Alberta Map
Alberta Map

Introduction

Over its decade-plus of operations, the ABMI has generated a comprehensive dataset on Alberta’s species, their habitats, and the extent and type of human footprint across the province. With this information, the ABMI has developed analyses to predict species' relative abundances and examine species' responses to vegetation and soil types, as well as human footprint in Alberta. These methods have been applied to hundreds of species; this profile provides summary results for one.

Habitat & Human Footprint Associations

In northern Alberta, the Black-capped Chickadee prefers stands with deciduous trees; in southern Alberta, it is likely to be found in wooded coulees and valleys as well as urban and rural areas. Old or dead decidous trees with softer wood are essential for cavity nest excavation.

Species-habitat Associations in the Forested Region

Forested Region - Species Habitat Association Graph: Predicted species relative abundance (bars) as a function of vegetation and human footprint type in the forested region. Dots are added to forest types where harvesting occurs and show the predicted species abundance in cutblocks of various ages. Vertical lines represent 90% confidence intervals.

  • Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance is highest in deciduous and mixedwood forest stands, followed by rough pasture and tame pasture human footprint types; it is generally common across all upland forest types.
  • In general, Black-capped Chickadee show a preference for mid-aged forest stands.
  • Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance is similar in harvested stands compared to naturally-disturbed stands of the same age.

Species-habitat Associations in the Prairie Region

Non-Treed Sites in the Prairie Region

Non-Treed Sites in the Prairie Region

Treed Sites in the Prairie Region

Treed Sites in the Prairie Region

Prairie Region - Species Habitat Association Graph: Predicted species relative abundance (bars) in each soil type and human footprint type in the prairie region. Vertical lines indicate 90% confidence intervals. The presence/absence of trees greatly affects the presence and abundance of many species; therefore, separate figures are presented for treed and non-treed sites in the prairie region.

  • Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance is greater at treed than at non-treed sites in the prairie region.
  • Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance is highest in sites with urban/industrial human footprint, followed by clay or productive soil types in the prairie region.

Relationship to Linear Footprint


Relationship to Linear Footprint in the Forested Region



Linear Footprint Graph: Species relative abundance predicted for habitat with no human footprint compared to habitat in which 10% of the area is converted to either soft or hard linear footprint.

  • Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance is predicted to have a slight positive relationship with soft linear footprint and hard linear footprint in the forested region.

Relationship to Linear Footprint in the Prairie Region



Linear Footprint Graph: Species relative abundance predicted for habitat with no human footprint compared to habitat in which 10% of the area is converted to either soft or hard linear footprint.

  • Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance is predicted to have a slight positive relationship with soft and hard linear footprint in the prairie region.

Impacts of Human Footprint

The Black-capped Chickadee is generally tolerant of human footprint; it is commonly observed in human-affected areas such as urban areas. It is also attracted to forest edge; however, forestry practices that eliminate preferred nesting locations such as old or dead deciduous trees or that result in excessive fragmentation can negatively affect nesting and winter travel.

Human Footprint Effects in the Forested Region

Under-footprint Sector Effects

Human Footprint Effects in the Forested Region

Figure: Under-footprint Effects. Percentage change in Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance inside areas that have been disturbed by each sector in the forested region. Dot above bar indicates change in abundance is greater than 100%. Refer to value above or below the bar for the estimated under-footprint effect.

To understand how the Black-capped Chickadee is impacted by specific development activities, the under-footprint figure shows how Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance is predicted to change within each sector's footprint compared to the habitat it replaced (Figure: Under-footprint Effects).

  • Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance is predicted to be lower than expected in all human footprint categories, except rural/urban, compared to the habitat each footprint replaces in the forested region.

Regional Sector Effects

Human Footprint Effects in the Prairie Region

Figure: Regional Sector Effects. Percentage change in Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance throughout the forested region due to the respective footprints of each sector. Refer to value above or below the bar for the estimated regional effect.

The Regional Sector Effects graph shows the predicted change in the total relative abundance of the Black-capped Chickadee across the forested region due to each sector's footprint, considering the: area of the footprint in the region, under-footprint effect, and habitat types impacted by a particular sector (Figure: Regional Sector Effects).

