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Canadian Kirtland

Conservationists ‘thrilled’ as Kirtland’s Warbler returns

Bird Studies Canada (BirdLife's Canadian co-Partner) has expressed delight at news that a pair of Kirtland’s Warbler Dendroica kirtlandii have bred in Canada – the first in over 60 years. The discovery of the birds - found at a Canadian Forces Base in eastern Ontario - has provided useful data for scientists researching the distribution of this species, listed globally as Near Threatened by BirdLife.

Kirtland’s Warbler does not normally breed outside of Michigan in the US, but this year in addition to the nest in Ontario, others were found in Wisconsin.

Extensive habitat loss across its northern breeding range saw the warbler’s population drop to fewer than 200 males in the 1970s. More recently numbers have been seen to recover: almost 1,500 singing males were recorded in Michigan in 2006.

“With confirmed nesting in these new locations in 2007, we hope to see the population continue to expand in the years to come.” commented Bird Studies Canada.

To protect the breeding birds from potential disturbance, their existence and location remained a closely guarded secret until this month, when the birds left Ontario for wintering sites in the Bahamas. The nest and two unviable eggs that were left behind have been donated to the Royal Ontario Museum, report Bird Studies Canada.

4th July 2014