Native Michigan Bird Rebounds, No Longer Endangered
The Kirtland's warbler is being removed from the federal endangered species list after a successful battle to save it from extinction.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday that the yellow-bellied songbird has recovered but will continue to rely on habitat preservation measures for long-term survival.
It nests in the young jack pines of northern Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario that must be logged and replanted on a regular basis to mimic wildfires that historically regenerated the forests. It overwinters in The Bahamas. Efforts also will continue to keep away brown-headed cowbirds that invade warbler nests. After falling to 167 pairs in 1987, the population is now about 2,300 pairs.
Bird enthusiasts from around the world travel to northern Michigan in hopes of catching sight of a Kirtland’s warbler, once poised on the brink of extinction. Now the species is thriving thanks to decades of effort by a diverse group of dedicated partners.
The sale of jack pine timber on sites where reforestation will occur is critical to managing Kirtland’s warbler breeding habitat. Timber receipts offset the cost of replanting jack pine needed to support a viable population of nesting Kirtland’s warblers that would not otherwise be feasible through conservation dollars, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Kirtland’s warblers were among the first animals in the United States identified as being at risk of extinction.