The INSTITUTE for BIRD POPULATIONS
BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT
Black-Backed Woodpecker Ecology program banner photo

The Sierra Nevada is the most southerly portion of the range of the Black-backed Woodpecker. In California, Black-backed Woodpeckers are strongly associated with recently burned conifer forest, where they forage primarily on wood-boring beetle larvae that colonize fire-killed trees in large numbers. Black-backed Woodpeckers generally colonize burned forests soon after fire, and then, as beetle populations decline during the next decade, gradually disappear from the area.

IBP is partnering with the US Forest Service in a variety of monitoring, research, and conservation planning efforts to make post-fire forest management more compatible with Black-backed Woodpecker conservation. In related efforts, we are also studying the use of recently burned forests by other bird species, as well as the ecology of wood-boring beetles that colonize burned forests.

This video about IBP’s Black-backed Woodpecker research was produced by the U.S. Forest Service as part of a series on habitat restoration of National Forests in California.

For more information about our work to study and conserve Black-backed Woodpeckers and other wildlife that use burned forest, contact Rodney Siegel.

Photo Credits: Top of Page, Mike Laycock
 

 

 

 

 
RECENT RESEARCH

In 2011-12, IBP scientists radio-tracked Black-backed Woodpeckers nesting in three recently-burned forested areas of California. We found that home-range size varied by an order of magnitude, from 24.1 to 304.1 hectares.

Using an information-theoretic approach, we also found that snag basal area predicted home-range size, explaining 54–62% of observed variation. As snag basal area increased, home-range sizes exponentially decreased.

Bird Photo

Snag basal area, unlike other potential influences on home-range size, is an attribute that forest managers can directly influence, and we described a relationship between home-range size and snag basal area that forest managers can use to predict Black-backed Woodpecker pair density in burned forests, and assess the likely population consequences of harvest treatments.

 
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Peer-reviewed Publications Authored by IBP Personnel

Casas, A., M. Garcia, R.B. Siegel, C. Ramirez, A. Koltunov, and S.L. Ustin. 2016. Burned forest characterization at single-tree level with Airborne Laser Scanning for wildlife habitat assessment. Remote Sensing of Environment 175:231-241. PDF

Siegel, R.B., M.W. Tingley, R.L. Wilkerson, C.A. Howell, M. Johnson, and P. Pyle. 2016. Age structure of Black-backed Woodpecker populations in burned forests. The Auk: Ornithological Advances 133:69–78. PDF

Tingley, M.W., R.L. Wilkerson, C.A. Howell, and R.B. Siegel. 2016. An integrated occupancy and home-range model to predict abundance of a wide-ranging, territorial vertebrate. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 7:508–517. PDF

Tingley, M.W., V. Ruiz-Gutiérrez, R.L. Wilkerson, C.A. Howell, and R.B. Siegel. 2016. Pyrodiversity promotes avian diversity over the decade following forest fire. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 283:20161703 (published online). (For a copy of this publication, please contact Rodney Siegel.)

Siegel, R.B., R.L. Wilkerson, M.W. Tingley, and C.A. Howell. 2014. Roost sites of the Black-backed Woodpecker in burned forest. Western Birds 45:296-303. PDF

Tingley, M.W., R.L. Wilkerson, M.L. Bond, C.A. Howell, and R.B. Siegel. 2014. Variation in home range size of Black-backed Woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus). The Condor: Ornithological Applications 116:325–340. PDF

Bond, M.L., R.B. Siegel, R.L. Hutto, V. Saab, and S. Shunk. 2012. A new forest fire paradigm: the need for high-severity fires. The Wildlife Professional 6:46-49. PDF

Siegel, R.B., M.L. Bond, R.L. Wilkerson, B.C. Barr, C. Gardiner, and J.M. Kinsella. 2012. Lethal Procyrnea nematode infection in a Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) from California. The Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 43:421-424. PDF

Saracco, J.F., R.B. Siegel, and R.L. Wilkerson. 2011. Occupancy modeling of Black-backed Woodpeckers on burned Sierra Nevada forests. Ecosphere 2:art31. PDF

Peer-reviewed Publications by Other Researchers

Kelly. L.T., and L. Brotons. 2017. Using fire to promote biodiversity. Science 355:1264-1265. PDF

Other Publications and Reports

Siegel, R.B., M.W. Tingley, and R.L. Wilkerson. 2016. Black-backed Woodpecker MIS surveys on Sierra Nevada national forests: 2015 annual report. Report to U.S.D.A. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Polasik, J.S. 2015. Annotated bibliography of recently published literature on the Black-backed Woodpecker. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Siegel, R.B., M.W. Tingley, and R.L. Wilkerson. 2015. Black-backed Woodpecker MIS surveys on Sierra Nevada national forests: 2014 annual report. Report to U.S.D.A. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Tingley, M.W, R.L. Wilkerson, and R.B. Siegel. 2015. Explanation and guidance for a decision support tool to help manage post-fire Black-backed Woodpecker habitat. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, California. PDF

Siegel, R.B., M.W. Tingley, and R.L. Wilkerson. 2014. Assessing home-range size and habitat needs of Black-backed Woodpeckers in California: report for the 2013 field season. Report to U.S.D.A. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Siegel, R.B., M.W. Tingley, and R.L. Wilkerson. 2014. Black-backed Woodpecker MIS surveys on Sierra Nevada national forests: 2012 annual report. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Siegel, R.B., M.W. Tingley, and R.L. Wilkerson. 2014. Black-backed Woodpecker MIS surveys on Sierra Nevada national forests: 2013 annual report. Report to U.S.D.A. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Siegel, R.B., M.W. Tingley, and R.L. Wilkerson. 2013. Black-backed Woodpecker MIS surveys on Sierra Nevada national forests: 2012 annual report. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA.

Siegel, R.B., M.W. Tingley, R.L. Wilkerson, and M.L. Bond. 2012. Assessing home range size and habitat needs of Black-backed Woodpeckers in California: report for the 2011 and 2012 field seasons. Report to U.S.D.A. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Bond, M.L., R.B. Siegel, and D. Craig, editors. 2012. A conservation strategy for Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) in California. The Institute for Bird Populations and California Partners in Flight. PDF

Siegel, R.B., M.W. Tingley, and R.L. Wilkerson. 2012. Black-backed Woodpecker MIS surveys on Sierra Nevada national forests: 2011 annual report. Report to U.S.D.A. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Siegel, R.B., M.W. Tingley, and R.L. Wilkerson. 2011. Black-backed Woodpecker MIS surveys on Sierra Nevada national forests: 2010 annual report. Report to U.S.D.A. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Siegel, R.B., J.F. Saracco, and R.L. Wilkerson. 2010. Management indicator species (MIS) surveys on Sierra Nevada national forests: Black-backed Woodpecker. 2009 annual report. Report to U.S.D.A. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Siegel, R.B., R.L. Wilkerson, and D.L. Mauer. 2008. Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) surveys on Sierra Nevada national forests: 2008 pilot study. Report to Region 5 of the U.S.D.A. Forest Service. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

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