Monday, June 25, 2012

Catching a Kirtland's

Earlier this month I was visiting family in northern Michigan and had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a Kirtland's warbler habitat tour offered by the Michigan Audubon near Grayling. This was a unique chance to go into protected jack pine habitat favored by these precocious and particular birds, and I wasn't about to pass it up.

Good thing, too; it was a fabulous viewing opportunity and our group of about a dozen birders saw not one, not two, but at least half a dozen of these endangered warblers. They prefer the young growth of this forest, and monitored lumber harvest in the area ensures an ongoing available range of young trees for the birds to use. Ironically, most of the Kirtland's warblers we saw were not perched in the jack pines, but were taking advantage of scattered deciduous trees that were taller and offered better views for their territorial defense. That worked to birders' benefit as well, and we were treated to unobstructed, clear views of boldly singing birds. I was struck by the intense volume of their song and their overall size, hefty for a warbler, that made the viewing all the better to see markings and colors.

It is always a treat to see a new lifer, better still when a bird is as endangered and has as restricted of a range as this beautiful warbler.


Sunni Wilkinson said...

Is this little yellow-breasted bird a warbler then? I live in Ogden and found one dead on my front porch after it had flown into our front door's pane of glass. It was beautiful, and looked a lot like this.

Melissa said...

This particular warbler would never be found in Utah, but yes, a lot of warblers have a lot of yellow and similar markings.