We studied nest-site selection and nest survival of early successional birds at the Barrens Grouse Habitat Management Area in central Pennsylvania in 2006 and 2007. We compared vegetation at nests to that at sites 30 m distant to examine microhabitat characteristics related to nest-site selection and which characteristics were associated with nest survival. Daily nest survival probability was 0.968 ± 0.006 (SE) for Chestnut-sided Warblers (Dendroica pensylvanica), 0.935 ± 0.014 for Field Sparrows (Spizella pusilla), 0.955 ± 0.011 for Indigo Buntings (Passerina cyanea), and 0.960 ± 0.005 for all species combined. Nest-site selection was best characterized by high woody stem density for Chestnut-sided Warblers, Indigo Buntings, and all species combined. Nest survival increased with woody stem density, indicating that nest-site preferences may be adaptive. Ground cover best predicted nest placement for Field Sparrows but no measured variable affected nest survival for this species. We suggest that severe defoliation by gypsy moths (Lymantria dispar) in 2007 had little effect on nest predation risk for early successional birds.
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Vol. 121 • No. 3