MRN: Surveys Reveal At-Risk Songbird Population Declining | Dunn County News


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced today that it will work with partners to increase efforts to protect the endangered Connecticut Warbler in northwestern Wisconsin.

The Connecticut Warbler is on the list of species in greatest need of conservation in Wisconsin and on the Partners in Flight list of monitoring species of continental interest. Over the past half-century, Connecticut’s warblers have declined nearly 80% in Wisconsin and 60% throughout their range.

The species became one of the largest declining bird populations in Wisconsin in a comprehensive study of the Atlas II of Wisconsin breeding birds conducted from 2015 to 2019 to determine distribution, breeding status, and trends in bird species that breed in Wisconsin.

The Connecticut Warbler is a small, gray hooded bird with a bold white eye ring, yellow breast and belly, and olive back. Young birds and females have duller colors than males. During the summer nesting season, they live in jack pine and black spruce forests, primarily in northern Wisconsin, but are found in various forest types statewide, although rarely, during spring and fall migration.

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Results from the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II survey prompted MNR biologists to conduct follow-up surveys at nearly 60 sites in the summer of 2021 to determine the remaining population of the Warbler. They did not detect any warblers at these sites. The species is now known to breed in a single small area of ​​jack pine in the highlands of northwestern Wisconsin.

“Connecticut warblers and other migratory songbirds spend a lot of time elsewhere in the country, many even wintering on other continents like South America,” said Ryan Brady, MNR conservation biologist. “Habitat loss, development, climate change and other threats throughout their annual life cycle make it harder for these birds to survive and reproduce.

MNR works with landowners, foresters and other resource managers to protect and enhance habitat for the Warbler in the jack pine forests of the upland forests of eastern and western Douglas counties. Bayfield, as well as to discuss options for habitat management in the surrounding landscape.

To meet the conservation needs of wintering grounds, the DNR and the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin are working with international partners to develop conservation plans for critical staging areas and wintering habitats in Central and South America. South. Money raised through the Foundation’s Great Wisconsin Birdathon supports this effort.

Learn more about the organizers, participants and results of the Atlas

The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II survey was co-ordinated by MNR, the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, and the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Partnership. More than 2,000 volunteers have scoured Wisconsin to document what species of birds nest in the state, where nesting takes place, and their numbers.

These efforts revealed that Wisconsin has 243 species of birds nesting here, including 13 species not found nesting in the first atlas survey of 1995-2000. This information will inform bird conservation efforts for the next generation and is critically important as national studies show a loss of 3 billion breeding birds in the United States and Canada over the past 50 years.

Survey organizers are currently reviewing the data collected and preparing and formatting it for a book release after 2022.


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