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Woodland management for birds: Priority species

occasionally eaten. Foraging locations within occupied woodlands are positively correlated to canopy cover, tree height and the number of dead trees.

Conservation issues

  • Increasing woodland fragmentation and changes in woodland structure reducing the availability of food, such as invertebrate biomass, within the canopy.

  • A loss and change in type of deadwood within woodlands, which reduces nesting and foraging opportunities, especially a reduction in small diameter dead limbs (Amar et al. 2006; Smith 2006 in press).

  • Woodlands with high densities of grey squirrel dreys are more likely to have experienced declines in lesser spotted woodpeckers (Amar et al. 2006), although it is unclear whether the squirrel population is the direct cause of the declines (Smith pers. com).

  • Competition for nest sites and predation of eggs and young by great spotted woodpecker may also be a factor in declines (Amar et al. 2006; Fuller et al. 2005; Glue and Boswell 1994).

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Management advice

General

  • Target management to large (>30 ha) oak-dominated woodland within key areas, as this is more likely to provide their favoured woodland structural characteristics.

  • Coppice management can benefit this species in the later stages of the rotation, and through the retention of standards.

Increase the extent or improve the quality of nest sites

  • Increase the amount of standing deadwood through ring-barking or injecting herbicides into younger crowding timber.

Increase the extent or improve the quality of foraging habitat

  • Encourage crown development of individual trees by light to moderate thinning of the canopy.

  • Ensure availability of dead and dying wood, especially small-diameter dead limbs through ring-barking or injecting herbicides into younger crowding timber.

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