The yellow-breasted chat (Icteria virens) is a rare, local and erratic breeder in the southern part only of BCR 14. It prefers dense shrubs and vines with no overtopping trees, often near water. Chat populations are declining as more open land reverts to forest. It is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in one or more states in BCR 14.

Habitat Needs

This bird requires extensive open areas of dense shrubby habitat preferably along streams for breeding habitat. It will also use forest edges, hedgerows and extensive areas of regenerating hardwood forest.

Its territory ranges from 1 to 3 acres.

Habitat Management Practices

Maintain reverting agricultural land in a shrubby condition in large blocks of 25 acres or more. Larger clearcuts in the northern hardwood type will provide temporary habitat until the stand reaches the sapling and pole stages. These openings are ideally located near a stream or water body. This is a riparian species. See suggested riparian management guidelines under Non-Forest Palustrine riparian type.

When assessing properties for habitat potential, look for soils that will produce hardwood such as Marlow, Paxton, Becket, Bernardston, Canterbury, Henniker, Montauk, or Plaisted. Recently abandoned agricultural areas may provide other opportunities.

Silvicultural Practices

  • Large clearcuts in northern hardwood stands near streams.
  • In existing brushy openings, use prescribed fire or brush-hogging to maintain the brushy conditions.

Additional Information