  • Total population effects on the Black-capped Chickadee were small for all industrial sectors in the forested region.

Human Footprint Effects in the Prairie Region

Under-footprint Sector Effects

Human Footprint Effects in the Prairie Region

Figure: Under-footprint Effects. Percentage change in Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance inside areas that have been disturbed by each sector in the prairie region. Dot above bar indicates change in abundance is greater than 100%. Refer to value above or below the bar for the estimated under-footprint effect.

To understand how the Black-capped Chickadee is impacted by specific development activities, the under-footprint figure shows how Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance is predicted to change within each sector's footprint compared to the habitat it replaced (Figure: Under-footprint Effects).

  • Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance is predicted to be lower than expected in all human footprint categories, except rural/urban, compared to the habitat each footprint replaces in the prairie region.

Regional Sector Effects

Human Footprint Effects in the Prairie Region

Figure: Regional Sector Effects. Percentage change in Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance throughout the prairie region due to the respective footprints of each sector. Refer to value above or below the bar for the estimated regional effect.

The Regional Sector Effects graph shows the predicted change in the total relative abundance of the Black-capped Chickadee across the prairie region due to each sector's footprint, considering the: area of the footprint in the region, under-footprint effect, and habitat types impacted by a particular sector (Figure: Regional Sector Effects).

  • Total population effects on the Black-capped Chickadee were small for all industrial sectors, except agriculture, in the prairie region, resulting in a predicted net decrease in relative abundance at the regional scale.
  • Agriculture has the strongest regional population effect on Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance because it is the largest sector in the prairie region.

Predicted Relative Abundance

The Black-capped Chickadee is commonly found in all of Alberta's natural regions and is most common in the Parkland, Foothills and Boreal Forest Natural Regions.

Reference Conditions

  • The reference condition shows the predicted relative abundance of the Black-capped Chickadee after all human footprint had been backfilled based on native vegetation in the surrounding area.

Current Conditions

  • The current condition is the predicted relative abundance of the Black-capped Chickadee taking current human footprint (circa 2012) into account.

Difference Conditions

  • Black-capped Chickadee relative abundance is predicted to be lower under current conditions compared to reference conditions throughout much of its range in Alberta, especially in parts of the Boreal Forest and Parkland Natural Regions.

References & Credits

References & Credits

Boreal Avian Modelling Project. 2016. Black-capped Chickadee. http://www.borealbirds.ca/avian_db/accounts.php/Poecile+atricapillus. Accessed July 7, 2016.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2016. All About Birds: Black-capped Chickadee. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black-capped_Chickadee . Accessed June 11, 2016.

Proppe, D.A., K.A. Byers, C.B. Sturdy, C.C. St. Clair. 2013.  Physical condition of Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) in relation to road disturbance. Journal of Zoology 91(11): 842-845.

Sibley, D. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds.  Chanticleer Press, New York, NY.

St. Clair, C.C., M. Bélisle, A. Desrochers, and S. Hannon. 1998. Winter responses of forest birds to habitat corridors and gaps. Conservation Ecology 2(2):13.

Data Sources

Information from ABMI bird point counts was combined with information from other organizations and individuals:

  • Environment Canada (North American Breeding Bird Survey and Joint Oil Sands Monitoring programs)
  • Ecological Monitoring Committee for the Lower Athabasca (EMCLA)
  • Dr. Erin Bayne (University of Alberta)

Photo Credits

Photos: TBD

Recommended Citation

Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute and Boreal Avian Modelling Project. 2019. Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus). ABMI Website: abmi.ca/home/data-analytics/biobrowser-home/species-profile?tsn=554382.

Additional ABMI Resources

Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. 2016. ABMI Species Website Manual, Version: 2016-12-02. Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, Alberta, Canada. Report available at: abmi.ca.

Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. 2014. Manual for Species Modeling and Intactness, Version 2014-09-25. Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, Alberta, Canada. Report available at: abmi.ca.

Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. 2014. Terrestrial field data collection protocols (abridged version) 2016-05-18. Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, Alberta, Canada. Report available at: abmi.ca.

Download ABMI Species and Habitat Data.

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