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E-M:/ Fwd: DNR: Kirtland's Warblers Population Highest Ever Recorded

Enviro-Mich message from "Jack, Rita" <ritaj@umflint.edu>

-----Original Message-----
From: Julee Hasbany [mailto:hasbanyj@STATE.MI.US]
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 10:18 AM

CONTACTS:  Jerry Weinrich, 517-275-5151
Pat Lederle, 517-373-1263


LANSING--The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service today 
announced Michigan's 2001 Kirtland's warbler count recorded 
1,085 singing males, the highest count since the first 
census was taken in 1951.  
The 2001 count represents an increase of nearly 200 singing 
males over last year's count of 891. State and federal 
officials called the count a significant milestone toward 
the recovery of this federally-endangered species.
"This is a tremendous achievement," stated Mike Decapita, 
USFWS biologist. "It wasn't that long ago in 1987 that we 
had a low population count of only 167 singing males." The 
lowest numbers were counted in 1974 and 1987, when only 167 
singing males were found.
The census has been performed annually since 1971.  The 
birds are counted by biologists, researchers and volunteers 
on state, federal and private lands by listening for their 
songs. The songs can be heard more than one-quarter mile 
away, providing an accurate method to census the birds with 
minimum disturbance.  Since only males sing, the minimum 
breeding population (males & females) is calculated as twice 
the count of singing males. 
"The Kirtland's warbler management program represents the 
best of scientific wildlife management 
at work," said Pat Lederle, Endangered Species Program 
Coordinator for the DNR. "The cooperation among DNR 
biologists and foresters, U.S. Forest Service, Fish and 
Wildlife Service and the Department of Military Affairs in 
managing the jack pine barrens for warblers' nesting habitat 
is outstanding."
In addition to providing warbler habitat and forest 
products, the jack pine system provides valuable habitat for 
a variety of plant species, songbirds and game animals.
Maintaining the jack pine barrens is essential because 
Kirtland's warbler numbers are directly related to the 
amount of available nesting habitat.  The Kirtland's warbler 
nests have been found only in jack pine stands located in 
northern Michigan.  The warbler is a ground nester and 
selects stands of trees about 4 to 20 years old with live 
branches that extend to the ground.  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.
To mimic the affects of wildfire, state and federal wildlife 
biologists and foresters now conduct a combination of 
clearcutting, burning, seeding and replanting on about 
150,000 acres.  Only through continuation of these 
activities can the bird's survival into the future be 
ensured.  At least 1,500 acres of jack pine trees were 
seeded on state and federal lands this spring, and 1,000 
additional acres will be planted this fall.  These new 
plantations will provide habitat for warblers in six to 10 
The number of singing males found in 9 northern Lower 
Peninsula counties were: Alcona 132, Clare 11, Crawford 266, 
Iosco 50, Kalkaska 20, Ogemaw 385, Oscoda 190, Otsego 9, and 
Roscommon 14.  A total of 8 singing males were found in 
three Upper Peninsula counties: Delta 4, Marquette 2 and 
Schoolcraft 2.  Females were observed with the males, 
indicating continuing nesting activity in the Upper 
Peninsula.  The production of young has been confirmed in 
the Upper Peninsula each year since 1996.  No singing males 
have been reported this year in Wisconsin or Ontario.
For more information on the Kirtland's warbler, contact the 
Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Bureau, 
Natural Heritage Program, Box 30180, Lansing, MI 48909-7680.


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