Sunday, April 15, 2012

Migrant of the Week 4/15--4/21 2012

Today, April 15, the American Birding Association's Young Birder of the Year contest starts! To find details (and to see the winners of last year's) click here. To celebrate, I have chosen for this week's migrant, a bird that all birders long to see, North America's rarest warbler. The Migrant of the Week 4/15--4/21 2012 is.....

The Kirtland's Warbler!
 An amazing bird.

Random Cool Facts:

Like I said, the Kirtland's Warbler is the rarest warbler in North America. All known Kirtland's Warblers breed in the jack pine forests in Michigan and winter in the Caribbean. Jack pines depend on fire to survive, because their pinecones open only after being exposed to high temperatures of at least 122 degrees Fahrenheit.  It is a large warbler of the family Parulidae. Like the Palm warbler, it constantly pumps its tail.


The Kirtland's Warbler is a small, chunky songbird, but large for a warbler. Their upperparts are bluish-gray to dark gray; their underparts are yellow, with black streaks on their sides. They have two crescent markings around their eyes, one above and one below. They forage for food from the mid-levels of trees to the ground.  Photo accredited to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:


Kirtland's Warblers build their open cup nests out of grass, pine needles, and leaves. They line them with hair, rootlets, and plant fibers. They nest in depressions on the ground, often with a tuft of grass overhanging the nest. A full clutch is 3--6 white or buff eggs with light brown spots usually concentrated at the end. One brood per year.

Kirtland's Warblers are in danger of extinction because of habitat loss, and some years because of lack of fire. They deserve our help as well as the title of Migrant of the Week.

Note: I don't know as much about Kirtland's Warblers as I do about other species, so if you see something wrong with this description and life history, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

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