Prescribed fire effects on wintering, bark-foraging birds in Northern Arizona

Theresa L. Pope, William M. Block, Paul Beier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We examined effects of prescribed fire on 3 wintering, bark-foraging birds, hairy woodpeckers (Picoides villosus), pygmy nuthatches (Sitta pygmaea), and white-breasted nuthatches (S. carolinensis), in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests of northern Arizona, USA. During winters of 20042006, we compared bird density, foraging behavior, and bark beetle activity among burned treatment and unburned control units. Hairy woodpecker density was 5 times greater in burn units, whereas white-breasted nuthatches and pygmy nuthatches had similar densities between treatments. Compared to available trees, trees used by foraging hairy woodpeckers had 9 times greater odds of having bark beetles in control units and 12 times greater odds in burn units. Tree diameter appeared to be the main factor bark-foraging birds used in selecting winter foraging trees. Our results suggest that forest managers can use prescribed fire treatments without detrimental effects to wintering nuthatches, while providing additional food to hairy woodpeckers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-700
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Arizona
  • Bark-foraging birds
  • Hairy woodpecker
  • Picoides villosus
  • Prescribed fire
  • Pygmy nuthatch
  • Sitta carolinensis
  • Sitta pygmaea
  • White-breasted nuthatch
  • Winter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


Dive into the research topics of 'Prescribed fire effects on wintering, bark-foraging birds in Northern Arizona'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this