Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI)

Characterizing Eastern Wood-Pewee habitat on working lands in Kespukwitk

Caleb Gibbons1 and Cindy Staicer1

1Biology Department, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS


Silviculture is one of the factors likely contributing to population declines in SAR forest birds, including the Eastern Wood-Pewee (EAWP; Contopus virens). Habitat stewardship for EAWP in Kespukwitk requires detailed knowledge of the species’ breeding habitat and its distribution across the landscape. To address the lack of quantitative habitat data for EAWP in our working forests, detailed field surveys were conducted August-September 2021 at 34 sites (15 on Crown lands and 19 on private woodlands) in Kespukwitk where EAWP were documented singing between 2020-2021. Survey plots were 50 m-radius circles that included 5 prism plots and one FEC plot. Sites were mature upland forest, with an average canopy height >16 m. Overall, basal areas of the two most dominant species, white pine and red maple, were similar, though red spruce, balsam fir and hemlock contributed to volumes of softwood being twice that of hardwood. The most common FEC Vegetation Type was Spruce-Pine and the most common Soil Types were ST9 and ST5. Average canopy closure was 66%, suggesting small, scattered gaps are important and that creating small canopy gaps should benefit this SAR. Our results will be used to update the BMPs for Forestry in Nova Scotia, which are based on information from other regions. EAWP habitat in Kespukwitk is more coniferous than reported for other regions. A comparison of field data with the NS Forest Inventory Data (FID) showed that the two data sets were largely congruent, suggesting that the FID should be useful for modeling EAWP habitat in Kespukwitk.

Keywords: SAR, Birds, Habitat, Forestry, Stewardship

Presentation type: poster


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