; Rumble, Mark A.; Millspaugh, Joshua J. 2008. Nest success of Black-backed Woodpeckers in forests with mountain pine beetle outbreaks in the Black Hills, South Dakota. The Condor. 110(3): 450-457.