The Golden-Winged Warbler, a small gray and yellow songbird, is facing habitat loss in the twenty-first century. According to the American Bird Conservancy, the warbler’s population has declined about 66% from the mid-1960s, more than any other songbird. This due in part to a lack of young forests. The Golden-Winged Warbler seeks brushy havens of young aspen stands or tag alder thickets to forage during the breeding season. When these areas move into maturity, the birds experience habitat loss.
Often, when we think about improving habitat for wildlife, we don’t often think of harvesting trees, but that is exactly what these birds need. Historically, young forests develop following a disturbance event such as a fire. Forest management can help mimic such events and help maintain critical wildlife habitat. Other animals that benefit from young forest habitat include American Woodcock, Ruffed Grouse, and White-Tailed Deer.
The Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which includes the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the American Bird Conservancy among many others, is working to increase conservation efforts for the Golden-Winged Warbler in Michigan by promoting quality young forests. The aim is to help landowners develop forest management plans that create young forest habitat. Improvement projects can be either small or large, with the focus on landowners with aspen, tag alder, or abandoned farmland.
To find out more about the Golden-Winged warbler, improving wildlife habitat, and developing forest management plans, the Gogebic Conservation District is holding a presentation on March 2nd, led in part by American Bird Conservancy Forester Chad Carlin and District Forester, Winona Genther. The presentation is free of charge and takes place on Thursday, March 2nd from 7:00-8:00 p.m. at the Gogebic Community College (Solin Building, room B-22), Ironwood, MI.