Midwest Region Conserving the nature of America

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
in the Midwest

The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.
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Ecological Services

We work with public and private entities to conserve and restore Michigan's endangered species, migratory birds, wetlands, and other important fish and wildlife resources.


Kirtland's Warbler Tours in Michigan


Singing male Kirtland's warbler on jack pine limb.

Photo by USFWS; Joel Trick


Bird watchers can observe the endangered Kirtland’s warbler and view nesting areas in Michigan. The U.S. Forest Service, and Michigan Audubon Society lead guided tours. Guided tours represent the best opportunity to view this endangered songbird.



The U.S. Forest Service also has information on their guided tours.


Kirtland's Warbler

Status: Proposed for Delisting


The Kirtland's warbler, an endangered songbird, nests in young jack pine stands in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Canada. Michigan is the core of its breeding habitat. After nesting and rearing its young, this warbler migrates to wintering grounds in the Bahamas.


Proposal to Delist

After decades of partnership efforts, this songbird has rebounded, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed removing the Kirtland's warbler from the list of endangered and threatened species.


News Release

Learn more »


Listen to a podcast!

Find out about the Kirtland's warbler from Field Office biologists Dan Elbert, Chris Mensing and Christie Deloria.


Audio Clip




Kirtland's Warbler Recovery

Banner Year for Kirtland’s Warblers - Watch a Slideshow!


Under natural conditions, Kirtland's warbler nesting habitat is produced by fire. Fire has always occurred in forests and jack pine trees are dependent on fire. Heat from fire is needed to open their cones to release seeds. Fire also removes plants that compete with jack pines for forest space and creates a bed of ash that helps the new seeds grow. Fires before the 20th century were more widespread in the jack pine plains of Michigan and created large nesting areas for the Kirtland's warbler. Modern habitat management is aimed at mimicking post-fire conditions.


Prescribed fire, clearcutting, replanting, and cowbird control are some of the measures taken to restore Kirtland's warblers and their habitat. We work with the U.S. Forest Service, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and other partners to recover and conserve Kirtland's warblers.


Securing a Future for the Bird of Fire


US Forest Service employee starting a prescribed burn with a drip torch.

Photo by U.S. Forest Service


The blackened, smoldering terrain that is left after a wildfire is often viewed as a significant environmental loss. But from an ecological perspective, fire often provides a transforming rebirth. This is especially true for the jack pine forests of the northern lower peninsula of Michigan that are home to the federally endangered Kirtland's warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii).








Kirtland's Warbler Life History

Jack pine trees in Kirtland's warbler nesting areas must be just the right height (about 5 to 16 feet tall) and the trees must be spaced to let sunlight through to the ground. Kirtland's warblers build their nests on the ground. Sunlight helps keep lower tree branches alive and bushy, hiding the nest beneath them. When the trees grow larger their upper branches block the sun, causing the lower branches to die. Grasses and other plants also become less dense. The warblers then must find another nesting area.


After nesting and raising their young, Kirtland's warblers migrate to the Bahamas where they winter in scrub thickets.

Kirtland's Warbler Images in Flickr










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