Monday, March 25, 2013

Warbler Guy, which warbler nests farthest north in North America?

{Above graphic citation: Hunt, Pamela D. and Bonita C. Eliason. 1999. Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:

The answer, Justin (in Sheboygan, WI), is the Blackpoll Warbler.

Nesting in boreal spruce and fir forests of Alaska, Canada, and the n.e. USA, the northern-most portion of this common warbler’s range is a vast swath encompassing Alaska (south of the Brooks Range to the base of Alaska Peninsula); the mouth of Mackenzie River (Yukon), and n.-central British Columbia; east through w. and s. Mackenzie, s. Keewatin, and northern portions of Alberta (south to Banff in Canadian Rockies), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (south to roughly 54°N), and Ontario (south to south end of James Bay); to central Quebec (south of Ungava Peninsula), central Labrador, Newfoundland, the Maritime Provinces, and the ne. U.S.

Its most southern latitudinal location (i.e., southeastern portion of its nesting range) is in eastern NY (Adirondacks and Catskills; ne. Massachusetts; Vermont (Green Mtns); and New Hampshire (White Mtns.) n. and se. Maine, se. Quebec (Laurentides Provincial Park to Gaspe Peninsula;; n. and sw. New Brunswick, and sw. and n. Nova Scotia (including Cape Breton I.).

Interestingly, it’s possible an isolated breeding range for this species occurs in n.w. Oregon, based on a 1976 discovery of young in this area.

Which other warblers breed nearly as far north?

The Palm Warbler subspecies known commonly as “Western Palm Warbler” (Setopha palmarium palmarum) nests in habitat corresponding to the distribution of bogs and fens in boreal forests of Canada and the northern United States.

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