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
    Author(s): Victoria A. Saab; Quresh S. Latif; Matthew A. Dresser; Jonathan G. Dudley
    Date: 2019
    Source: The Journal of Wildlife Management. 83(6): 1387-1400.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (695.0 KB)


    Mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) outbreaks in western North American coniferous forests are increasing in size and severity. An understanding of wildlife population responses to pine beetle outbreaks is needed to inform habitat conservation strategies. We monitored 355 nests of 5 woodpecker species during 2 sampling periods, before (2003-2006) and after (2009-2014) the peak of a pine beetle outbreak in dry mixed conifer forest of Montana, USA. Three of 5 woodpecker species represented the beetle‐foraging group: American three‐toed (Picoides dorsalis), hairy (Dryobates villosus), and downy (D. pubescens) woodpeckers. The other 2 species studied were northern flicker (Colaptes auratus), a foraging and habitat generalist, and red‐naped sapsucker (Sphyrapicus nuchalis), a sap forager and bark‐gleaning insectivore. We analyzed daily survival rate of nests in relation to pine beetle outbreak (445,000 ha) severity and timing, along with covariates unrelated to the outbreak (temp, nest height, and nest tree diameter). Our results provided stronger evidence for relationships between woodpecker nest survival and the non‐outbreak variables than those associated with outbreaks. Our results indicated limited support for nest survival relationships with beetle severity (annual and cumulative pine tree mortality at 0.81‐ha and 314‐ha scales). Nevertheless, we observed a significant increase in densities of hatched nests for beetle‐foraging woodpeckers following the outbreak. Our results suggest that woodpeckers, particularly beetle foragers, respond numerically to pine beetle outbreaks through increased nesting densities more so than functionally via nest survival.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • 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.


    Saab, Victoria A.; Latif, Quresh S.; Dresser, Matthew A.; Dudley, Jonathan G. 2019. Woodpecker nest survival, density, and a pine beetle outbreak. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 83(6): 1387-1400.


    Google Scholar


    Dendroctonus ponderosae, mountain pine beetle, nest density, nest survival, Picidae, Pinus ponderosa, ponderosa pine, woodpeckers

    Related Search

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