[CT Birds] Kirtland's recovery

Mntncougar at aol.com Mntncougar at aol.com
Tue Sep 30 11:24:17 EDT 2008

Though very extralimmital, this might be of interest to  some.  There is a 
large program connected to this recovery, which includes  drastic reduction of 
cowbird populations.
Sept. 29, 2008, Michigan

Contacts: Sherry  MacKinnon 517-373-1263 or Mary Dettloff 517-353-3014

Department of  Natural Resources officials today released annual 
survey information  indicating the state's population of the 
endangered Kirtland's warbler is  the highest number of birds recorded 
since monitoring began in 1951, with  1,791 singing males observed 
during this year's census.

The 2008  population exceeds the goal for de-listing that was set in 
the Kirtland's  Warbler Recovery Plan. The number of singing males 
biologists, researchers  and volunteers in Michigan observed 1,791 
singing males during the official  2008 survey period, up from 1,697 
males observed in 2007. The lowest numbers  were recorded in 1974 and 
1987, when only 167 singing males were  found.

The Kirtland's warbler survey is conducted each year over a 10-day  
period during the first two weeks of June, when the birds are  
establishing their nesting territories. Male warblers are detected by  
listening for their songs. The songs can be heard at distances up to  
one-quarter mile, providing an excellent way to detect the birds with  
minimum disturbance. 

The 2008 survey was a joint effort by the DNR,  U.S. Forest Service, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan Department of  Military 
Affairs and citizen volunteers. This year, singing males (numbers  in
parentheses) were found in 12 northern Lower Peninsula counties:  
Alcona (207), Clare (141), Crawford (288), Grand Traverse (2), Iosco  
(192), Kalkaska (10), Montmorency (11), Ogemaw (627), Oscoda (209),  
Otsego (40), Presque Isle (5), and Roscommon (25). Surveyors 
identified  34 singing males in five Upper Peninsula counties: 
Chippewa (12), Delta  (10), Luce (1), Marquette (6), and Schoolcraft 
(5). In the U.P., additional  effort is made to locate females and 
several were observed with the males,  indicating nesting activity.

For a second consecutive year, singing and  mated males were observed 
outside Michigan. Nine birds were heard in  Wisconsin and one male 
with a female was found in Ontario. Both of these  reports are of 
particular importance as they represent documented breeding  of 
Kirtland's warblers outside the known breeding population  stronghold.

Although Kirtland's warblers have begun to expand into new  areas, the 
core of the population remains dependent on northern Michigan's  jack 
pine barrens ecosystem for nesting habitat. The warblers nest on the  
ground and typically select nesting sites in stands of jack pine 
between  four and 20 years old. Historically, these stands of young 
jack pine were  created by natural wildfires that frequently swept 
through northern  Michigan. Modern fire suppression programs altered 
this natural process,  reducing Kirtland's warbler habitat. The result 
was that the population of  Kirtland's warblers declined to the point 
that they were listed as  endangered. 

To mimic the effects of wildfire and ensure the future of  this 
species, the DNR and its partners at the state and federal level  
manage the forests through a combination of clearcutting, burning,  
seeding and replanting to promote warbler habitat. Approximately 
3,000  acres of jack pine trees are planted or seeded annually on 
state and federal  lands, primarily for the purpose of providing 
habitat for Kirtland's  warblers.

"New habitats are continually developed to replace those that  become 
too old for Kirtland's warbler nesting," said acting DNR Endangered  
Species Coordinator Sherry MacKinnon. "Through continuing management, 
we  expect there to be sufficient habitat to support the warbler 
population  through the foreseeable future."

Elaine Carlson, DNR wildlife biologist,  emphasized how the habitat 
management program has produced benefits that  extend well beyond the 
recovery of a single species.

"In addition to  generating habitat for the Kirtland's warbler, the 
jack pine management  program provides valuable forest products as 
well as habitat for a variety  of plants, songbirds, game animals and 
other wildlife," Carlson  said.

For more information on the Kirtland's warbler, contact the DNR  
Wildlife Division, Natural Heritage Program, Box 30180, Lansing, MI  
48909, or visit the DNR Web site: www.michigan.48909, o

The DNR  is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use 
and enjoyment  of the state's natural resources for current and future  

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