Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Human-Wildlife Conflicts Volume 1, Number 1, Pages 45–48, Spring 2007. Published and copyright by the Jack H. Berryman Institute. http://www.berrymaninstitute.org/journal/index.html


When establishing new populations of endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers (RCW; Picoides borealis), cavity kleptoparasites can pose a considerable obstacle to successful restoration. Southern flying squirrels (SFS; Glaucomys volans) are the principal kleptoparasite of RCW roost and nest cavities. Managers restoring RCW populations primarily use labor-intensive, direct removal to mitigate cavity competition by SFS. We field tested the use of red fox (Vulpes vulpes) urine and rat snake (Elaphe spp.) musk as predator scents to examine if SFS could be deterred from using RCW cavities and to observe RCW roost behavior at cavities treated with red fox urine. Scent deterrence proved ineffective in preventing SFS use of RCW cavities, while RCWs showed no behavioral response to scent treatment. Managers should continue using squirrel excluder devices, and direct removal to mitigate SFS kleptoparasitism of RCW cavities when restoring critically endangered populations.