A historic first and several record highs made 2015 a very good year for Kirtland’s Warbler watchers in the state of Wisconsin.
In April, biologists on Cat Island, in the Bahamas, chanced upon a young warbler wearing colored leg bands. The sequence of colors — aluminum, blue, purple, and indigo — identified the bird conclusively. It was one of only six warblers that had been banded as nestlings in Wisconsin the previous summer, so the odds of re-sighting it were astronomically slim. It was the first time that a Kirtland’s Warbler banded in the state had been re-sighted on its wintering grounds.
Wisconsin’s year-end nesting summary, released in November, provided another cause for celebration. In Adams County, in the center of the state, 14 pairs, the highest number ever, made 15 nesting attempts, and 12 of the nests were successful. Between 34 and 51 young fledged. Both the percentage of successful nests and the number of fledglings set records.
Better yet, for only the second time ever, Kirtland’s Warblers nested successfully farther north, in Marinette County, fledging two young. Three males were also observed in Bayfield County, along Lake Superior, raising hopes that it and Marinette will become important nesting sites in the future.
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