We examined the nest-tree preferences of northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) in an old-growth, mixed-conifer and red fir (Abies magnifica) forest of the southern Sierra Nevada of California. We tracked 27 individuals to 122 nest trees during 3 summers. Flying squirrels selected nest trees that were larger in diameter and taller than either random trees or large (>50-cm diameter at breast height) nearest-neighbor trees. Snags were used more often than live trees relative to their availability. Nest trees were usually close to riparian habitat; 86% of nest trees were <150 m from a perennial creek. Flying squirrels selected red fir and avoided incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens). Mean distances between nest trees and size of core-nest areas were greater for males than for females. No detectable relationship was found between size of core-nest area and distance to a perennial creek. These results suggest that flying squirrels of the Sierra Nevada may require large trees and snags within 150 m of perennial creeks for their critical habitat needs.
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