The alder flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum) is an uncommon breeder in BCR 14 with the exception of Maine where it is more common. It is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in one or more states in BCR 14.

Habitat Needs

This species is basically a non-forest dweller. Its primary habitat is in alder swamps, along the edges of bogs, swamps, streams and ponds. Nesting habitat includes low dense shrubby areas and the shrub zones on the edges of wetland openings.

Food sources are primarily airborne insects.

Territory size ranges from 3 to 8 acres.

Habitat Management Practices

Create or maintain a mix of alder size-classes combined with shrubby openings near wetlands. An appropriate ratio is one opening per 8 acres of available habitat, provided across space and time.

When assessing properties for habitat potential, check the latest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wetlands inventory for forested wetlands and emergent shrub categories. Soil series include Biddeford, Borohemists, Bucksport, Burnham, Catden, Chocorua, Greenwood, Ipswich, Matunuck, Maybid, Meadowsedge, Medomak, Natchaug, Ossipee, Pawcatuck, Peacham, Pondicherry, Saco, Saco Variant, Scarboro, Scarboro very stony, Searsport, Timakwa, Vassalboro, Waskish, Westbrook, Whitman, Whitman cool, and Wonsqueak.  These soils are classified as Important Forest Soils Group IIB.

Management for alder flycatcher is carried out using non-commercial methods. When working in alder, select areas to treat that have mostly horizontal stems indicating maturity and a decline in structural quality. Openings should be ½ to 1½ acres. When treating alders with a machine, such as a brontosaurus or other similar machines, make sure that the ground is frozen solidly and leave 6-inch stubs behind. Cutting alder flush to the ground disturbs the root system reducing sprouting, while cutting higher up seems to result in more regeneration. Entry periods should be every 10 years.

Silvicultural Practices

Manage red maple, hardwood or mixed wood stands adjacent to alder swamps or shrubby wetlands using group selection where the resulting regeneration can double as shrubby openings. Apply this management according to any existing wetland protection regulations.

Additional Information