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Wisconsin Kirtland’s warblers have had an extremely successful nesting season in 2009, and have already surpassed the reproductive output of last year. As of today, at least five Adams County nests have fledged young, including two nests that each produced four young over the weekend. So far Nick has determined that the nests that have fledged contained a total of 19 young when checked just prior to the young leaving the nest. Another nest which is currently being incubated is expected to hatch within the next week or so. This nest is the renesting effort of a pair that had previously been parasitized by cowbirds. One nest that was expected to fledge soon was empty today, and the behavior of the adults suggests it may have been lost to predation. Nick has so far been unable to find the nest of one additional pair at the site, but will continue to search in the days ahead.
Male Kirtland’s warblers are known to be present at two separate sites in Marinette County, and each has previously been observed with a female. On Thursday, our volunteer monitor found a nest containing three eggs at one of these sites. Finding eggs at this late date suggests that this may be a renest after an early failure. If successful, this would be an important nesting record for Marinette County. We will continue to monitor this nest to determine its outcome.
We organized a second major banding effort last week, targeting the unbanded male that had appeared the week before, and any recently fledged Kirtland’s warblers we could capture. We successfully captured and banded the unbanded male, making him the 12th banded male in Wisconsin in 2009. We then turned our attention to capturing the fledglings present at the site, which proved to be an even more difficult task than we had hoped. However, our persistence paid off and we were able to capture and band three fledglings over a two day period. We are hopeful that one or more of these birds will survive and return to the site to breed next year.