Reitsma and Students Publish Canada Warbler Research Findings

February, 2009

Canadian Warbler

In the midst of their six-year population study of the Canada Warbler, Professor of Zoology Leonard Reitsma and his student research team have discovered the ideal conditions in which these birds—whose population has been declining over the past 40 years—can thrive.

Results of the study, which is being conducted in the Canaan, NH town forest and the adjacent Bear Pond Natural Area, indicate that this population is reproducing very well in both red maple swamps and early-succession forests.

“The findings demonstrate that suitable habitats for the species can be created through specific harvest strategies,” says Reitsma. “Such timber management strategies may help to reverse the significant decline the species has experienced over the past 40 years in the northeastern United States.

“The results also suggest that both red maple swamps and post-harvest forests with thick subcanopy vegetation and emergent trees provide a high quality habitat for breeding Canada Warblers,” he says.

While Reitsma and his team published their findings last October in one of the foremost ornithology journals, The Auk, as well as in The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, Reitsma notes that their work is far from done. “This project is ongoing and continues to involve PSU students,” he says.

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