Woodpecker use of burned forests in central Illinois

Grace Wilson, Jeff Hoover

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Prescribed fire has been used to control invasive plant species, improve timber stand composition, and improve habitat suitability for various species of interest for decades. In central Illinois, sites are burned at different frequencies. We began studying how the frequency of prescribed fire affects woodpecker abundance and diversity in April 2019 on forested lands owned by Illinois DNR and US Army Corps of Engineers. All species of woodpecker that are native to the state and present year-round were included in the study (Downy woodpecker, Hairy woodpecker, Red-bellied woodpecker, Red-headed woodpecker, Pileated woodpecker, and Northern flicker). Five minute, unlimited radius point counts, followed by five minutes of broadcasted woodpecker calls were conducted at 134 points within forests, representing various management histories (including non-managed), across central Illinois between May and July of 2019; the quantity and size of snags, oaks, and down wood was also recorded. Comparisons of the average number of detections per species at sites categorized into three levels of burn frequency will be presented, as well as a comparison between passive and playback surveys.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMidwest Fish and Wildlife Conference 2020
StatePublished - 2020


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