- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Parulidae
The Kirtland’s Warbler is a neat gray-and-yellow bird and one of the rarest songbirds in North America. A true habitat specialist, it breeds only in young jack pine forests in Michigan and adjacent parts of Wisconsin and Ontario. During the past century, timber rotations and fire suppression proved incompatible with the bird’s needs, and Kirtland’s Warblers spent nearly 50 years on the Endangered Species List. Intensive conservation, including suppression of Brown-headed Cowbirds, allowed the population to increase tenfold, and the species was delisted in 2019.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Despite its low numbers, the Kirtland’s Warbler is surprisingly easy to find if you can locate its classic habitat of young, dense jack pine scrublands. During spring and early summer, males sing a curt, warbly song while perched in upper portions of pines, oaks, or dead trees. The species winters in scrubby parts of the Bahamas and is occasionally found at migration hotspots such as Magee Marsh, Ohio.
- Reinita de Kirtland (Spanish)
- Paruline de Kirtland (French)
- Cool Facts
- Though the Kirtland’s Warbler was described in 1853, the first nest of the species was not discovered until 1903—perhaps because of the species’ restricted range and dense habitat.
- Female Kirtland’s Warblers are more selective in their choice of habitat than males, and the best habitat attracts more females than males. As a forest tract ages beyond the point where Kirtland’s Warblers will use it, the last residents will be unmated males.
- The Kirtland’s Warbler is named after Jared P. Kirtland, the father-in-law of Charles Pease, on whose farm near Cleveland, Ohio, the first specimen was collected.
- The oldest recorded Kirtland’s Warbler was a male at least 9 years old when it was recaptured by a bander in Michigan.