Great Lakes songbird considered for Endangered Species List

Photo: New York Department of Environmental Conservation

A western Great Lakes basin songbird may deserve federal protection as a threatened or endangered species, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Golden-winged Warblers were once widespread in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ontario.

But loss of breeding habitat, conflict with Blue-winged Warblers and possible parasitism by the invasive Brown-headed Cowbird have led to their steady decline for 50 years, according to a petition filed by a Pennsylvania State University environmental law student.

Pending further review by the U.S. Fish and Wild Service, the warbler could become the first continental bird added to the Endangered Species List since 1995. It would join Great Lakes endangered birds such as the Kirtland’s Warbler and Piping Plover.

A Great Lakes bird conservation project run by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay lists the small songbird as a priority species. The project proposes forty-year cycles of burning to create habitats destroyed by reforestation and urban sprawl.

Golden-winged Warbler are commonly found in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ontario. Map: Univeristy of Wisconsin-Green Bay bird conservation project

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About Rachael Gleason
Rachael Gleason

Rachael Gleason is a graduate of the Michigan State University and Knight Center for Environmental Journalism master's program. Rachael edited EJ Magazine and reported for Great Lakes Echo for two years. She currently focuses on water privatization issues. Rachael was quiz editor, SmackDown! editor and had a standing feature called Monday Mashup, where she reviewed interactive maps of the Great Lakes region. Rachael is originally from Texas, where she worked as a reporter, photographer and desk editor for several years. In addition to working for the daily newspaper of Huntsville, Rachael also worked as a business reporter for The Houston Chronicle, the newspaper of her hometown. Office: (517) 432-5155 Twitter: @rachaelgleason