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Image of the Day: No Longer Endangered

Back from the brink of near-extinction, the Kirtland’s warbler population has grown and expanded its range.

Oct 11, 2019
Emily Makowski

ABOVE: Kirtland’s warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii)
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, ANDREW C

The Kirtland’s warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii), one of the first animals to be placed on the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species List, has made a comeback. The species was removed from the list on Tuesday (October 8), according to a press release from the American Bird Conservancy.

The population of Kirtland’s warblers was down to fewer than 200 individuals during parts of the 1970s and 1980s and only found in Michigan. After a decades-long effort by conservation groups, the birds rebounded to more than 2,300 breeding pairs by 2015, double the original goal. Their range now covers parts of Wisconsin and Canada as well.

“The delisting of the Kirtland’s warbler is cause for celebration and proof that the Endangered Species Act works,” says Shawn Graff, the vice president of the American Bird Conservancy’s Great Lakes program, in the press release. “But this warbler is still among the rarest, most range-restricted migratory songbirds in North America. It is conservation-reliant, meaning that continued management efforts are imperative for the population to hold its ground and continue to expand.” 

Emily Makowski is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at emakowski@the-scientist.com.

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