Northern Forest Birds Network

Bird conservation in the northern forests of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin has received increasing attention in the last decade in response to a great need for improved coordination of monitoring and other conservation activities for northern forest birds across the boreal hardwood transition zone (Bird Conservation Region 12).

The Northern Forest Birds Network formed in 2013 and has since made steady progress towards identifying a shared vision, translating that vision into clear goals, engaging a robust network of partners, and expanding its focus from coordinated monitoring and data management to also integrating science-based needs of forest birds with land management activities.

In 2018, the Network transitioned from operating within the Midwest Coordinated Bird Monitoring Partnership to serving within the Upper Mississippi and Great Lakes Joint Venture partnership.

Vision: Our leadership and guidance in monitoring, research, and management actions ensure thriving, diverse northern forest bird communities across the U.S. portion of Bird Conservation Region 12.


Canada Warblers can often be seen hopping between understory trees while cocking their tails and flipping their wings.


  • Northern forest bird conservation and research organizations actively share information about the biology, ecology, and status of northern forest birds.
  • Northern forest bird conservation organizations coordinate and collaborate to ensure that the conservation needs of northern forest birds are addressed.
  • The best available science is used to assess the status and productivity of northern forest birds.
  • Monitoring and research data are used to inform and evaluate management practices, which are used to deliver conservation actions that benefit northern forest birds.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee serves as an advisory body by providing guidance, leadership, support, and oversight to the Northern Forest Birds Network. It ensures that the Network’s projects and ideas align with its original vision and goal statements and ultimately benefit northern forest birds in Bird Conservation Region 12.

Committee Members

  • Ryan Brady, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI)
  • Peter Dieser, American Bird Conservancy (MN)
  • Dave Fehringer, Eastwood Forests, LLC (MI)
  • Andrew Forbes, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (MN)
  • Ted Gostomski, U.S. National Park Service (WI)
  • Alexis Grinde, Natural Resources Research Institute (MN)
  • Michael Lynch, Forest Stewards Guild (MN)
  • Michael Paling, American Bird Conservancy (MI)
  • Dave Grosshuesch, U.S. Forest Service (MN)

Questions or comments?

Jayme Strange

Northern Forests Conservation Delivery Network Coordinator

Download Committee Charter

Northern Forest Birds Network

“Our leadership and guidance in monitoring, research, and management actions ensure thriving, diverse northern forest bird communities across the U.S. portion of Bird Conservation Region 12.”


Any line of work calls for prioritizing limited resources where they are needed most. In the bird conservation world, that often means focusing effort on certain species and habitats or incorporating best management practices for these targets into projects with other primary goals. At our 2018 workshop, attendees expressed desire for a consolidated list of forest bird species that conservationists, land managers, and foresters could rally around for planning efforts or conducting on-the-ground activities. To meet that need, the Northern Forest Bird Network steering committee is pleased to announce the Priority Forest Bird Species-Habitat Matrix.

The Priority Forest Bird Species-Habitat Matrix identifies as conservation targets both common and uncommon species that are emblematic of the avian community in Bird Conservation Region 12 (BCR 12). Although the U.S. portion of BCR 12 lies at the southern edge of the breeding range for most of these species, they are good indicators of forest health, and their populations are generally declining in our region. We recognize that some or even many practitioners approach their work from a habitat perspective, so this matrix identifies the habitat needs of the target species (i.e., what’s necessary and ideal). We hope these features provide necessary and useful guidance.

Priority Forest Bird Species-Habitat Matrix
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2023 Conference Proceedings and Presentations

On October 17-18, 2023, over 60 individuals from 27 different organizations joined together in Ashland, Wisconsin, to discuss best management practices (BMPs) for forest bird habitats, and climate change considerations for forest bird conservation. A conference summary can be found on our news page.

Throughout the conference, questions from the audience led to insightful discussions, especially during panel question and answer sessions featuring all the day’s presenters. The PowerPoints that were presented at the conference are linked below.

2023 Conference Summary
NFBN Conference Attendees

Attendees in Ashland, WI discussing climate change adaptations at the “Forestry for Birds in a Changing Climate” conference.

2018 Workshop Proceedings and Presentations

In April 2018, we organized a workshop to achieve the following objectives: 1) re-engage and provide updates to the broader Working Group community, 2) kick-start several projects, and 3) provide training on the Midwest Avian Data Center. Over 50 participants representing 20 organizations attended the event in Ashland, Wisconsin. Individual presentations and a comprehensive summary of this workshop are available for download below:

Kirtland’s Warbler is a migratory songbird that nests exclusively in young jack pine forests in northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario, and winters in dense scrub in the Bahamas.

News from the Northern Forest

Link to all past Northern Forest news posts

Northern Forest Birds Network 2023 Conference

August 15th, 2023|

The Northern Forest Birds Network is a collaborative conservation partnership supported by the Upper Mississippi / Great Lakes Joint Venture that works cooperatively across Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, primarily in Bird Conservation Region (BCR) [...]

New Forestry for Michigan Birds Toolkit Now Available

August 24th, 2022|

Over three years ago, a group of natural resource professionals started working on an initiative titled Forestry for Michigan Birds. These professionals were interested in improving the knowledge of landowners and other natural resources professionals on the topic of bird habitat and forest management.

Updates from the Kirtland’s Warbler Conservation Team

May 19th, 2022|

Get updates from the Kirtland’s Warbler Conservation Team, including news about the Kirtland's Warbler Census 2021, the Michigan 2022 Wildlife Habitat License Plate, and information about the Kirtland's Warbler Weekend, June 3-4, 2022.

Unlocking the Mysteries of the Boreal Chickadee

April 19th, 2022|

Boreal Chickadees live in northern boreal coniferous forests. This species can be found in highest densities in Alaska and Canada, but the most southern portion of their range extends into the forested peatlands located in the northern section of Bird Conservation Region 12