This project will support reforestation and plant Jack pine in the Chippewa and Mackinac county in the Eastern part of the Hiawatha National Forest to provide breeding habitat for the Kirtland’s Warbler. The Kirtland’s Warbler is known as a habitat specialist, which means it will only nest in a very specific area or under specific conditions. More than 90 percent of Kirtland’s Warblers’ nests are in one small area of northern Michigan, some 70 miles from north to south and 90 miles from east to west. So why is jack pine, specifically young jack pine the Kirtland warbler’s preferred breeding habitat? The combination of low-hanging, overlapping branches of young Jack Pines with sandy, well-draining soil that rarely floods is perfect for a bird that nests on the ground. 

The Kirtland’s Warbler has made an incredible recovery from the brink of extinction. In 1967 only 167 breeding pairs were identified and it was placed on the nation’s innagural endangered species list. Conservationists set a goal of 1000 breeding pairs as the metric for the recovery of the species. This number was surpassed in 2001 and with continued efforts to create habitat the number of breeding pairs today stands at over 2,300! Kirtland’s Warbler is a great success story for wildlife conservation. So much so that last year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposed the bird be taken off the endangered species list. Despite surpassing the original goal of 1,000 breeding pairs, the Kirtland’s Warbler remained on the Endangered Species List because it is considered a “conservation-reliant species” meaning without proper and frequent habitat creation the bird will again slide towards being endangered or worse. The good news is we have the blueprint to success and with your support can continue our conservation efforts!

Location: Chippewa and Mackinac county in the Eastern part of the Hiawatha National Forest.