Predicting Bird Community Changes to Invasion of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Kentucky

Document Type


Publication Date





Adelges tsugae (Hemlock Woolly Adelgid [HWA]) is rapidly spreading across Kentucky, yet the potential effects on bird communities of the region are not known. We surveyed birds in Tsuga canadensis (Eastern Hemlock) and other forest types across the Appalachian mountain region of Kentucky during the early stages of infestation when HWA was absent from most sites. Based on associations between birds and forest types, we identified 4 bird species likely to be negatively affected by Eastern Hemlock decline. For one of these species, Setophaga virens (Black-throated Green Warbler), we used landscape metrics of forest composition to make predictions about the density of Eastern Hemlock necessary for persistence. This type of information can help managers establish control strategies for HWA.


"We thank all of the biologists that conducted the bird surveys. We thank the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, Kentucky State Parks, Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, US Forest Service, Eastern Kentucky University Division of Natural Areas, and private landowners for permission to conduct this research. Songlin Fei provided the Hemlock map for eastern Kentucky. Support was provided by KY EPSCoR. We also appreciate the hard physical work of all the people, including many volunteers, conducting HWA-control work in Kentucky.

This is contribution No. 43 of Lilley Cornett Woods Appalachian Ecological Research Station, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY." (p. 114)