Island Nature Trust
Understanding Functionality of Forest Bird Habitat
This two-year research initiative seeks to determine what key variables drive habitat use by two Threatened forest bird species, Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) and Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi), in forested natural areas in PEI. Additionally, Island Nature Trust (INT) is interested in understanding the forest bird community that uses its natural areas. In 2017, data was collected in six INT-owned natural areas located across the island, including one off-shore island site.
Point count surveys were conducted to determine presence/absence of Canada Warbler and Olive-sided Flycatcher and to quantify the forest bird community, and then detailed surveys were conducted to gather information on habitat characteristics of survey sites. An automated recording unit (ARU) was installed at the off-shore island site, and the data collected will be compared to point count surveys to test the efficacy of ARUs in remote forested locations.
Fifty-one volunteers were engaged in this project through INT’s Conservation Guardian Program. Volunteers assisted with birding banding at a Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) site in Belfast PEI, received training on forest bird identification in Kildare PEI, and assisted in management of INT’s forested lands.
With a greater understanding of habitat requirements for species at risk, INT, other Island conservation groups, governments and private woodlot owners can begin to protect and more effectively manage areas of critical habitat. Furthermore, collecting baseline information on the forest bird community using INT natural areas will inform future management and studies, which is increasingly important as Island forests adapt to global climate change.