Abstract: We studied the nesting success of an individually marked population of Kentucky Warblers (Oporornis formosus), a species that nests in disturbed and undisturbed forests, in a heterogeneous, managed forest site in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois from 1992 to 1995. We examined the effects of forest stand type (clearcuts of various ages, tree plantations, and older forest) and distance from habitat edges on rates of nest predation and brood parasitism by Brown‐headed Cowbirds ( Molothrus ater). Brood parasitism levels gradually decreased from 60% to 3% ( nests) over a distance of 2 km from an agricultural edge proximal to a known cowbird foraging site (a pig feedlot), but they did not vary with distance from any other kinds of edges or with forest stand type. Rates of nest predation ( nests) did not vary with distance from any edges, but they were significantly lower in older forest than within even‐aged clearcuts, a tree plantation, and in successional vegetation adjacent to a residential facility. These results suggest that, even in fragmented landscapes with high overall levels of parasitism and nest predation, management practices within and immediately adjacent to forest tracts can affect the nesting success of some species, but not necessarily as a simple function of distance from edge. For the Kentucky Warbler, our results suggest that a management strategy that avoids even‐age silviculture and leaves core stands of older forest far from cowbird feeding areas can increase nesting success to levels similar to those measured in more forested landscapes.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Apr 1, 1999
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