June 3, 2014
Michigan Senator Carl Levin got an up-close look at Kirtland’s warbler habitat – and even spotted one of the endangered birds – during a tour with staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s East Lansing, Michigan, Field Office. Joining the senator were representatives from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Huron Pines, both important partners, along with the U.S. Forest Service, in the effort to recover this endangered species. On hand from East Lansing were field supervisor Scott Hicks, assistant field supervisor, Jack Dingledine and Chris Mensing, the Kirtland’s warbler recovery coordinator.
Jack described the visit:
It was a grand day. The weather was perfect. We arrived at a stand of young jack pine in the afternoon and Chris provided a great narrative of the bird and our program. Scott gave an update on where we are in recovery, the value of partnerships in this effort and our recent initiative.
Upon arrival things were pretty quiet and we weren't sure the Senator would see a Kirtland's. We walked a ways, talking more about the program. Then we heard a male sing. In another moment, a male appeared in a tree right next to the two-track we were standing on...and there he was in plain sight for all to see. A great success!
Only 170 pairs of Kirtland’s warblers survived in northern Lower Michigan in 1971. Thanks to protections of the Endangered Species Act and dedicated efforts of federal, state and local agencies and conservation groups, nesting pair numbers in Michigan and Wisconsin topped 2,000 in 2012.
See more photos of Kirtland’s warblers, listen to a podcast and find out about the successful effort to save them from extinction.