Lack of edge effect in nesting success of breeding birds in managed forest landscapes

Ilpo K. Hanski, Timothy J. Fenske, Gerald J Niemi

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28 Scopus citations


We assessed avian nesting success in two forested landscapes (Chippewa and Superior National Forests) in northern Minnesota. We found 311 nests of 33 species in the Chippewa study area and 36 nests of 13 species in the Superior study area. Each nest was classified into one of three general habitat types: open (clearcuts with vegetation <2 m high), regenerating aspen (2-8 m high), or forested (trees >8 m high). Mayfield nesting success for the most common species in the Chippewa (all of which had open-cup nests) averaged 0.43. Nesting success ranged from 0.18 for the Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus) to 0.76 for the Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia). Nest predation was the most common mortality factor, causing 89.2% of known failures. Nest predation among ground-nesting birds was significantly higher in the Chippewa (55%) than in the Superior (15%) study area (P = 0.038). Nest predation was highest (P = 0.015) in the forest (62.2%) and lowest in open (42.2%) and regenerating (47.4%) habitat types. Only canopy cover explained differences in nesting success, which was higher in more open canopies. Distance to forest edge, nest height, and nest concealment had no effect on nesting success in both forested and open habitats. Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) parasitism was low (9.6% in the Chippewa study area), and parasitized nests were relatively unsuccessful (only 1.7% yielded cowbird fledglings). Neither cowbirds nor nest parasitism was observed in the Superior study area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-585
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1996


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