After our latest tour to Michigan we have brought back some video and images of the Kirtland's Warbler.
North America's most endangered warbler the Kirtland's Warbler, breeds almost exclusively in the jack pine forests of Michigan. The warblers will only breed in young tree stands. In the wild natural forest fires would create these young stands of jack pine. However fires put people and property at risk and now the tree stands are created artificially by planting and controlled burns.
Under natural circumstances forest fires are a natural part of the jack pine life cycle. Only the intsense heat from the flames release the seeds from within the cones and thus like the phoenix the jack pine is born from flames.
Jack pine cone open from exposure to intense heat.
Large scale management of jack pine stands throughout the breeding territory has contributed to the birds breeding success. However, a larger concern is the Brown-Headed Cowbird a nest parasite whom deposit their eggs in the nests of the Kirtland's Warbler. Traps are being used to capture and control the Cowbird population as the trapped birds are euthanized. Reducing Cowbird populations near the Kirtland's Warbler nesting sites has significantly contributed to their current breeding success.
Cowbird traps with birds in the trap.
Birders from all over the world come to try and catch a glimpse of the Kirtland's Warbler on its breeding territory in Michigan. Tourism and bird watching programs allow visitors to view the birds with as little disturbance as possible.
Male Kirtland's Warbler sings on territory.