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Dry Forest Wildlife Habitat Objective

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					        Region 6
White-headed Woodpecker
     Monitoring 2011
                Monitoring Strategy

Cooperators




                  USFS Pacific
             Northwest Region
          Oregon / Washington




                                 Klamath Bird
                                 Observatory    Ecology Program has
                                                supporting role in this region-wide
                                                project
                     Overview


WHWO Life History &
     Importance
Project Overview
     & Questions Asked
Ecology Program Role
Protocols & Review of First
     Field Season
      Summary of Existing Knowledge

May be one of the least studied woodpeckers

Life History
Food Habits
Range and Distribution
Population Trends
Habitat Use
Ecological Considerations
                          Life History
Year-round residents
Monogamous
Cavity nesting birds
Produce single clutch per year of 4-5
eggs
Both parents brood and feed young
Fledge in 26 days, usually late June-early
July
Home range averages about 800 acres
Reported reproductive success ranges
from 23 to 85% (Frenzel, Kozma, Forristal)
Adult survival estimated at 65% (Frenzel)
Nest success tied to presence of large
pine (Hollenbeck et al. 2009)
                       Food Habits

Primarily forage on live trees, rarely
on snags
Feed on insects from May to
September – ants, beetles, cicadas
Feed on ponderosa or sugar pine
seeds from late summer through the
winter
Occasionally sapsuck in early
spring
Frequently drink water
          Biology and Habitat Use
White-headed woodpeckers (WHWO) are strongly
associated with open, dry ponderosa pine forest habitat.
Historically, fire maintained open habitat for this species.
    Generally considered old-growth associates, but Kozma
    (Yakama Nation) has recently found that they may be using
    younger forests as well.
Also associated with post-fire habitat. They occur in higher
densities and/or reproduce more successfully in post-fire
habitat than in other habitats. WHWO is associated with mixed
severity burn areas.
WHWO use large snags (primarily ponderosa pine) for
nesting and roosting.
WHWO feed almost exclusively on ponderosa and sugar
pine seeds during fall and winter, and mature pine produce a
more reliable seed crop.
    Other Woodpeckers Along Transects
A number of other species observed as well:
Pileated Woodpecker
   Requires highly decomposed
   wood, ants
Hairy Woodpecker
   More likely to drill for food
Williamson’s Sapsucker
   Eats sap, phloem, ants
Northern Flicker
   Ground foraging
Black-backed Woodpecker
   Post-stand replacement
Lewis’ Woodpecker
   Flycatching of aerial insects
                    Range and Distribution

                          British Columbia – very rare
                          Idaho – scarce and patchy
                          distribution
                          Washington – rare
                          E and NE Oregon – uncommon
                          SW Oregon - scarce and patchy
                          distribution
                          California – common in Sierras
                          S California – different subspecies
                          P. a. gravirostras - common

From Garret et al. 1996
                          Habitat Use

General Habitat Description:
  Ponderosa pine or dry mixed conifer
  forests dominated by ponderosa pine
  and/or sugar pine and Douglas-fir
  Large mature pines
  Nest in open forests with sparse
  understory vegetation
  Burned forest – in areas with 60% low
  severity or unburned (Wightman and Saab
  2008)
  High interspersion/juxtaposition of
  open and closed ponderosa pine forest
  patches (Hollenbeck et al. 2009)
  71% of landscape with < 40% canopy
  closure (Wightman and Saab 2008)
                                          Habitat Use
 Nesting Habitat:
    Stands with <40% canopy closure, often in openings created by
    silvicultural treatments or fire
    Slopes < 20% and lower slope positions
    Nest sites w/ >=12 large pines (>21”dbh) had highest nest
    success (Frenzel)

 Nest Tree Characteristics
               Kozma 2009     Frenzel 2004    Dixon 1995      Buchanan et   Bull 1980   Cannon
                                                              al. 2003                  (unpub. data)
Nest dbh (cm) 36.6            68.9            65.0            51.5          45          100
Nest height   3.8             3.6             5               5.8           3           2.2
(m)
Decay         moderate to     71% moderate                    moderate to               soft
              decayed                                         hard
Tree species  80.6 %          ponderosa       84%             76%           75%         Douglas-fir
              ponderosa       pine            ponderosa       ponderosa     ponderosa
              pine                            pine            pine          pine
Sample size   36              405             43              21            4           1
Study         south-central   central and     central and     eastern       northeast   southwest
location      Washington      south-central   south-central   Cascades      Oregon      Oregon
                              Oregon          Oregon          Washington
                           Habitat Use

