In Michigan
6:15 pm
Fri May 14, 2010

Michigan bird may be taken off endangered list

TRAVERSE CITY, MI –

Federal scientists are looking into whether a songbird that breeds almost entirely in northern Michigan can be removed from the endangered species list.

The Kirtland's warbler once was on the brink of extinction, but has mounted a comeback over the past two decades.

For nine consecutive years, its population has exceeded the recovery target of 1,000 singing males. Scientists assume there's a female for every singing male.

Phil Huber, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said Friday the agency is assessing risks of dropping the warbler from the endangered list. The study is in the early stages.

He says even if the warbler's status changes, its survival will depend on continued management of jack pine forests where it nests.