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Keywords:

  • forest restoration;
  • nest success;
  • ponderosa pine;
  • Protocalliphora sialia;
  • Western Bluebird

Abstract

We examined the effects of presettlement forest restoration treatments on the nesting success of Western Bluebirds in ponderosa pine forests of northwestern Arizona, U.S.A. From 1998 to 2001 we monitored 97 active Western Bluebird nests, 41 in current-condition untreated forest and 56 in restoration-treated forest. We found no effect of restoration treatments on clutch size and little effect on the number of nestlings per nest. However, in treated forest stands number of fledglings per nest averaged 1.6 times greater, and probability of a nest surviving to successfully fledge at least one young was up to 4.2 times greater than in untreated forest. Probability of a nest succeeding averaged 0.39 ± 0.11 (SE) and 0.75 ± 0.06 from 1999 to 2001 in untreated and treated forests, respectively. In addition, in treated forest, average number of nests infested with the blowfly parasite Protocalliphora sialia was up to 4.3 times greater, and number of parasites per fledgling was up to 10.7 times greater than in untreated forest. Overall, the data suggest that in treated forest Western Bluebirds have a higher probability of successfully fledging young, but they are at greater risk of parasitic infestations, of which the ultimate effects on post-fledging survival are unknown.