Boreal forests are characterized by
needleleaf, evergreen, coniferous trees,
particularly species of spruce, fir, and pine.
Frequently, there are also deciduous broadleaf
trees, such as birches, poplars, and alders.
In the eastern and central parts of the United States, balsam fir and jack pine are common trees. In Maine, red spruce replaces white spruce and is associated with balsam fir and paper birch. In the southern Appalachians, red spruce, Fraser fir, and yellow birch are the characteristic trees.
Bogs also exist in the forests where there are aquatic plants and these bogs are normally covered with sphagnum moss, ferns and shrubs such as willows and blueberries. Blueberry and other fruit-producing shrubs are also found, as are herbs, grasses, sedges, orchids, paintbrushes, and asters.
Birding in the boreal forest is difficult due to the dense nature of the forest. Goshawks, Spruce Grouse, Gray Jay, White-throated Sparrow and crossbills make their homes in Boreal forests. The height of the summer breeding season is in June when it is also the peak of the insect season.
Preferred Boreal Trees
|Bay-breasted Warbler||Nest on horizontal branch. 5-25' from ground.||Balsam Fir, Spruces, White Pine, Birch, Aspen|
|Black-backed Three-toed Woodpecker||Nest in cavity of dead wood anywhere from 2-15' from ground.||Spruce, Lodgepole Pine, Birch|
|Black-capped Chickadee||Nest in cavity of decayed birch or pine and 4-10' from ground.||Balsam Fir, White Cedar, Birch|
|Black-throated Blue Warbler||Nest in small evergreen from 1-3' from ground.||Birch, Spruce|
|Blackburnian Warbler||Nest in conifer concealed with Usnea lichen. 5-80' from ground.||White Pine, Balsam Fir, Spruce|
|Blackpoll Warbler||Nest in small tree (1-10' from ground). Uses spruce shoots and Usnea lichen in nest.||Red & Black Spruce, Balsam Fir, Poplars|
|Brown Creeper||Nest concealed behind loose bark or in crevice. 5-15' from ground.||Spruces, Birch, Aspen|
|Canada Warbler||Nest on or near ground in roots of fallen tree concealed by overhanging plants.||White Pine, Balsam Fir, White Cedar|
|Cape May Warbler||Nest high (30-60') in spruce.||Black & White Spruce, Balsam Fir, White Cedar|
|Dark-eyed Junco||Nest on ground in hollow among tree roots.||Spruces, Cedars|
|Evening Grosbeak||Nest toward end of conifer branch concealed with foliage. 20-65' from ground.||Spruces, Firs, Birches, Poplars|
|Fox Sparrow||Nest on ground in shrubs or thickets.||Small Spruces|
|Great Gray Owl||Nest on top of tree trunks.||Spruces|
|Great Horned Owl||Nest in natural cavity of tree.||Spruces|
|Hermit Thrush||Nest in small depression of conifer on ground concealed by vegetation.||Spruces, Firs|
|Northern Goshawk||Nest in tree anywhere from 60-75' from ground.||Birches, Beech, Spruces, Firs|
|Ovenbird||Nest on ground in small hollow with side entrance; concealed by vegetation.||Jack Pine, Spruces, Firs, Aspen|
|Pine Grosbeak||Nest located low (2-10' from ground) in birch or conifer.||Cedars, Birches, Firs, Spruces, Poplars|
|Pine Siskin||Nest in conifer out on a branch anywhere from 3-45' from ground.||Spruces, Alder, Birches|
|Red-breasted Nuthatch||Nest in natural cavity of deciduous or coniferous tree anywhere from 10-20' from ground.||Balsam Fir, Spruces|
|Red Crossbill||Nest on edge of branch and concealed by twigs and foliage.||Cedars, Spruces, Poplars, Firs|
|Ruby-crowned Kinglet||Nest suspended from coniferous tree anywhere from 5-80' from ground.||Spruces, Firs|
|Ruffed Grouse||Nest on ground at base of bushes or trees.||(Food: leaves of Poplar, Birch, Spruce)|
|Spruce Grouse||Nest on ground under branches of conifer and well concealed.||(Food: needles of Spruce, Jack Pine, Firs)|
|Swainson's Thrush||Nest close to trunk (2-8' from ground) of small conifer or shrub well concealed.||Spurces, Balsam Fir|
|Tennessee Warbler||Nest on ground in hollow and concealed by vegetation.||Black Spruce, Balsam Fir|
|White-winged Crossbill||Nest built on branches of conifer anywhere from 10-50' from ground.||Spruces, Firs, Birches|
|Winter Wren||Nest built in cavity or hole on side of tree anywhere from ground level to 12' up.||Spruces, Firs, Red Cedar|
|Yellow-bellied Sapsucker||Nest in gourd-shaped cavity in tree anywhere from 10-45' from ground.||Aspen, Birch, Balsam Fir|