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Wisconsin Kirtland's Warbler Update

May 22, 2009

PDF Version


Female Arrival

The big news this week is the arrival of at least four female Kirtland’s warblers at the Adams county breeding site. Three females were first confirmed on Tuesday, at which time each were associating with a different male. On Friday, a fourth female was also confirmed to be present.


Female Kirtland's warbler.

This photo from 2008 shows the pale plumage, fine streaking, and lack of a black face mask that characterizes a female Kirtland’s warbler.

Photo by USFWS; Joel Trick

As of the end of last week, at least five males were present at the Adams County site where nesting has occurred each of the past two years. This week saw the arrival of two additional males, including another one of our banded birds from last year. Incredibly, of the seven banded males present at the site in 2008, five have returned so far in 2009. As of today, we now have at least seven male and four female Kirtland’s warblers at the site.


Two of the females have been observed carrying nesting material. Our monitor Nick is giving the females plenty of personal space, so as not to disturb them during this critical period.


On Friday we also received new information on the single male Kirtland’s warbler that was observed last week in Marinette County. Our volunteer observer determined that the bird is in fact wearing color bands, but was unable to identify one of the colors. Although we do not yet know this bird’s identity, we do know that it is not the same one we banded at this site in 2008. We hope to learn more about this bird’s identity by early next week.


Cowbird trapping

USDA-Wildlife Services has had three cowbird traps in operation at the Adams county site since April 22. Wildlife Specialist Barry Benson reports that through May 22, a total of 223 cowbirds have been captured and removed from the site. He also reports that a persistent problem of weasel predation in one of the traps appears to have finally been solved, following the removal of no less than three weasels. To ensure maximum coverage of the nesting area, today Barry moved one of the cowbird traps closer to the area where most of the females are located.


Color Banding

As noted above, our banding efforts of last year have really paid off, as we have been able to document the return of at least 5 of the 7 color-banded birds from 2008 to the area where they were banded. Most of these males now have territories close to the same areas they occupied last year. We will soon be making an effort to capture the unbanded males that are at the site, perhaps as early as next week.


Joel A. Trick
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
2661 Scott Tower Drive
New Franken, WI 54229

Kim Grveles
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
101 S. Webster Street - ER/6
Madison, WI 53703





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Last updated: February 13, 2017