This tiny bird has suffered such a steep decline in numbers, it has been proposed as a candidate for the Endangered Species Act. We’re taking action in breeding habitat and wintering grounds to bring back the bird’s numbers.
In a race to keep the Golden-winged Warbler off the Endangered Species list, ABC and partners have increased high-quality breeding habitat for Golden-winged Warblers in the United States across thousands of acres in Minnesota—home to more than half of the species’ population—as well as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
Intensive monitoring of treated habitat in Pennsylvania is indicating encouraging results: a 16 percent increase in Golden-winged Warblers over the last three years in two study plots. In Minnesota, with funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, we have improved more than 2,500 acres of habitat for Golden-winged Warblers and other species of concern.
On the bird’s wintering grounds in Central and South America, we’re working with diverse partners to identify threats and restore habitat.
In October 2014, stakeholders from nine countries met in Honduras for an ABC-led workshop that resulted in identification of the top threats to the species, ways to integrate findings into government and regional strategies, and knowledge gaps. The group left the meeting with a list of goals to be accomplished over the next 10 years.
Meanwhile, we’re already taking action to restore habitat in the south. In one example, In Nicaragua, we’re working with our friends at the El Jaguar Private Reserve, neighboring private landowners, and other partners to reforest 10,000 acres of land that forms a corridor between important forest habitats.
Nurseries have been established for growing seedlings, and a new forester has been hired to reach out to landowners and farm cooperatives to increase participation. Funding for this work has come from with Southern Wings and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others.
Our efforts on the wintering grounds will become ever-more strategic in the future. Thanks to geolocators attached to Golden-winged Warblers from treated areas in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Minnesota by our partners, we are obtaining more precise data indicating where particular populations of these birds winter.
We’re also supporting a geolocator project involving birds tagged in Nicaragua, providing even more insight into the birds’ travels. This information will enable us to further focus our efforts to increase the global population of Golden-winged Warblers and identify the greatest limiting factors to recovery.