Description of Bird Conservation Region 4
The interplay of elevation, permafrost, surface water, fire, and aspect creates an extensive patchwork of ecological types. Forest habitat in the region is dominated by white spruce, black spruce, poplars, and paper birch. Tall shrub communities occur along rivers, drainages, and near treeline. Bogs, consisting of low shrubs and shrub-graminoid communities, are common in the lowlands. Alpine dwarf scrub communities are common throughout mountainous regions, and the highest elevations are generally devoid of vegetation. Lowlands, bottomlands, and flats harbor many species of migrating and breeding waterfowl (e.g., Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal) and swans. These and the forested lowlands and uplands support breeding shorebirds such as Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers, and Common Snipe. American Golden-Plovers and Surfbirds are found in alpine habitats in mountainous ecoregions. Western Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Short-billed Dowitcher, Hudsonian Godwit, and Dunlin use stopover sites along the coast that is also primary wintering habitat for Rock Sandpipers. The suite of passerines inhabiting upland communities in the region includes Boreal Chickadee, Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrush, White-crowned, American Tree, and Fox Sparrows, and Common Redpoll. At high elevations Horned Lark and Lapland Longspur are common breeders.
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