Birder's Guide

MAY 2016

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 17 of 59

16 Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community | May 2016 Endangered Species List, responsibility for conservation will shift away from the feder- al government to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Because of that, it has never been more important that the people of Michigan feel a connection to this rare bird and its unusual habitat—and also gen- erate fnancial and political support. Over the years, the agencies have done a laudable job creating new habitat for Kirtland's. Annually, the agencies cut and replant jack pine so that there will always be at least 38,000 acres of nesting habitat available. In the process of deciding which tracts of land will be replanted with jack pine, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources now reserves two acres for our volunteer project. The job of planting young jack pines is not easy. It's back-breaking, ankle-twisting, knee-bending work. It involves stepping over old stumps and limbs, and in and out of the trenches that have been dug by machine to prepare for the planting. And given northern Michigan's notoriously wild weather swings, we could be planting in anything from 50-degree rain to 80-degree heat. But ask volunteers, and they will tell you it's worth it. "I've always left with a sense of fulfll - ment, knowing that I have done something good," said volunteer Warren Zimostrad of Grand Rapids, Michigan, in an email. "It's a fun time spending the day with like-minded individuals, getting dirty and planting trees. "I never knew how many acres of land are planted up in northeastern Michigan each year", he added. "It's fantastic to learn northern Michigan. The one–two punch of lack of habitat and cowbird nest parasitism pushed Kirtland's Warbler to the brink of extinction. For the foreseeable future, survival for Kirtland's Warbler will hinge on continued hu- man intervention. Both the Michigan Depart- ment of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service annually create new habitat, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been respon- sible for removing Brown-headed Cowbirds. If Kirtland's Warbler is removed from the n Above: A Kirtland's Warbler on 2015's Home Opener Tour. Photo © Shelley Martinez n Right: A boy poses with a skull in the kids' tent at the 2015 Kirtland's Warbler Festival in downtown Roscommon, Michigan. Photo © Erica Staton n Below: Jack Pine Planting Day volunteer group. Photo © Huron Pines A Future for Kirtland's Warbler

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