- 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.
- DeLuca, W., Holberton, R., Hunt, P. D. & Eliason, B. C. 2013. Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata), version 2.0. in The Birds of North America (Rodewald, P. G., ed.) Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA. Available online: https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.431
- Schieck, J. & Song, S. J. 2006. Changes in bird communities throughout succession following fire and harvest in boreal forests of western North America: literature review and meta-analyses. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 36: 1299–1318. Available online: https://doi.org/10.1139/x06-017
- ABMI. 2017. Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata). ABMI Species Website, version 4.1 Available online: http://species.abmi.ca/pages/species/birds/BlackpollWarbler.html
- Mitchell, G. W., Taylor, P. D. & Warkentin, I. G. 2010. Multiscale Postfledging Habitat Associations of Juvenile Songbirds in a Managed Landscape. The Auk 127: 354–363.
- Darveau, M., Beauchesne, P., Bélanger, L., Huot, J. & Larue, P. 1995. Riparian forest strips as habitat for breeding birds in boreal forest. The Journal of Wildlife Management 59: 67–78. Available online: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3809117
- Whitaker, D. M., Carroll, A. L. & Montevecchi, W. A. 2000. Elevated numbers of flying insects and insectivorous birds in riparian buffer strips. Canadian Journal of Zoology 78: 740–747. Available online: http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/z99-254
- Environment Canada. 2013. Bird Conservation Strategy for Bird Conservation Region 6: Boreal Taiga Plains. Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Edmonton, Alberta. 288 pp.