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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Bay-breasted Warbler -- Dendroica castanea

RANGE: Breeds from southwestern Mackenzie to north-central Saskatchewan and Newfoundland south to northeastern British Columbia, southern Manitoba, and northeastern Minnesota to southern Maine. Winters in northern South America.

STATUS: Fairly common.

HABITAT: Inhabits northern coniferous forests or mixed forests, favoring young spruce and fir. Also found in woodlands bordering streams, along fence rows and highways, and in mixed woods around ponds and lakes. During migration, uses all types of woodlands but prefers conifers.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Early stages of second-growth conifer forests.

NEST: Usually saddles nest on a horizontal branch of a conifer, 4 to 40 feet above the ground, well out from the tree trunk.

FOOD: Forages among the middle and upper branches of small conifers to glean food from needles and flowers. Eats mostly insects; occasionally eats berries such as Virginia creepers and mulberries in the fall.

REFERENCES: Griscom and Sprunt 1979, Harrison 1975, Mendall 1937.

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