Effects of group-selection timber harvest in bottomland hardwoods on fall migrant birds

  • Authors: Kilgo, John C.; Miller, Karl V.; Smith, Winston P.
  • Publication Year: 1999
  • Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
  • Source: Journal of Field Ornithology. 70(3): 404-413.


Due to projected demands for hardwood timber, development of silvicultural practices that provide for adequate regeneration in southeastern bottomland hardwoods without causing undue harm to wildlife resources is critical. Group-selection silviculture involves harvesting a small group of trees, which creates a canopy gap (usually <2 ha in size). The objectives were to determine the extent of use of group-selection harvest gaps by fall migrant birds, to compare experimentally use of three sizes of gaps (10-m, 20-m, and 40-m radius), and to compare use of locations within gaps (center, edge, and adjacent forest). The authors captured 210 birds of 36 species in 1692 mist-net hours. Total captures were greater in 40-m radius gaps than in 20- and 10-m radius gaps and were greater in gap centers than at gap edges and adjacent forest. Forest interior/interior-edge Neotropical migrants and interior-edge short-distance migrants were captured most often in the centers of the largest gaps. Kilgo, Miller, and Smith captured no interior-edge short-distance migrants or field-edge birds of any migratory group in the adjacent forest. A threshold gap size determining use by migrant birds may exist between 20 and 40 m in radius. Though reasons for greater capture success in gaps are unclear, forest interior Neotropical and short-distance migrants apparently shifted their habitat preferences during fall to include forest gap habitat.

  • Citation: Kilgo, John C.; Miller, Karl V.; Smith, Winston P. 1999. Effects of group-selection timber harvest in bottomland hardwoods on fall migrant birds. Journal of Field Ornithology. 70(3): 404-413.
  • Posted Date: April 1, 1980
  • Modified Date: August 22, 2006
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