Red-cockaded woodpecker nestling provisioning and reproduction in two different pine habitats
We obtained nestling provisioning and rcpntductive data from 24 Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) groups occupying two different pine habitats-longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) and a mixture of loblolly (P. taeda) and shortleaf pine (P. echinata)--in eastern Texas during 1990 and 1901. Habitat data were collected within 800 m of each group's cavity-tree cluster. Feeding trips per nest and prey biomass per feeding trip were significantly greater in lohlolly-shortleaf pine habitat. There were few significant correlations between reproductive/provisioning and habitat variables in either pine habitat. Pines dying from infestation by southern pine beetles (Dendroctonus frontalis) were more common in loblolly-shortleaf than in longleaf pine habitat. In addition, adult male Red-cockaded Woodpeckers weighed more in loblolly-shortleaf pine habitat. Indices of southern pine beetle abundance in loblolly-shortleaf pine habitat were negntively correlated with but positively correlated with prey biomass delivered to nestlings. We number of feeding trips per nestling, hypothesize that the greater abundance of southern pine beetles and associated arthropods in loblolly-shortleaf pine habitat, ancl the resulting higher frequency of dying pines containing an abundant food source, were associated with an elevated prey bionlass available to both nestling and adult Red-cockaded Woodpeckers.
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