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Boreal Birds of North America

Boreal Birds of North America: A Hemispheric View of Their Conservation Links and Significance

Jeffrey V. Wells Editor
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Pages: 160
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  • Book Info
    Boreal Birds of North America
    Book Description:

    Reaching from interior Alaska across Canada to Labrador and Newfoundland, North America’s boreal forest is the largest wilderness area left on the planet. It is critical habitat for billions of birds; more than 300 species regularly breed there. After the breeding season, many boreal birds migrate to seasonal habitats across the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. This volume brings together new research on boreal bird biology and conservation. It highlights the importance of the region to the global avifauna and to the connectivity between the boreal forest and ecoregions throughout the Americas. The contributions showcase a unique set of perspectives on the migration, wintering ecology, and conservation of bird communities that are tied to the boreal forest in ways that may not have been previously considered.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95058-0
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Boreal Forest Threats and Conservation Status
    (pp. 1-6)
    Jeffrey V. Wells

    North America’s boreal forest region is considered one of the most intact and least disturbed of the globe’s terrestrial forested ecosystems (Lee et al. 2006). Its nearly 600 million hectares span from interior Alaska across Canada to Labrador and Newfoundland (Fig. 1.1) and encompass some of the world’s largest peatlands, lakes, and rivers (Schindler and Lee 2010, Wells et al. 2011), major stores of terrestrial carbon (Carlson et al. 2009, 2010; Tarnocai et al. 2009), large populations of carnivores (Canadian Boreal Initiative 2005, Cardillo et al. 2006, Bradshaw et al. 2009), and some of the world’s last remaining unchecked large...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Global Role for Sustaining Bird Populations
    (pp. 7-22)
    Jeffrey V. Wells and Peter J. Blancher

    Global-level conservation assessments have historically focused on measures of species diversity or rarity in the form of endemism or endangerment. Under such schemes, areas with high diversity and/or high numbers of endemic or endangered species have higher conservation value (Margules and Pressey 2000, Karieva and Marvier 2003, Cardillo et al. 2006, Ceballos and Ehrlich 2006, Lamoreux et al. 2006). Global-scale assessments that have used diversity and rarity-based approaches generally find that, as expected, tropical and subtropical regions of the world have the highest diversity and highest numbers of endemic and endangered species (Myers et al. 2000, Hoekstra et al. 2005,...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Waterfowl Conservation Planning: SCIENCE NEEDS AND APPROACHES
    (pp. 23-40)
    Stuart M. Slattery, Julienne L. Morissette, Glenn G. Mack and Eric W. Butterworth

    The North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) recognizes the western boreal forest (WBF; Fig. 3.1) as the second most important region on the continent for breeding waterfowl (North American Waterfowl Management Plan, Plan Committee 2004). NAWMP was established in 1986 to guide waterfowl conservation in the United States, Canada, and Mexico through collaborations among government and non-governmental organizations. The plan’s overall goal is to sustain North American waterfowl populations at 1970s levels with science-based approaches to conserving both wetland and upland habitats used by breeding, molting, staging, and wintering birds (North American Waterfowl Management Plan, Plan Committee 2004). In 2007,...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Breeding Distribution and Ecology of Pacific Coast Surf Scoters
    (pp. 41-64)
    John Y. Takekawa, Susan W. De La Cruz, Matthew T. Wilson, Eric C. Palm, Julie Yee, David R. Nysewander, Joseph R. Evenson, John M. Eadie, Daniel Esler, W. Sean Boyd and David H. Ward

    Understanding relationships between nonbreeding and breeding populations is fundamental to our knowledge of migratory bird ecology. Although many studies have examined migratory populations during wintering or breeding periods, few cross-seasonal studies have been undertaken on individual birds across these primary life-cycle stages (Webster et al. 2002). The primary reason that such research has been limited is because of the great difficulty in relocating individuals at both ends of their migratory routes. However, the development of satellite telemetry over the past decade has made such studies feasible for larger migratory birds such as waterfowl.

