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A land manager's guide to conserving habitat for forest birds in ...

A land manager's guide to conserving habitat for forest birds in ...

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens Breeding Biology The Eastern Wood-Pewee is one of the last migrants to return in spring, often raising two broods between early June and early August. It has an extensive breeding range, stretching from southeast Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia, extending as far south as Florida. It uses a wide variety of forests for breeding, including deciduous, coniferous, and mixed forests, as well as forest edges and riparian zones, usually with a relatively open understorey. Nests are neat, shallow cups built five to 20 metres off the ground on a horizontal limb well out from the trunk of a tree. Nests are typically covered in lichens, and resemble a knot on the tree branch. The female lays two to four eggs that are whitish in colouration with brown or purple blotches forming a “wreath” around the larger end. Diet The Eastern Wood-Pewee feeds almost exclusively on small flying insects, chiefly wasps, bees, and flies. Typically, it flies out from a dead exposed perch 10 to 12 metres above ground to catch a flying insect and then returns to the same perch. It occasionally gleans invertebrates off leaves or from the ground. Management Guidelines The Eastern Wood-Pewee does not seem to be adversely affected by forest fragmentation, as it makes use of both edge and interior habitat. Forestry practices that maintain large tracts of intermediate aged forest with pockets of small openings in an otherwise closed canopy forest would be preferred by Eastern Wood-Pewee. The regulation of deer populations at

Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens dangling pieces of vegetation. They are slung in the fork of a small horizontal branch, often far out from a tree-trunk, at a height of 2.5 to 6.0 metres. Females typically lay clutches of three or four white eggs with small brownish spots. Identification (14 centimetres) A denizen of large, mature, moist deciduous forests and streamsides (often with a hemlock component), the Acadian Flycatcher is typically first detected by its explosive “peet-sah” or “tee-chup” song. They are the largest and greenest of the North American Empidonax flycatchers, a group of small grey-green birds similar in appearance, but distinguishable by song and habitat. Their upperparts are greenish-olive, while their underparts have a faint yellow wash. They have a white eye-ring and throat, mostly pale (yellowish) lower mandible, and white or buffy wing bars that contrast with their dark wings. The sexes are identical. Conservation Status Though a widely distributed breeder in the forested landscape of the eastern United States, the Acadian Flycatcher is Endangered in Canada and restricted to the southern Carolinian forest region of Ontario. Despite stable populations, it is a species of conservation concern across much of its range due to its dependence on large mature forest and sensitivity to forest fragmentation. The Ontario population is estimated to consist of no more than 50 breeding pairs. Diet Acadian Flycatchers eat a wide variety of insects and larvae, from ground level to lower canopy. They are passive foragers that sit on exposed branches looking for prey, snatching most insects from leaves, especially from the undersides. They also hover to glean insects, and often catch them in flight. Management Guidelines Emphasis should be placed on conserving large, mature tracts of forest with little internal disturbance, and maintaining canopy cover in riparian and swamp forest habitat. The highly fragmented landscape and small woodlot size in southern Ontario limit populations. Restoring and preserving large forests would not only provide good nesting habitat, but may alleviate edge-effects to increase population size and facilitate range expansion. The species is tolerant of light selection harvest, but even moderate logging within territories is expected to eliminate populations for years, if not decades. Acadian Flycatcher — Photo: Bill Hubick How to find The best way to spot Acadian Flycatchers is to listen for their explosive “peet-sah” call, then look carefully for a singing male on an exposed branch in the lower canopy. Photo: Peter Burke Breeding Biology The Acadian Flycatcher is a long-distance migrant that winters in Latin America. On the breeding grounds, it is typically associated with water, selecting sites with high, dense canopy and an open understorey within undisturbed forest. Areas with no or little ground cover are preferred. In Ontario, it breeds from mid-May to the end of July, usually raising just a single brood. Nests are shallow, messy, frail-looking, hammock-like baskets with long Did you know? • Both males and females will bill-snap in response to imminent threats. • Acadian Flycatcher nests suffer from predation rates of 50 to 70 percent. • It is an excellent flyer, with the capability to hover and fly backwards. Bird Species Accounts 111

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