Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    Knowledge about species’ responses to habitat restoration can inform subsequent management and reintroduction planning. We used repeated call-response surveys to study brown-headed nuthatch (Sitta pusilla) patch occupancy at the current limits of its apparently expanding range in an area with active habitat restoration. We fit a probit occupancy model that accounted for spatial autocorrelation using restricted spatial regression. Nuthatch occupancy was related to patch-level vegetation structure and range-extension context, i.e., latitude, but not prescribed fire history. Latitude and percent tree stocking had a negative relationship with occupancy (coefficients and 95% credible intervals: 1.07 [CI: 1.63, 0.67] and 0.63 [CI: 0.97, 0.350]). The density of recently killed and well-decayed snags had positive associations with occupancy (coefficients and 95% credible intervals: 0.57 [CI: 0.17, 1.16] and 0.37 [CI: 0.05, 0.72]). Neither grassy herbaceous cover nor percent of stocking in pine were associated with occupancy. We found that restoration efforts created suitable stand structure for brown-headed nuthatches, but many restored sites in the range-extension zone appeared to be vacant. Occupied habitats in the range-extension zone had fewer snags, less frequent fire, and more shrub cover than occupied sites where the species was established. Release from conspecific competition may have permitted nuthatches in the range-extension zone to exploit habitats that would otherwise have been marginal. Alternatively, nuthatches may be restricted to such sites although there are more suitable sites tens of kilometers away. Experimental translocations and reintroductions could determine how habitat structure and nuthatch density affect the quality of restored sites in the range-extension zone and enable those sites to achieve their biodiversity potential.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Stanton, Richard A., Jr.; Thompson, Frank R., III; Kesler, Dylan C. 2015. Site occupancy of brown-headed nuthatches varies with habitat restoration and range-limit context. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 79(6): 917-926.


    Google Scholar


    Arkansas, brown-headed nuthatch, dispersal, habitat associations, habitat restoration, occupancy models, prescribed fire, range extension, Sitta pusilla

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page