Michigan bird may be taken off endangered list
… will there be any point to looking for the Kirtland’s warbler to add to my life list, now that there are so many of them that they might come off the federal endangered species list?
Um… well, yes, of course. 🙂
The Kirtland’s warbler population was counted at a mere 167 singing males in the 1980s, but according to the Mining Journal article the number of singers is over 1,800—double that to add in the non-singing females, plus whatever young’uns come along. They breed in scrubby jack pine woods that have been recently burned (talk about a niche); the trees get too tall and the birds don’t do so well. Fires no longer occur where they naturally did as the human population in the north has grown, though I’m guessing that they’ve found a way to allow some forest fires to do their work nowadays. In the 1970s and 80s, their range was pretty much restricted to a few counties in northern lower Michigan, but in recent years they’ve been found in the Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin, and Ontario.
The increase is due in no small part to the work of a number of conservationists working to protect their breeding environment and restrict brown-headed cowbirds, who are known to lay eggs in the nests of other birds. Maybe the conservationists should turn their efforts to the ivory-billed woodpecker now. Talk about a challenge….