Use of artificially created Douglas-fir snags by cavity-nesting birds

Carol L. Chambers, Tara Carrigan, Thomas E. Sabin, John Tappeiner, William C. McComb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


In western Oregon, we created snags by sawing tops off live Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) (n = 821) trees and monitored their condition and use by cavity-nesting birds. We created snags in three silvicultural treatments: modified clearcut stands, two-story stands, and small-patch group-selection stands. We used two snag patterns: clumped and scattered. Created snags averaged 3.8/ha in density, 17 in in height, and 75 cm in diameter. Chainsaw-topped snags were used by cavity nesters within 5 yr of creation. Abundance of excavated cavities increased in all silvicultural treatments (P = 0.0001) and was higher in two-story and clearcu stands than in small-patch stands (P ≤ 0.0004). We did not, however, find that snag pattern (clumped v. scattered) affected use by cavity-nesting birds based on abundance of excavated cavities (P>0.6). We observed excavated cavities in five hardwood species indicating that hardwoods represented an important resource for cavity-nesting birds. Creating conifer snags by topping and retaining hardwoods may retain or increase populations of cavity nesters in areas with low natural snag density.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-97
Number of pages5
JournalWestern Journal of Applied Forestry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Plant Science


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