Red-shouldered hawk nest site selection in north-central Minnesota

Mary Anne McLeod, B. Ann Belleman, David E. Andersen, Gary W. Oehlert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We evaluated characteristics at Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) nest sites at two study areas with different topography and forest types in north-central and central Minnesota to identify nest site commonalities across geographically distinct areas. During the breeding seasons of 1994-1995, we located nests of Red-shouldered Hawks at the Camp Ripley Army National Guard Training Site and the Chippewa National Forest using a combination of broadcast surveys, helicopter searches, and systematic foot searches. All 38 nests at Camp Ripley and 18 nests in the Chippewa National Forest were in upland hardwood stands; the remaining two nests in the Chippewa National Forest were in aspen (Populus spp.) stands. We aged cores from 19 nest trees at Camp Ripley and measured habitat characteristics in a 0.04 ha circle centered on each nest tree and at a paired random site within the nest stand. We compared habitat variables at nest and random sites to identify habitat characteristics that were consistent predictors of nest sites versus random sites for each study area and for all nests combined. Compared to random sites, nest sites in the Chippewa National Forest had larger diameters at breast height (dbh) of the nest tree, taller nest tree height, and higher canopy height. At Camp Ripley, nest sites differed from random sites with regard to many more variables; nests were located in portions of the stand with larger trees and closer to surface water. Nest trees ranged in age from 50-89 years. Logistic regression models indicated that, for both study areas combined, nest tree dbh, basal area, canopy height, and distance to water were the most important variables in distinguishing nest sites from random sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-213
Number of pages11
JournalWilson Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2000

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