Ed Golson Outdoor Education

Kirtland's Warbler

Scientific Name: Dendroica kirtlandii

Description:  These birds are known as the one of the world's rarest birds.  They are gray and sometimes even brown with a streaked back and yellow breast.  The warbler's call sounds like chip-chip-chip tew-tew-weet-weet and only the male sings.  Their call is so loud it can be heard from a half mile away. During the winter these birds migrate and about 70% of them return to the breeding ground of the previous year. 

Habitat:  These birds only live in areas where the jack pine grows. Many build nests in the base of this pine tree that are 5-20 feet tall.  Michigan's lower peninsula has jack pines growing near the Au Sable region. These trees will not grow without a forest fire to open their cones. Since fires are more controlled, the population of these trees has decreased.                     

As a result, the habitat available to the Kirtland's warbler has also decreased. Another reason for endangerment is interference from the cowbird . The cowbird breaks the warbler's eggs and replaces them with its own eggs. The warbler never realizes that the chicks they are raising are not their own.

Feeding:  These birds mainly eat insects.  They can also eat things like pine needles, grasses and blueberries. 

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