Hairy woodpecker winter roost characteristics in burned ponderosa pine forest

Kristin A. Covert-Bratland, Tad C. Theimer, William M. Block

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Winter roosts afford escape from extreme climatic conditions, reduce heat and energy loss, and provide protection from predators for North American woodpeckers. We monitored the use and characteristics of 12 winter roosts used by nine radio-marked Hairy Woodpeckers (Picoides villosus) in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests of northern Arizona that had experienced wildfire in 1996 and 2000. Roost trees were larger in diameter than 95% of non-roost trees and on average 2.5 times larger within burned areas of similar severity. Roost trees were within patches less dense than 95% of measured patches across study sites, which were on average 1.5 times as dense. Two-thirds of roost trees were created by fire and were smaller than those created by other means. Six birds each used one roost and three males each used two roosts. Two-thirds of the roosts were outside or on the edge of estimated home ranges. Maximum straight-line distances traveled, from roost to farthest point of home range, were > 1 km for 8 of 9 birds. Woodpeckers have a significant role in providing cavities for secondary cavity nesters. Thus, understanding habitat requirements for winter roosts could provide managers with essential tools to maintain or enhance populations of this species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-52
Number of pages10
JournalWilson Journal of Ornithology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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