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Bird Habitat Conservation Toolkit

Image of Bird
This small, round songbird is a familiar sight in many coniferous forests, where its high-pitched song sounds like a tiny car trying (unsuccessfully) to start.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

(Regulus satrapa)
Overview
status
AlbertaSecure
British ColumbiaYellow
Primary Habitat
Old Coniferous
Nest Type
Canopy (conifer)
Territory Size
0.3–1.6 ha
Nest Reuse
No
Breeding Window
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Peak: mid-June through August
Stand-Level
Riparian buffers >30–35 m wide in old conifer forest; large-diameter spruce, Douglas fir, or hemlock
Landscape-Level
Large, unfragmented stands of old coniferous forest

Habitat Ecology

  • The Golden-crowned Kinglet is associated with old, dense conifer forests including Douglas fir, western hemlock, mountain hemlock, and spruce.1 It is also common in spruce-aspen mixedwood forests from >75 years2 to >140 years old.3

Response to Forest Management

  • This species’ close association with forests older than rotation age makes it highly sensitive to harvest. It was absent from stands up to 33 years following clearcutting1,4 and declined following harvests with 20–70% retention,1,5 smallscale harvests including uniform single-tree removal,6 and moderate to heavy thinning.7,8
  • Riparian buffers >30–35 m may support higher occupancy than narrower buffers ≥10 years postharvest.9–11 Varying buffer widths with wider areas serving as retention anchors may benefit this species.
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet abundance increases in areas of mountain pine beetle, spruce beetle, and spruce budworm infestation.1

Stand-level Recommendations

  • Retention harvest is overall considered less effective than old forest stands or set-asides, given this species’ declines even in harvested blocks with very high retention. The retention of features including large-diameter conifers will, however, likely improve the structural complexity and long-term habitat value of regenerating stands.
  • Riparian buffers >30–35 m wide may help support this species, however they will likely occur at lower densities than in unharvested forest.12

Landscape-level Recommendations

  • The primary strategy for conserving this species is the maintenance of conifer-dominated forest stands exceeding the rotation age on the landscape.
  • Large continuous stands and/or strong connectivity among stands, as would occur under an NRV scenario, will likely be of higher quality than fragmented or isolated forest patches, as this species has shown edge sensitivity13 and reluctance to cross gaps >25 m wide.14

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