Kirtland's Warbler Dendroica kirtlandii
5.75 inches (15 cm)
• Uncommon and difficult to see
• Blue-gray upperparts
• Heavy black streaks on back
• Yellow underparts
• Black streaks on flanks
• Small, active, insect-eating bird
• Thin, pointed bill
• Broken eye ring
• Grayish nape and upperparts
• Yellow throat, breast and belly
• White undertail coverts
• Streaked sides and flanks-sometimes across breast
• Dull white wing bars
• Dark legs
• Wags its tail
• Extremely limited range-breeds in Michigan
• Black lores
• Black streaks on gray back
Female and immature:
• Gray lores
• Brownish tinge to dark-streaked back
• Other warblers that wag their tails are the Prairie and Palm Warblers. They have yellow rumps and yellow faces and lack the broken eye ring.
Young jack pines of north-central Michigan. Rare in Wisconsin and Ontario. Winters in the Bahamas. Frequently wags tail. Rarely seen in migration, although best chance is northern Ohio along Lake Erie. Endangered species but population has been increasing steadily.
NESTING & FEEDING:
BREEDING: Large stands of 6 to 20 feet high jack pines on sandy soil with low cover. Extreme habitat specialist. ? broods. Mating system is monogamous, occasionally polygynous.
DISPLAYS: Courting male may perform display flight, descending from 6 to 8 feet directly over female.
NEST: Cup shaped nest, concealed close to pine, of grass or other fibrous plant material, lined with fine grass, moss, hair. Both sexes help with nest construction.
EGGS: White, creamy-pinkish, marked with brown, mostly at large end. 0.7" (18 mm).
CHICK DEVELOPMENT: Female incubates. Incubation takes 14-15 days. Development is altricial (immobile, downless, eyes closed, fed). Young leave the nest after 12-13 days. Both sexes tend young.
DIET: Insects, pine sap, blueberries.
CONSERVATION: Winters in Bahamas only. Endangered Species, largely because of exacting requirements for breeding habitat. About 170 breeding males remained in 1987. By 1995 there were 765 breeding males in Michigan, but this number fell to 692 in 1996. Frequent cowbird host; cowbirds reached breeding range only within past 100 years. Cowbird removal, habitat maintenance, and other protective measures have been successful.
NOTES: Longest incubation of any North America warbler. Male song is unusually loud. Male feeds incubating female. Bathes in dew. Habitually wags tail. Very tame.