Vilas Co. Has Population Of Rare Kirtland's Warbler

Dec 19, 2017

Kirtland's warbler
Credit Wisconsin DNR Joel Trick

Ten years after Kirtland's warblers were first documented in Wisconsin, populations of the rare songbird have increased and their range is expanding including into Vilas county.

According to the recently released 2017 nesting season report, the number of Kirtland's warblers grew from eleven birds and three nests in 2007 to 53 birds and 20 total nests in 2017.

A biologist for the DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation Program, Kim Grvales says the warbler was one of the first species on the federal endangered species list. The bird primarily was found in Michigan. She says their population is over 4,000 now.

She says about 10 years ago they began nesting in Vilas and other northern counties in Wisconsin and the U.P...

" in Wisconsin they have been nesting in red pine plantations that have least 10 percent jack pine present in the habitat. They're kind of on commercial forestry land that were planted for commercial purposes...."

She says in Vilas county, they have been using electronic calls...

"....we have playback units that we are using there to attract birds to appropriate habitat. We did receive a response in our first year of using those playback units. We're hopeful in future years that we will attract birds to the young jack pine sites in Vilas county...."

The warbler nests on the ground and Grvales says people should avoid those pine forests during the summer breeding season.