Habitat selection by Common Nighthawks in Canada’s boreal forest

The boreal forest is an essential breeding ground for hundreds of North America’s bird species, yet it is poorly studied. Many of these birds are rapidly declining, including a group of birds called the aerial insectivores. These birds are not necessarily related to each other, but instead they share a behaviour: they all catch insects in the air. No one knows just why they are declining, but they are disappearing faster than any other bird group in North America. Their shared feeding behaviour suggests that it is related to changes in insect populations. Unfortunately, it is difficult to test this theory because little is known about many of these birds, including how they respond to changes in their habitat. One of these aerial insectivores is called the Common Nighthawk. It eats insects in evening and early in the morning, and then sits on the ground during the day, hidden by its exceptional camouflage. These birds are so hard to find that little is known about them, except that there are fewer now than there have been historically. They are found all over North America, including boreal forest in northern Canada, but there has been no research in the boreal forest.

Faculty Supervisor:

Mark Brigham


Gabriel Foley


Goldcorp Inc.




Environmental industry


University of Regina



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