- The Blackpoll Warbler’s primary habitat is wet conifer forest (black spruce, tamarack) and riparian spruce/alder/willow thickets. Subalpine habitats include mixed conifer, birch and aspen.1
- Old aspen forest (>125 years old)2 and young pine and mixedwood3 may be important habitat in western forests but this is based on only a few studies, making it difficult to draw strong conclusions (See Knowledge Gaps).
- These warblers typically build their nests about a meter off the ground, often against the trunk of a conifer.1
- Young Blackpoll Warblers use habitat with high volumes of coarse woody debris.4
Response to Forest Management
- Clearcuts are generally considered low-quality habitats, but they may recolonize them relatively quickly (e.g., after 10 years).1
- Given the small amount of information available on this species, their response to riparian buffers is uncertain.5,6 Minimum riparian buffer widths of 60 m are conservatively recommended within spruce forests.5
- The amount of green-tree retention needed to benefit this species is not known. However, harvest patterns that increase volumes of coarse woody debris may provide some long-term benefits as the block regenerates.
- Blackpoll warblers have a strong association with riparian white spruce, low-productivity black spruce/tamarack (including bogs), and other wet, old coniferous forests. This suggests that the passive landbase (riparian zones, wet areas) will likely contribute to habitat for this species on the landscape.1,7
- This species occurs at low densities and is difficult to detect, and multi-species studies rarely obtain enough observations to analyze Blackpoll Warbler’s response to harvest. More targeted research is required to determine best practices for managing this species in western Canadian forests.