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Habitat-specific breeding performance and cavity dynamics of Lewis's Woodpeckers (Melanerpes lewis) in British Columbia

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.Sc.
Date created
Lewis’s Woodpeckers (Melanerpes lewis) are Threatened in Canada and rely on pre-existing cavities for nesting. I studied how cavity density, competition, and predators influence Lewis’s Woodpecker breeding performance across three habitats in British Columbia, and investigated the broad-scale patterns of nest tree persistence and reuse over time. I found that Lewis’s Woodpecker breeding performance was high in riparian cottonwood habitat, moderate in live pine, and lowest in crown-burned pine habitat. Cavity density explained habitat-based breeding performance. Nest tree persistence was generally high, but declined over time, and while nest tree reuse varied dramatically across years, there was no consistent temporal pattern. Our results suggest that 1) resource managers should use regionally-specific data for managing Lewis’s Woodpecker populations, and 2) cavities may be a limiting factor for the recovery of Lewis’s Woodpecker populations in Canada, particularly in regions where nest tree persistence is lower and may not support recruitment.
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This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Green, David
Thesis advisor: Mahony, Nancy
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etd9758_LMacfarland.pdf 1.27 MB

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