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Use of Large Clear-Cuts by Wilson’s Warbler in an Eastern Canadian Boreal Forest

Author(s): André Desrochers | Jacinthe Tardif | Marc J. Mazerolle

Journal: Avian Conservation and Ecology
ISSN 1712-6568

Volume: 7;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: area-sensitivity | Cardellina pusilla | forest management | forest succession | generalized linear mixed model | habitat use | morphology | occupancy modeling | patch size | Quebec | wetlands | Wilson&#8217 | s Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla; WIWA) has been declining for several decades, possibly because of habitat loss. We compared occupancy of territorial males in two habitat types of Québec’s boreal forest, alder (Alnus spp.) scrubland and recent clear-cuts. Singing males occurred in clusters, their occupancy was similar in both habitats, but increased with the amount of alder or clear-cut within 400 m of point-count stations. A despotic distribution of males between habitats appeared unlikely, because there were no differences in morphology between males captured in clear-cuts vs. alder. Those results contrast with the prevailing view, mostly based on western populations, that WIWA are wetland or riparian specialists, and provide the first evidence for a preference for large tracts of habitat in this species. Clear-cuts in the boreal forest may benefit WIWA by supplying alternative nesting habitat. However, the role of clear-cuts as source or sink habitats needs to be addressed with data on reproduction.
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