The black-capped chickadee (Parus atricapillus) Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) model provides a quantitative rating of the capability of a habitat to support breeding, based on measures related to food and nest site availability. The model assumption that tree canopy volume can be predicted from measures of tree height and canopy closure was tested using data from foliage volume studies conducted in the riparian cottonwood habitat along the South Platte River in Colorado. Least absolute deviations (LAD) regression showed that canopy cover and over story tree height yielded volume predictions significantly lower than volume estimated by more direct methods. Revisions to these model relations resulted in improved predictions of foliage volume. The relation between the HSI and estimates of black-capped chickadee population densities was examined using LAD regression for both the original model and the model with the foliage volume revisions. Residuals from these models were compared to residuals from both a zero slope model and an ideal model. The fit model for the original HSI differed significantly from the ideal model, whereas the fit model for the original HSI did not differ significantly from the ideal model. However, both the fit model for the original HSI and the fit model for the revised HSI did not differ significantly from a model with a zero slope. Although further testing of the revised model is needed, its use is recommended for more realistic estimates of tree canopy volume and habitat suitability.