By Howard Meyerson
I love a good conservation success story and Michigan has several: Wolves are returning; bald eagles are plentiful; wild turkeys are everywhere; and elk are just fine. But, none warms my heart so much as the Kirtland’s Warbler comeback.
The diminutive bird that inhabits the jack pine forests of northern Michigan has now recovered from the brink to such a degree that government agencies and non-governmental groups are talking about taking it off the federal Endangered Species list. They are also discussing what should happen after that.
Observers participating in a recent Kirtland’s Warbler survey found 2,004 singing males; each typically signals a mating pair. That is fewer than 2012 when 2,063 singing males were seen, but far more than 1987 when 167 singing males were observed. That was a low point.
“The recovery plan goal was 1,000 breeding pairs, but there are now 2,090 pairs in…
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