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.