Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New Kirtland’s Warbler Sighting in Wisconsin

. . . Federally endangered species reported in third WI county (Bayfield County) this breeding season (2008)

. . . To find the following article online as of 7/8/08, go to:

Nicolet National Forest
Wisconsin State Journal Reporter

A pair of Kirtland's warblers, one of the rarest North American birds, has been spotted for the first time in northern Wisconsin, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed last week.

"It's been a little more than 70 years since we've seen any presence of this particular bird," said Anthony Erba, deputy forest supervisor at Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Bayfield County, where the birds were seen. "When you come across something that unexpected ... it's like, 'Whoa, there it is.' "

The Kirtland's warbler has been on the list of federally endangered species since 1967, and was only known to nest in Michigan until last year, when about eight males were spotted in southcentral Wisconsin and two in Canada.

Conservation efforts in Michigan have raised the population of the warblers, which are now expanding outward, said Kim Grveles, assistant ornithologist at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Bureau of Endangered Resources.

About 1,697 males were reported in Michigan in 2007, Grveles said, an increase of about 200 from 2006.

The population increase is mostly credited to efforts from Michigan's Kirtland's Warbler Recovery Team, a 40-year-old partnership between private groups and state agencies to manage jack pine, the birds' preferred habitat, for the expansion and nesting of the species in the state, Grveles said.

"Even though we have habitat — and high-quality habitat — for the bird, we just didn't have much confidence that the bird would make that much of a jump to northern Wisconsin," Erba said. "But now we have confirmed presence of this bird in Wisconsin, and that's very exciting for us."

"We started last year doing formal surveys, because we knew that with a population growing like that, they would start dispersing," said Scott Posner, a wildlife biologist at Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest's Washburn Ranger District.

Now that warblers have been confirmed in the region, the next step is to survey the area during the next breeding season to see if the migrating birds are coming back, and then ensure there is suitable habitat for them to breed in the forest, Posner said.

"After that, we will continue monitoring to see what's needed for them," Posner added.

The DNR is talking with land managers about possible management options to encourage the species to come to Wisconsin to breed, Grveles said.

Wisconsin has one of the best opportunities in the Midwest for these birds to increase its population, she added.


Anonymous said...

I saw a Kirtland's in 1989 in WI, but I did not report it.

Lois W.

Anonymous said...

Plant jackpines in sandy areas throughout Wisc? Do you think that would attract more Kirtland's?

Lois W.

Anonymous said...

How do I find out if KIWA was nesting in Ontario this breeding season like 2007?

Joe B.B.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post. Thanks.