A 10 500-Year Sequence of Bird Remains from the Southern Boreal Forest Region of Western Canada

Jonathan C. Driver, Keith A. Hobson


The prehistoric avian fauna from the Charlie Lake Cave site, Peace River District, British Columbia, spans the last 10,500 years and includes birds from eleven orders. Prior to about 10,000 B.P. the fauna is sparse and the most common species is Cliff Swallow (Hirundo pyrrhonota), which probably nested at the site. The avian fauna from 10,000 B.P. to the present is dominated by wetland associated birds (mainly grebes and ducks) of the same species found in the area today and is consistent with the establishment of boreal forest by 10,000 B.P. From about 8000 B.P. Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) occurs and appears to have been a regular component of the local fauna. The assemblages demonstrate rapid colonization of boreal environments by bird populations by 10,000 B.P. and probably indicate that the modern patterns of migration were established early in the Holocene.

Key words: British Columbia, fossil birds, Holocene, Passenger Pigeon


Animal distribution; Animal migration; Archaeology; Birds; Bones; Ducks; Geomorphology; Grebes; Palaeoecology; Palynology; Recent epoch; Stratigraphy; Taiga ecology; Peace River region, Alberta/British Columbia

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14430/arctic1379

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