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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

Townsend's Warbler -- Dendroica townsendi

RANGE: Breeds from east-central Alaska, southern Yukon, and coastal British Columbia, as well as parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, south along the Pacific Coast into northwestern Washington, and inland to central and southeastern Washington, central and northeastern Oregon, northern Idaho, northwestern and south-central Montana, and northwestern Wyoming. In general, breeding distribution follows that of conifers and mixed coniferous-deciduous forests. Winters in the coastal region of Oregon and California south through the highlands of Mexico and Central America to Costa Rica.

STATUS: Common in coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest.

HABITAT: During breeding season, primarily inhabits tall coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest, most commonly the more mountainous regions, usually near the crowns of tall trees. During migration and winter, moves into humid forests as well as pine-oak associations, open woodlands, and second-growth scrub forests.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Tall, coniferous forests of the north Pacific Coast.

NEST: Nests in conifers, particularly firs, generally on the limb of the tree and not in the fork or crotch. Constructs nests of bark and slender twigs woven together, usually places them near the crowns of trees. In shorter trees, places nests as close as 10 or 12 feet to the ground.

FOOD: Consumes insects found on the needles of conifers as primary diet during spring and summer. (Winter food habits are not well documented.)

REFERENCES: Bent 1953a, Griscom and Sprunt 1979.

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