Yellow Warbler

Demography of
Yellow Warblers

Research on Landbirds

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The yellow warbler is found in riparian habitat across North America during the breeding season but migrates  to Central and South America for the winter. Human activities have caused a dramatic loss in the amount of riparian habitat throughout North America which may explain why B.C. populations have declined significantly over the last 20 years. We initiated research on this striking songbird in 2004.

applying bands to a Yellow Warbler
photo of field site with meadow and mountain Our research conducted at three sites in Revelstoke, B.C.  focuses on these questions:
  • How do local and landscape level habitat characteristics and management of water levels influence habitat selection and breeding performance?
  • How do molt and migratory strategies influence survival and subsequent reproductive success of birds?
  • Why does cowbird parasitism rates vary across years and between sites?
male Yellow Warbler looking at you! We have shown that Yellow warblers prefer riparian habitat associated with large cottonwoods, with high densities of willow and non-willow shrubs, and avoid patches of riparian habitat that is not contiguous with deciduous forest (Quinlan and Green 2006, 2007). These habitat selection decisions increase productivity. Our results will be used to guide planned riparian restoration efforts in the Revelstoke and Kinbasket area.
We are currently examining how molt and migratory strategies influence survival and subsequent reproductive success of birds returning to BC. We use hydrogen isotope ratios in feathers to infer where yellow warblers molt and over-winter. This will provide insight into the migratory connectivity of Yellow warblers and enable us to initiate research on wintering as well as breeding grounds and investigate the importance of carry-over effects from the winter period on subsequent productivity. Male and Female Yellow Warblers in the hand
Yellow warbler feeding cowbird fledgling
Cowbird parasitism of Yellow Warbler nests varies widely across years and between sites. In 2008 we plan to undertake a new study looking into the reasons behind this variation.
CWE Researchers on this project: Collaborators

David Green
Sam Quinlan
Christine Rock

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Wendy Easton