Kirtland’s Warbler

The Kirtland’s Warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii) is a small songbird of the New World warbler family.

These birds have bluish-grey upperparts with dark streaks on the back and yellow underparts with streaked flanks. They have thin wing bars, dark legs and a broken white eye ring. Females and immature birds have more brown on their backs than the adult males. Like the Palm Warbler and Prairie Warbler, they wag their tails frequently.

Their breeding habitat is young Jack pine woods in a very limited area in the north of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. They have also been seen in Ontario and Wisconsin but do not breed there regularly. The nest is an open cup on sandy soil near a pine tree.

These birds migrate in winter in the pine forests of the Bahamas.

They forage in the lower parts of trees, sometimes hovering or searching on the ground. Their diet consists of insects and some berries. They also eat fruit in the winter.

The song of this bird is a loud chip-chip-too-too-weet often given from the top of a pine. The call is a low chip.

The numbers and range of this bird have decreased since the early 20th century due to loss of suitable breeding habitat. Since Jack Pines only seed after forest fires, this bird’s habitat is being preserved by controlled burns in its limited breeding range. People have also intervened to protect this bird against nest predation by Brown-headed Cowbirds.

This bird was named after Jared P. Kirtland, an Ohio doctor and amateur naturalist.