Songbird population response to silvicultural practices in central Appalachian hardwoods
In central Appalachian hardwood stands songbirds were classified into groups of species that selected territories with similar habitat features. The degree of canopy closure of trees >7.3 m tall and the density of vegetation <1.8 m tall were the most important habitat features. Discriminant analysis was used to separate bird species into 5 groups based on habitat selection: (1) closed-canopy-obligatory species included the ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus), white-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis), wood thrush (Hylocichla mustelina), and American redstart (Setophaga ruticilla); (2) species skewed toward closed canopy were the black-and-white warbler (Mniotilta varia), Carolina chickadee (Parus carolinensis), cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), hooded warbler (Wilsonia citrina), red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus), scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea), tufted titmouse (Parus bicolor), and blue-gray gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea); (3) centrally distributed species included the eastern wood pewee (Contopus virens) and great crested flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus); (4) species skewed toward open canopy were the Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus), rufous-sided towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus), and indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea); and (5) obligatory open-canopy species included the yellow-breasted chat (Icteria virens), field sparrow (Spizella pusilla), prairie warbler (Dendroica discolor), and eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis). Changes in groups can be predicted by the change in configuration of overstory and understory vegetation. Bird succession following cutting generally follows sequentially from open-canopy-obligatory to closed-canopy-obligatory species; however, the initial stage depends upon the degree to which the stand was opened.