Roosting Habitat (Dixon 1995):
  Most roosts in multi-layerd stands
  Higher canopy closure, average 57%
  Higher density of large live trees (avg.
  16/acre) than nest sites


Foraging Habitat (Dixon 1995):
   Foraging stands averaged 65% canopy
   closure
   Forage primarily in live large ponderosa
   pine trees
   Sapsucking occurred in dense stands of
   smaller trees
                      Population Trends

Breeding Bird Survey trends :
   •Stable to increasing range-wide
   •Washington and Oregon – trends not significant and credibility
   measure was “very imprecise” – 3-5% per year change would not
   be detected
Population declines and range reductions:
   •Central Oregon – comparison of density estimates between
   Dixon (1995) and Frenzel and Popper (1998) indicate a 20%
   decline in the density of WHWO in about 5 years
   •Central Oregon, reproductive success of WHWO has been too
   low to offset adult mortality, thus the population is declining to the
   point that occupancy of known territories steadily decreased over
   a 6 year study period (Frenzel 2004)
   •WHWO no longer occur at some sites in the northern Blue
   Mountains where they used to be relatively common (Bull 1980 and
   Nielsen-Pincus 2005)
             Management Concerns

Management Indicator Species, Regional Forester’s Sensitive
Species, BLM Special Status Species, and a species of concern
in Forest Plan Revisions
Forest management concerns:
    •Fires create habitat and thus help to restore habitat for this
    species. Salvage can reduce snag densities to levels which
    eliminate “restored” habitat
    •Dry forest habitat is the target of most restoration and fuels
    reduction projects that have the potential to either have
    beneficial or negative effects on habitat:
        •Create open habitat
        •Reduce risk of loss of large pine habitat
        •However - especially important is the potential loss of
        large ponderosa pine trees and snags due to prescribed
        fire.
 Threats to WHWO
#1 - Habitat loss
 Causes of Decline: Late-seral, single-story,
         Ponderosa Pine Forests

     81 percent decline from historical conditions basin-wide


Timber harvest:
   Replaced late-seral forests with mid-seral forests
   Harvest of large ponderosa pine
Fire exclusion:
   Shift to more shade-tolerant species Douglas-fir
   and white/grand fir
   Shift to multi-storied, dense stands
                    Threats to WHWO

Predators
  A main cause of nest failure appears to be predation by small
  mammals (Frenzel 2004)
  Increase in shrub cover and down wood cover increases nest
  predator populations (Smith and Maguire 2004)




                             Golden mantled ground squirrel
                             - survival and densities higher in
                             areas with higher down wood
                             volume

       Yellow-pine chipmunk - densities are
       Higher where there is greater total
       shrub and live bitterbrush cover
       Other factors affecting WHWO


Disease – loss of white
pine and sugar pine –
alternate food for white-
headed woodpeckers
Competition for nest sites
Harvest units as ecological
traps?
Increased road density
results in increased loss of
snags
      Conservation Assessment for White-
             headed Woodpecker

Regional Goals:
Summarize existing
knowledge
Identify important information
gaps and uncertainties
Define and map habitat
Identify population and
habitat core areas
Offer management
considerations to better
manage the species
Develop a monitoring strategy
                Monitoring Strategy

Monitoring & Research Approach

  •Broad-scale occupancy monitoring - designed to provide
  reliable, standardized data on the distribution, site occupancy,
  and population trends for white-headed woodpeckers across
  their range in OR and WA.
  •Treatment effectiveness monitoring – designed to assess
  effect of stand-level treatments on woodpecker occupancy
  and nest survival.
  •Validation monitoring – designed to validate & refine
  habitat suitability models of nesting white-headed
  woodpeckers in burned and unburned forests.
  •Fuels data collection – designed to support modeling of
  fire-climate impacts on historic and future habitat suitability
Gather existing location data on WHWO
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D
   Mapping white-headed woodpecker habitat
              Nesting Habitat Mapping Criteria
                       Based on GNN data
Basic
   Habitat Type: Ponderosa pine, sugar pine, western white pine
   dominated

