Are Resident Songbirds Stratified within the Canopy of a Coniferous Old-Growth Forest?


canopy stratification
coniferous old-growth

How to Cite

Shaw, D., & Flick, C. (1999). Are Resident Songbirds Stratified within the Canopy of a Coniferous Old-Growth Forest?. Selbyana, 20(2), 324–331. Retrieved from


Resident songbirds of temperate coniferous forests survive throughout the year even though the resources within the forest change with the seasons. One aspect of that survival may be a generalist strategy that avoids vertical stratification of the canopy. Five small diurnal songbirds, Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), Brown Creeper (Certhia americana), Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus sátrapa), and Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens) were studied using the Wind River Canopy Crane from 21 March, 1996 to 20 March, 1998. Point counts were used to survey bird occurrence in low, mid-, and upper canopy positions. A three way Analysis of Deviance was used to test for significance of canopy level, season, and their interaction. All five species stratify the canopy, while all but the Winter Wren had population numbers shift with the season. Only the Chestnut-backed Chickadee and Red Crossbill had significant interaction terms, implying that they shift their abundance in canopy zones with the seasons. The Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Brown Creeper occurred in all zones of the canopy, even though they were most abundant in one particular zone during any given season, indicating a generalist ability.


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