Availability of food resources is an important factor in avian habitat selection. Food resources for terrestrial birds often are closely related to vegetation structure and composition. Identification of plant species important in supporting food resources may facilitate vegetation management to achieve objectives for providing bird habitat. We used fecal analysis to describe the diet of adult Wilson's Warblers (Wilsonia pusilla) that foraged in the understory of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forests in western Oregon during the breeding season. We sampled arthropods at the same sites where diet data were collected, and compared abundance and biomass of prey among seven common shrub species. Wilson's Warblers ate more caterpillars (Lepidoptera larvae), flies (Diptera), beetles (Coleoptera), and Homoptera than expected based on availability. Deciduous shrubs supported higher abundances of arthropod taxa and size classes used as prey by Wilson's Warblers than did evergreen shrubs. The development and maintenance of deciduous understory vegetation in conifer forests of the Pacific Northwest may be fundamental for conservation of food webs that support breeding Wilson's Warblers and other shrub-associated, insectivorous songbirds.
Additional publication details
Diet of Wilson's warblers and distribution of arthropod prey in the understory of Douglas-fir forests