Green forests
   Habitat Type: Ponderosa pine, sugar pine, western white pine
   dominated
   Canopy cover: >=10% and < 40%
   Large trees: 8 pines/acre >= 21 inches

Post-fire
   Habitat Type: Ponderosa pine, sugar pine, western white pine
   Pre-fire canopy cover: >=10% and < 40%
   Large trees: 8 pines (live or dead)/acre >= 21 inches
   Fire severity: low severity only
   Age of fire: fires since 2000
                Monitoring Strategy

Regional broad-scale occupancy and distribution
monitoring
   •30 transects through region
   •Play-back survey at point count stations
   •2,700 m random transects w/ 10 point counts each
   •Transects within pine-dominated landscapes
                Monitoring Strategy

More intensive study areas
   •Similar protocol, but more intensive
   •2 field crews managed by Vicki Saab
        •Pringle Falls
        •Chemult
                 Monitoring Strategy
This broad-scale monitoring strategy was designed to answer the
following questions at a Regional scale:
   •What are the spatial distribution and occupancy rates of
   white-headed woodpecker across the dry forest landscape?
   •What are trends in distribution and occupancy?
   •What key habitat characteristics are associated with dry
   forest species? This information will be used to refine habitat
   associations and treatment prescriptions (e.g., canopy
   closure, live tree and snag density, and tree size)
         Ecology Program Involvement
Ecology Program has supporting role in this
region-wide project
    Transect establishment and data
    collection
         Area 4 (Central Oregon) was
         responsible for installing 12
         permanent transects in 2011
         NE Oregon and Eastern Washington
         also have transects
         Currently intend to revisit transects
         for 6 years
         Woodpecker callbacks were
         conducted at all 12 transects in 2011
         Vegetation measurements were
         done on 4 transects in 2011
Vicki Saab and Kim Mellen-McLean are
managing and analyzing data
Monitoring Strategy

           Woodpecker Callbacks
              •In Central Oregon
                 •12 transects
                 •10 points per transect
                 •2 visits per point
                 between April 20-July 7
                 •4.5 minutes
                 •2 people
               Monitoring Strategy

Woodpecker Callbacks
  •Issues
      •Transect establishment
      •Time sensitive
      •Weather dependent
      •Road closures
      •Long distances
      between transects
      •Long days
Monitoring Strategy
                Monitoring Strategy

Playbacks
•2 people
•2 months
•5 min/point

Vegetation
•Original estimate was 1
week per transect for 2
people
•Highly variable depending
on point
•Avg would be 1 week for
4 people
•Thanks Amy and Nikola!
                Monitoring Strategy

Vegetation
•1/3 of the transects each
year
•Trees, saplings,
seedlings, snags, stumps,
shrub cover, DWD,
biomass estimates, litter
and duff depths
              Monitoring Strategy

Vegetation Data Collection
Bird and Burns methodology
              Monitoring Strategy

Vegetation Data Collection      •Trees
Bird and Burns methodology          •2,6,20m belts
                                    •DBH, ht,
                                    crown ht
                                •Snags
                                    •2,20m belts
                                    •DBH, ht
                                •Down wood
                                    •Along each
                                    transect
                                •Saplings
                                    •2 4m radius
                                    circles
                                •Litter depth
                                •Photoloads
                                    •Ends of
                                    transects 1 & 3
Monitoring Strategy


             Photoload sampling
             technique (Keane and
             Dickinson 2007)
             Monitoring Strategy

Fuels data collection
•Designed to support modeling of fire-
climate impacts on historic and future
habitat suitability
•Part of RMRS FireBGC v2
simulation modeling project
•Estimate modern fuel loading using
photoload sampling technique
(Keane and Dickinson 2007):
   •Woody, shrub, herbaceous fuel
   loadings
   •Duff and litter fuel loading
   •Canopy base height and tree
   height
Results?

				
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