Seasonal use of red-cockaded woodpecker cavities by southern flying squirrels
Southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) can significantly impact red-cockaded woodpecker reproductive success (Laves and Loeb 1999). Thus, exclusion or removal of flying squirrels from red-cockaded woodpecker cavities and clusters may be warranted in small woodpecker populations (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2003). However, development of effective and efficient protocols for southern flying squirrel control requires an understanding of the seasonal dynamics of southern flying squirrel cavity use. Most studies of southern flying squirrel use of red-cockaded woodpecker cavities have been conducted during spring (e.g., Harlow and Lennartz 1983, Rudolph et al. 1990a, Loeb 1993) and no studies have examined the effects of long term flying squirrel control on subsequent cavity use. The objectives of this study were to determine: (1) whether flying squirrel use of red-cockaded woodpecker cavities varies with season or cavity type, and (2) the long-term effect of continuous squirrel removal.