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Counting Kirtland's Warblers - Interview with Karen Markey

Citizen-science at work! Counting those warblers!

Learn about one of the first species to be listed as endangered after Congress adopted the Endangered Species Act in 1973: The Kirtland's Warbler. Karen Markey and others make an annual census of the birds, to help federal and state agencies determine how well the recovery plan for the warblers is working. One indication: in 1974, the number of singing male Kirtland's Warblers in Michigan was 167. The 2012 census pegged them at 2,063 singing males, a new record!

Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Volunteering to Count Kirtland’s Warblers: Karen Markey
Interview and writing by Chris Peterson
This is BirdNote!
[Song of Kirtland’s Warbler]
Doesn’t this sound enticing? Strenuous walks through thick Jack Pine, temperatures ranging from below freezing to 85 degrees by late morning, and a heavy dusting of Jack Pine pollen. That’s what volunteers should expect when counting one of our rarest birds – The Kirtland’s Warbler – in Michigan’s Huron-Manistee National Forest in the annual census. 
 [Song of Kirtland’s Warbler]
We called volunteer, Karen Markey, who knows the rewards of counting “KWs” as she refers to them.  
“You’re walking in a transect and a transect isn’t a path, it’s just a straight line marked on a …map... and so when you walk this transect … oftentimes the trees are just so high and so dense that you have to go underneath them… You almost have to get on your knees and sort of waddle through the forest a little bit like a duck. When it’s raining or it’s real dewy, you ARE like a duck as you navigate through the forest… and … as you go through, the needles from the jack pine and the pin oaks are hitting you in the face…We all just call it the KW Waddle! So it isn’t the most comfortable of tasks but …it’s certainly rewarding and there’s a chance you’re going to hear and actually see a KW.”
The Kirtland’s Warbler was one of the first species to be listed as endangered after Congress adopted the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Karen and others are helping federal and state agencies determine how well the recovery plan for the warblers is working. One indication: in 1974, the number of singing male Kirtland’s Warblers in Michigan was 167. Last year’s census pegged them at close to 2000* singing males. 
[Song of Kirtland’s Warbler]
There’s more to this story at birdnote.org. 
###
Song of the Kirtland’s Warbler provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York; recorded by G.A. Keller
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org   June 2014  Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# SotB-KIWA-01-2011-06-01 SotB-KIWA-01b 

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