ABSTRACT.--We evaluated selection of nest sites by male Red-cockaded Woodpeckers (Picoides borealis) in Texas relative to the age of the cavity when only cavities excavated by the woodpecker were available and when both naturally excavated cavities and artificial cavities we available. We also evaluated nest-cavity selection relative to he ability of naturally excavated cavity trees to produce resin, which is used by the woodpeckers to maintain a barrier against predation by rat snakes (Elaphe spp.), Longleaf pines (Pinus palustris) selected by breeding males as nest trees produced significantly greater resin yields at 2, 8, and 24 h post-wounding than cavity trees used for roosting by other group members. This preference was observed in loblolly pine (P. taeda) and shortleaf pine (P. echinata) cavity trees only at the 2-h resin-sampling period. When only naturally excavated cavities were available. red-cockaded Woodpeckers in both longleaf pine and loblolly-shorleaf pine habitat selected the newest cavities available for their nests sites, possibly as a means to reduce parasites loads. When both naturally excavated and artificial cavity for nesting in loblolly-shortleaf pine habitat, but not in longleaf pine habitat. Resin production in loblolly pine nest trees remained sufficient for continued use, whereas resin production in existing longleaf pine nest trees remained sufficient for continued use, whereas resin production in loblolly pine and shortleaf pine nest trees deceased through time, probably because of woodpecker activity at resin wells. For these latter tree species, breeding males switched to newer cavities and/pr cavity trees with higher resin yields.
Conner, Richard N.; Saenz, Daniel; Rudolph, D. Craig; Ross, W. G.; and Kulhavy, David, "Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Nest-Cavity Selection: Relationships with Cavity Age and Resin Production" (1998). Faculty Publications. 271.