Background

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Crozier, G.E. and M. Hamady. 2006. Boreal bird surveys in Pine Island State Forest. Final report submitted by the Nongame Wildlife Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 8 pp.

Background:

Bird surveys were conducted in Pine Island State Forest (SF) near Big Falls, Minnesota during the breeding season in 2005 and 2006. Pine Island SF is composed of extensive areas of lowland boreal conifer forests, which have not had much harvest pressure compared to other forests in northern Minnesota. The boreal forest and the unique bird species associated with it are at the southern edge of their range in northern Minnesota. Therefore, Pine Island SF is thought to be a unique area because many boreal bird species that are uncommon in Minnesota are likely located in Pine Island SF making it an important scientific and birding resource. It has been suggested that Pine Island SF be nominated as an Important Bird Area.

Human disturbance in boreal forests is starting to become more intense. The main threats to boreal forests are logging, global warming, peat mining, and intensive management of insect infestations. These natural insect outbreaks (i.e., spruce budworm) are an important food source for some boreal bird specialists such as Cape May Warblers, Tennessee Warblers, and Bay-breasted Warblers. Much more information is needed to assess how forest management is affecting boreal forests and their associated bird species.

There is a lack of data on boreal forests in general and on Pine Island SF specifically. The main goal of this project is to gather information on the bird species in Pine Island SF. The project objectives were to 1) create a species list of all birds detected in Pine Island SF, 2) gather preliminary data on the distribution of boreal birds in lowland conifer stands in different age classes, and 3) assess the need for future data collection in this area.

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