Publication Details

Population densities of northern Saw-whet Owls (Aegolius acadicus) in degraded boreal forests of the southern Appalachians

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Milling, Timothy C.; Rowe, Matthew P.; Cockerel, Bennie L.; Dellinger, Timothy A.; Gailes, Johnny B.; Hill, Christopher E.

Year Published

1997

Publication

In: Duncan, James R.; Johnson, David H.; Nicholls, Thomas H., eds. Biology and conservation of owls of the Northern Hemisphere: 2nd International symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-190. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 272-285.

Abstract

A disjunct population of the Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) breeds in the montane spruce-fir forests of the southern Appalachian Mountains. These forests are listed as the second most endangered ecosystem in the United States, having suffered from logging and massive fir die-off from the exotic balsam woolly adelgid. We used audio playbacks to compare densities of saw-whets prior to fir die-off (1968-1969) with those now (1993-1994); numbers were almost identical, suggesting little if any impact from the adelgid. Extrapolation from our density estimates, however, show fewer than 500 pair of saw-whets in the southeastern population. Global warming, air pollution, outbreaks of new pests, and burgeoning recreational demands may further degrade these forests, leading to the possible extirpation of saw-whets from the southern Appalachians.

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Citation

Milling, Timothy C.; Rowe, Matthew P.; Cockerel, Bennie L.; Dellinger, Timothy A.; Gailes, Johnny B.; Hill, Christopher E. 1997. Population densities of northern Saw-whet Owls (Aegolius acadicus) in degraded boreal forests of the southern Appalachians. In: Duncan, James R.; Johnson, David H.; Nicholls, Thomas H., eds. Biology and conservation of owls of the Northern Hemisphere: 2nd International symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-190. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 272-285.

Last updated on: August 6, 2008