Taiga Shield & Hudson Plains

 

 


This BCR includes the Hudson Plains-the largest extensive area of wetlands in the world-and extends east and west onto the Canadian Shield. The subarctic climate is characterized by relatively short, cool summers with prolonged periods of daylight and long, very cold winters. The poorly drained areas of the Hudson Plains support dense sedge-moss-lichen covers, with open wood lands of black spruce and tamarack in better-drained sites. Coastal marshes and extensive tidal flats are present along the coastline. The Canadian Shield is characterized in upland sites and along rivers by open, mixed-wood forests of white spruce, balsam fir, trembling aspen, balsam poplar, and white birch. Further north, approaching the limit of tree growth, stunted black spruce and jack pine dominate, accompanied by alder, willow, and tamarack in the fens and bogs. Thousands of lakes and wetlands occur in glacially carved depressions, and peat-covered lowlands are commonly waterlogged or wet for prolonged periods due to discontinuous but widespread permafrost. The abundance of water provides an important habitat for breeding waterfowl. Representative bird include Black Scoter, Whimbrel, Rock and Willow Ptarmigan, Gray-cheeked Thrush, American Tree Sparrow, Short-billed Dowitcher, Common Redpoll, Harris's Sparrow, Northern Shrike, Blackpoll Warbler, Fox Sparrow, and Rough-legged Hawk. The coasts of Hudson and James Bay provide critical shorebird staging habitat, funneling millions of birds southwards during fall migration.