The Kirtland’s Warbler, which is considered a symbol of conservation in Michigan, will feature on a new Michigan license plate and help raise funds for Michigan’s wildlife habitat.
Starting in January, the Michiganders will be able to purchase the license plate through the Secretary of State for $ 35, of which $ 25 will go to the Nongame Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources celebrated the Kirtland’s Warbler species because it was removed from the federal endangered species list in October 2019.
Officials say that through the stewardship of Michigan DNR, the US Forest Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, plans and partnerships with a network of nonprofits and private citizens have created a conservation coalition. who saved the Kirtland’s Warbler from extinction.
Currently, there are now over 4,000 Kirtland’s Warblers, and the population is considered to be in good health.
The Kirtland’s Warbler breeds in young jack pine forests in northern Michigan, and 95% of the population breeds in five counties in the northern Lowe Peninsula. Small populations can also be found in the Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. The bird spends its time in winter mainly in the Bahamas.
Officials say the bird is the perfect symbol for the Nongame Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund because, although it is no longer considered endangered, conservation efforts must continue in the future.
Birds are said to nest on the ground under the overlapping branches of young jack pine.
Historically, the bird’s breeding habitat has been created by wildlife sweeping across the landscape, burning mature trees and opening up new areas for the growth of young trees.
However, with more and more people living near young jack pine from the turn of the 20th century, these fires were seen as a threat and were extinguished.
Jack pine habitats then became increasingly scarce, and the Kirtland’s Warbler experienced a slow population decline until the 1980s, when people began to harvest large areas of mature forest and replant them with young trees.
“The fact that this species qualifies for removal from the endangered list is a testament to the effectiveness and power of ecologically oriented conservation,” said Heather Good, executive director of Michigan Audubon.
Michigan Audubon has been instrumental in the conservation, collaboration, tours and management of Kirtland’s Warblers in a number of ways, making the feature relevant to many volunteers, members, donors, tour guides and former board members. administration which contributed to its realization.
Officials say that since its inception, the Wildlife Habitat License Plate has raised more than $ 3.9 million for Michigan’s Nongame Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund.
According to Good, this is the only designated non-game fund in Michigan.
“It not only invests dollars in an area of natural resource management that is not supported at all and needs resources, but it also sends a message down the road and to our lawmakers about appreciating wildlife.” non-consumer, ”said Good.
In 2006, when the offside license plate became available to drivers, the common loon was the first species featured.
In December 2017, the offside plate featured a moose to mark the 2018 celebration of Moose 100 years in Michigan.
“I think the birding community will applaud to see this change come back to an avian species on the non-game plate, especially one that has such strong relevance in Michigan,” Good said.
Michigan Audubon and the Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance are encouraging Michigan residents to purchase the license plate and support Michigan wildlife work.