Audubon NY Publishes Guide for Forest Bird Habitat

Innovative guide offers comprehensive habitat management
tools for private and public New York land managers

Audubon New York, the state program of the National Audubon Society, recently released a new guide for foresters and other land managers to help improve forest bird habitat while also achieving other management objectives. Forest Management for New York Birds: A Forester’s Guide is a technical guide that integrates forest management planning and silviculture with habitat improvements for a full suite of forest birds.

(See attachment at the end of this article to download a copy of the guide.)

Canada warbler

Canada warbler/Tom Berriman

The guide is based on a complete new assessment and synthesis of the scientific literature regarding forest bird habitat requirements and responses to forest management. It provides an overview of forest habitat requirements, as well as a framework for assessing current forest landscape and stand-level conditions.

Based on existing stand conditions and landscape context, the guide helps a forester identify silvicultural options that, if carried out, will improve habitat for a suite of priority forest bird species. Desired outcomes include a balance of forest age classes, a diversity of trees and other native plants in the landscape, and the presence of coarse woody debris, snags, large-diameter trees, and complex vegetative structure at the forest-stand scale.

The habitat recommendations in the guide apply to private and public lands, and to both large and small tracts. Not only will they improve habitat for birds, but they will result in a healthier, more diverse, and more resilient forest.

Kathy Moser, Deputy Commissioner of Natural Resources for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, said, “DEC was proud to work on this important guide for forest management with Audubon New York and other partners, and looks forward to its successful implementation. This guide provides a great series of recommendations on how DEC and other managers can employ active forest management on state forests, wildlife management areas and other forested areas to continue to improve habitat for wide variety of bird species” while ensuring the future health of New York’s forests.

Available in print and online, the new publication incorporates Audubon’s research findings and outreach and technical assistance efforts to improve habitat for birds in New York as well as forests throughout the eastern U.S. as part of the Healthy Forests Initiative.

The Healthy Forests Initiative, part of Audubon’s national Working Lands conservation strategy, connects Audubon with foresters and forest owners to provide information and assistance to improve forest habitat for birds in need of conservation and to help create healthy forested landscapes that meet other societal needs, including carbon sequestration, watershed protection, flood control, forest products, and recreation.

“Through the Healthy Forests initiative, we’re trying to help make our working forests work for birds as well as for people,” said Mike Burger, Audubon New York’s Director of Conservation and Science. “Forests managed in accordance with this new guide will do a better job supporting our birds, and at that same time, a better job sustaining the many benefits forests provide to the people of New York, such as clean air and water, outdoor recreational opportunities, and forest-related jobs and products.”

About Audubon New York

A state program of the National Audubon Society, Audubon New York leads a network of 50,000 members, 27 local Audubon Chapters, seven sanctuaries and nature centers and thousands of annual visitors, volunteers, and partners throughout the state. Audubon achieves its mission to protect birds and their habitats by connecting our vast and powerful network along the migratory flyways of the Americas through science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation programs. Learn more at and on Twitter at @AudubonNY