Wednesday, March 16, 2022

A Near-Threatened Warbler

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Nature, Wildlife, Sustainability

Ed Hessler

Jim Williams had a recent column in the Star Tribune (February 23, 2022) on the golden-winged warbler (subscription paywall). He wrote that "about half of (them) nest in north-central Minnesota. There they find their preferred habitat which is, "early successional woodland, (regrowing) timber harvest or burned land." Of course, you want to see this bird and Cornell has a photogallery.

Williams provides a quick review of the sequence from stable populations to "extinct period." In Minnesota there is "one single extinct species," the passenger pigeon which nested here in such numbers that this ending seemed impossible.The reason for this post is Williams's review of the progression from stable to "extinct period." National Geographic has a chart which summarizes the criteria for the categories. They are,

--Species of least concern, the category includes most Minnesota birds

--Species of near-threatened.

--Vulnerable species.

--Critically endangered.

--Extinct in the wild.

--Extinct period.

Williams points out that the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) adds another, informative wrinkle to the status of the golden-winged warbler. It is a "'species of management concern." The USFWS "allocates money to states for creation and restoration of succession habitat." Birdcalls featured golden-winged warbler restoration in Minnesota and it has many links and some photographs.

In 2011, writes Williams, a request to move the golden-winged warbler to the next level of concern -- vulnerable. A status Assessment is due to be complete in 2024, according to Georgia Parham of the USFWS Great Lakes region offices in Indiana." She described it as 'a rigorous evaluation' to which Williams added this not so tongue-in-cheek comment: "It should be rigorous if it takes 13 years!" (my exclamation point)

What about all birds? Williams provides these data: Of the10,999 species of birds worldwide, "about 9,500 species are not threatened at the moment, while about 1,400 are considered be under the threat of eventual extinction" with a period. 

I doubt that you need any help with the cause. Habitat loss and changes.

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