Skip to Main Content
Apparent foraging success reflects habitat quality in an irruptive species, the Black-backed WoodpeckerAuthor(s): Christopher T. Rota; Mark A. Rumble; Chad P. Lehman; Dylan C. Kesler; Joshua J. Millspaugh
Source: The Condor: Ornithological Applications. 117: 178-191.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
View PDF (812.95 KB)
DescriptionDramatic fluctuations in food resources are a key feature of many habitats, and many species have evolved a movement strategy to exploit food resources that are unpredictable in space and time. The availability of food resources may be a particularly strong determinant of habitat quality for irruptive bird species. We studied the apparent foraging success of Black-backed Woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus), an irruptive species that responds opportunistically to pulsed food resources in burned forests and mountain pine beetle (MPB) infestations. Prior investigations revealed that the highest population growth rates of Black-backed Woodpeckers occurred in habitat created by summer wildfire, with intermediate population growth rates in MPB infestations, and the lowest population growth rates in habitats created by prescribed fire in fall. We tested whether apparent foraging success was associated with known habitat quality in order to assess the potential for food availability to regulate population growth. We counted the number of successfully captured wood-boring beetle larvae and "small" prey on each tree that a Blackbacked Woodpecker used for foraging and modeled these counts as a function of habitat, tree diameter, number of years postfire, and tree disturbance category. Total apparent foraging success (the sum of observed captures of woodboring beetle larvae and small prey per tree) did not vary across habitats, but woodpeckers foraging in habitats created by summer wildfire were expected to capture 2.2 and 2.0 times more wood-boring beetles than woodpeckers foraging in habitats created by fall prescribed fire and MPB infestations, respectively. These results suggest that the availability of food resources may contribute to population regulation in this irruptive species. Furthermore, population growth in irruptive species may be highly sensitive to the availability of preferred food resources. Forests recently burned by summer wildfires provide relatively abundant food resources for Black-backed Woodpeckers and represent high-quality habitat for this species of conservation concern.
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
CitationRota, Christopher T.; Rumble, Mark A.; Lehman, Chad P.; Kesler, Dylan C.; Millspaugh, Joshua J. 2015. Apparent foraging success reflects habitat quality in an irruptive species, the Black-backed Woodpecker. The Condor: Ornithological Applications. 117: 178-191.
Keywordsbark beetles, disturbance, ephemeral habitat, foraging, wood-boring beetles
- The role of wildfire, prescribed fire, and mountain pine beetle infestations on the population dynamics of black-backed woodpeckers in the Black Hills, South Dakota
- Space-use and habitat associations of Black-backed Woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus) occupying recently disturbed forests in the Black Hills, South Dakota
- Multi-scale nest-site selection by black-backed woodpeckers in outbreaks of mountain pine beetles
XML: View XML