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 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.

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: Introductory webinar

Recorded on January 4, 2021

The introductory 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

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

Manage for a diversity of native fruiting shrubs, trees, and vines

Flowering Dogwood. Photo by Kathy Smith.

Manage for a high abundance and diversity of native insects

Silver-spotted Skipper on Common Milkweed. Lepidopteran larvae are an important food source for many birds. Photo by Matthew Shumar.

Reduce hard edges along forest patches

Edge feathering. Photo by John Kaiser/ODNR-Division of Wildlife.

Edge feathering (7 min; Hardy Brothers Outdoors)

Create shrubby or forested corridors to connect small patches

Forested riparian area. Photo by Laura Kearns/ODNR-Division of Wildlife.

Create small canopy gaps in patches greater than 20 acres

Natural canopy gap. Photo by Matthew Shumar.

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

Create brush piles and leave some dead trees standing

Snag with woodpecker cavity. Photo by Matthew Shumar.

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

Limit browse and grazing damage from deer and livestock

White-tailed Deer. Photo by Matthew Shumar.

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

The importance of wet forests

Wet woods in northwestern Ohio. Photo by Annie Lindsay.

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

Additional resources

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

Recorded on January 12, 2021

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