    Information on migratory connectivity has been exceedingly...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Geospatial Modeling of Abundance with Breeding Bird Atlas Data
    (pp. 65-72)
    Andrew R. Couturier

    The boreal forest region is a globally important forest ecosystem that provides a wide variety of services and functions, including biogeochemical and hydrological services, important wildlife habitat, lands for First Nations peoples, and many others (Canadian Boreal Initiative 2005). The boreal forest spans large expanses of northern countries including Canada, Russia, Finland, Sweden, the United States (Alaska), and others. The boreal forest encompasses nearly 50% of Canada’s land mass and, for the most part, remains sparsely populated and relatively intact. However, the region is under considerable development pressure from forestry, mining, and oil and gas extraction, underscoring the need for...

  11. CHAPTER SIX The Boreal Landbird Component of Migrant Bird Communities in Eastern North America
    (pp. 73-84)
    Adrienne J. Leppold and Robert S. Mulvihill

    The boreal forest is one of the world’s largest intact forest ecosystems, spanning 6,000 kilometers (3,500 miles) across Alaska and Canada and 20 degrees of latitude (50°–70°N). Nearly half of all North American birds rely on the boreal forest, especially during the breeding season. More than 1.5 billion landbirds are estimated to breed in the boreal forest region, some of which may be in serious decline (Blancher and Wells 1995, National Audubon Society 2002, Sauer et al. 2007).

    In understanding more about populations of these birds, researchers have historically looked to the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), various breeding bird...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Boreal Migrants in Winter Bird Communities
    (pp. 85-94)
    Bruce A. Robertson, Rich MacDonald, Jeffrey V. Wells, Peter J. Blancher and Louis Bevier

    North America’s boreal forest encompasses 5.9 million square kilometers, making up one-quarter of the world’s intact forest ecosystems (Bryant et al. 1997, Lee et al. 2006). Nearly half of all North American birds (325 species) breed in the region (Wells and Blancher, this volume, chapter 2). It is estimated that 93% of boreal forest landbirds—that is, between 3 and 5 billion adult and immature birds—migrate from the region every fall (Blancher 2003). Many of these boreal forest–breeding birds become integrated into North American and Neotropical bird communities in Central and South America and throughout the Caribbean. There...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT Important Bird Areas as Wintering Sites for Boreal Migrants in the Tropical Andes
    (pp. 95-106)
    Ian J. Davidson, David D. Fernández and Rob Clay

    The 1.5 billion acres of boreal forests of North America are the nesting ground for over 300 different species of birds (Blancher and Wells 2005). An estimated 90% of the boreal forest–breeding birds migrate out of the area during the boreal winter period (Rich et al. 2004). While a majority migrate to southern United States and Central America, a significant number reach the five countries of the Tropical Andes (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela) and almost the entire populations of some species, such as Olive-sided Flycatchers, Eastern and Western Wood-Pewees, Alder Flycatcher, Swainson’s (Catharus ustulatus) and Gray-cheeked Thrushes,...

  14. CHAPTER NINE Understanding Declines in Rusty Blackbirds
    (pp. 107-126)
    Russell Greenberg, Dean W. Demarest, Steven M. Matsuoka, Claudia Mettke-Hofmann, David Evers, Paul B. Hamel, Jason Luscier, Luke L. Powell, David Shaw, Michael L. Avery, Keith A. Hobson, Peter J. Blancher and Daniel K. Niven

    The boreal zone provides the most extensive forested habitat for high-latitude birds. Because large parts of the region are inaccessible by road, even large changes in the status of a boreal forest species may go unnoticed, or if detected, remain challenging to investigate and understand. The Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) is a widespread boreal breeding songbird that has undergone a precipitous decline, as evidenced by data collected through breeding and wintering surveys from across its North American range (Greenberg and Droege 1999, Niven et al. 2004, Sauer et al. 2005). Unlike many migratory species that breed in remote boreal habitats,...

  15. INDEX
    (pp. 127-134)
    (pp. 135-136)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 137-144)