Small Patch Virtual Workshop

Managing Small Forest Patches for Birds Virtual Workshop


Welcome to a new virtual workshop covering material introduced in our recently-published guide for landowners, Managing Small Forest Patches for Birds. This workshop is intended for land managers and property owners of small woodlots seeking to improve forest conditions for birds across their full annual life cycle: breeding, migration, and wintering. Recommendations are based on multiple research studies conducted in Ohio and similar “small patch” forest ecosystems through the Midwest and eastern North America. Whether you own half an acre or 100 acres of forest, we hope you’ll find these resources helpful so that you can make the best of your woods for birds.

The workshop will occur over the course of approximately one week. Part 1 will be a live webinar with a introductory presentation by Matthew Shumar (OBCI Program Coordinator, OSU) and Laura Kearns (Wildlife Biologist, ODNR-Division of Wildlife). Part 2 will be done at your own pace: we have collected several short videos for you to watch covering various aspects of the material in the small patch guide. Most are only a few minutes long, but there are a couple longer webinars (e.g., financial assistance programs) where we felt more detail would be helpful. Finally, we will reconvene for a live panel discussion in Part 3. This panel will be comprised by professionals with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, ODNR Divisions of Forestry and Wildlife, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Williams Soil & Water Conservation District, and the Ohio State University. This will be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have, whether they are general or specific to your property.

This workshop and the accompanying guide are made possible by the work of partners in the OBCI network, specifically: ODNR-Division of Wildlife, The Ohio State University, Ohio History Connection, Black Swamp Bird Observatory, The Nature Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture, ODNR-Division of Forestry, and Holden Forests & Gardens.


Part 1: Live introductory webinar

Participants will receive an invitation via email to join the introductory webinar. If you signed up for the workshop and have not received a link, please contact us. The webinar will last approximately one hour and will cover the following topics:

  • The importance of bird conservation
  • Landscape-context forest management
  • Full life-cycle ecology of birds
  • Overview of management recommendations
  • Assistance programs
Small patch forests throughout Ohio provide important food and cover resources for transient Neotropical migrants, like this Nashville Warbler. This bird was photographed by Matthew Shumar during late April in a small woodlot in Columbus.

Part 1 Webinar recording (January 4, 2021):


Part 2: Pre-recorded videos

We have curated several short videos covering the topics introduced in Part 1. Most videos are just a few minutes long and focused on a specific aspect of the management guide. Several videos have been produced by our partners (e.g., ODNR, OSU, Holden Forests & Gardens), but many are from similar agencies and organizations in neighboring states. As you watch these videos, keep your property in mind and make note of any questions you might have for the live panel.


⋅ Remove and control invasive plant species

Managing invasive species (4 min; OBCI)

Getting out in spring to help identify invasive species in Ohio (3 min; ODNR)

Identification of common invasive species (17 min total playlist; PSU Extension)

Tree-of-heaven control strategies (7 min; PSU Extension)

Basal-bark herbicide application for controlling Tree-of-heaven (4 min; OBCI)

Autumn Olive removal (10 min; Hardy Brothers Outdoors)

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for assistance with controlling invasive species (7 min; Purdue Extension)

⋅ Manage for native fruiting shrubs, trees, vines

Managing for native trees, shrubs, and vines (2 min; OSU Extension)

Planting native trees and shrubs (16 min; Hardy Brothers Outdoors)

Managing for native vegetation using crop tree techniques (7 min; OSU Extension)

⋅ Manage for a diversity of tree species

The importance of a diverse forest for wildlife (9 min; OSU South Centers)

⋅ Manage for a high abundance and diversity of native insects

The importance of native trees and plants for insect diversity (2 min; Bee Better Naturally)

Insect reliance on oak ecosystems (7 min; OSU South Centers)

⋅ Enhance vertical structure within the small patch

⋅ Reduce “hard” edges along forest patches

Edge feathering (7 min; Hardy Brothers Outdoors)

⋅ Create shrubby or forested corridors to connect small patches

Planting trees for wildlife (2 min; ODNR)

⋅ Create small canopy gaps in patches greater than 20 acres

Single tree and patch-cut harvesting (8 min; Purdue Extension)

⋅ Create brush piles and leave some dead trees standing

How to create brush piles (5 min; Pennsylvania Game Commission)

⋅ Limit browse and grazing damage from deer and livestock

Managing deer damage to young trees (10 min; Purdue Extension)

⋅ Consider successional stage

⋅ The importance of wet forests

Riparian forest buffers: The link between land and water (21 min; University of Maryland Extension)

How to create a riparian forest buffer (2 min; Maryland DNR)

Growing great buffers: Management tips (24 min total playlist; PSU Extension)

⋅ Financial assistance programs

Programs promoting healthy forests & wildlife: NRCS funding programs (77 min webinar; OSU Extension)

Working with NRCS to develop a conservation plan (5 min; Iowa NRCS)

Working with ODNR Private Lands Biologists (6 min; ODNR)

Considering a timber harvest? Call Before You Cut (6 min; OSU South Centers)


Additional resources

⋅ Holden Forests and Gardens

Holden Forests and Gardens were an important partner in publishing OBCI’s Managing Small Forest Patches for Birds guide for landowners. More information on community forestry can be found on their website HERE.

Overview of the Working Woods demonstration site at Holden Arboretum (4 min; Holden Forests & Gardens)


Part 3: Panel discussion

This final installment of the small patch workshop is an opportunity for you to meet with agency professionals and ask questions—either related to methods, or regarding logistical and financial assistance opportunities. The panel will be comprised of staff from:

  • The US Fish & Wildlife Service
  • ODNR-Division of Wildlife
  • ODNR-Division of Forestry
  • The Ohio State University
  • USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Soil & Water Conservation Districts

Part 3 webinar recording (January 12, 2021):