Since 2010, our team has been studying three Landbird Species at Risk (SAR) that breed in forested wetlands in Nova Scotia species: the Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis), Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) and Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus). Our current projects focus on conserving breeding habitat for these and other Landbird Species at Risk. Since most of their breeding populations are dispersed across working forest landscapes, conservation of quality breeding habitat in working forests is essential to their recovery. The goal of these projects is to find solutions that benefit both the birds and forestry through use of BMPs.
BMPs: A recommended strategy for conserving Species At Risk is to develop and implement Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs). These are practices that reduce risk and avoid harm to a Species At Risk and its habitat while carrying out activities, such as forest harvesting. BMPs can help landowners and forestry operators integrate the maintenance of habitat for successful breeding of a Species At Risk into forest management planning and forestry operations.
Objectives: Our project is currently testing BMPs for five species of landbird Species At Risk. We are using the BMPs recently drafted for forestry in Nova Scotia (see links to documents below). Operational guidelines for applying the BMPs are being developed and tested through partnerships with the forest industry and others.
Project Scope: Our main project will take place across Nova Scotia and focus on three Species At Risk that breed mainly in forested wetlands: the Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis), Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) and Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus). Research by our team and others have produced considerable knowledge about habitat requirements of these species in Nova Scotia. We are excited to apply this knowledge to stewardship of their breeding habitat on crown forestry lands.
A second project will take place in the Southwest Nova Scotia Priority Place, or Kespukwitk. Through partnerships, we will develop and test Operational Guidelines for BMPs for two other Landbird Species at Risk that have received little attention in Nova Scotia: the Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) and the Eastern-Wood Pewee (Contopus virens). We are also conducting surveys to increase knowledge about the habitat needs and populations of these species.
BMP examples: BMPs relevant to all five species include: (1) avoid silvicultural practices in the bird’s territory or core use area during their breeding season, and (2) avoid or limit use of pesticides and herbicides that negatively impact non-pest insect populations. Draft BMPs relevant to the three species that breed in wet forests include: (1) avoid harvesting and road building in forested wetlands, (2) if harvesting, do so on snow or frozen ground, (3) leave a buffer around wetlands, and (4) avoid activities that may alter wetland hydrology. See the BMPs specific to each species:
Get Involved: There are several ways to get involved in the project: (1) Participate in meetings (online or in-person). (2) Participate in field trips. (3) Participate in the development of operational guidelines. (4) Allow bird surveys on your land. (5) Volunteer to conduct bird surveys. (6) Allow trials of BMPs on your land. (7) Conduct BMP trials on your land. (8) Help gather forest stand measurements, before and after for trial sites.
To get involved or learn more, please contact us at landbirdSAR@merseytobeatic.ca
On this website you will find information about the life history, identification, habitat, and conservation status of these Species At Risk. You can help by reporting a sighting of our SAR in Nova Scotia. We rely on landowners and citizen scientists to help us locate good quality habitat and new breeding areas for these species.