Habitat selection is a hierarchical process that proceeds from broad to fine spatial scales. Failure to account for spatial scale in studies of habitat selection may result in an incomplete understanding of key habitat characteristics. For juvenile songbirds, postfledging habitat may be important for migratory preparation and survival; however, there is currently little information regarding habitat associations during this period. We used radiotelemetry to investigate habitat associations at fine and broad spatial scales in juvenile Yellow-rumped Warblers (Dendroica coronata) and Blackpoll Warblers (D. striata) in a managed boreal forest in northwestern Newfoundland. At the local scale, both species were associated with locations characterized by dense vegetative cover, and Blackpoll Warblers were also associated with locations characterized by high amounts of coarse woody debris. At broader extents, Yellow-rumped Warblers were associated with patches situated downslope of their previous location, as well as patches surrounded by low amounts of clearcut land cover at the 115-m scale and patches with high foliage density during 2006. Unlike Yellow-rumped Warblers, Blackpoll Warblers were more likely to be observed in patches surrounded by high amounts of clearcut land cover at the 115-m scale and were sensitive to clearcut land cover at the 1,250-m scale. Our results demonstrate the importance of spatial scale in studies of habitat association; given interspecific differences in response to clearcut land cover, they also suggest that a general management strategy for songbirds with respect to clearcut land cover in the boreal forest may remain elusive.
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Vol. 127 • No. 2