Habitat Worth its Weight in Gold    

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Creating habitat through land management

The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is campaigning to create new habitat for the Golden-Winged Warbler (GWWA) in Minnesota and the larger Midwest region. This region includes critical breeding habitat for the bird, which has been on the decline. There are opportunities to work with landowners and organizations to manage their land base in a way that benefits the warbler through the creation of a breeding habitat. The ABC is able to work with these land managers to identify areas that can be modified through forestry practices to better suit the GWWA. 

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What is created, what is retained?

The first step in creating a habitat for the Golden-Winged Warbler is identifying suitable areas. The ABC looks for land that contains large patches that have a low-density forest with large canopy gaps or large expanses of open areas dominated by shrubs, adjacent to a forested area. The goal is to create opportunities for the GWWA to breed, nest, rear their young, and forage for food. To do this, often the treatment involves tracked vehicles mounted with a brush-dispensing system (mower or revolving blade type attachment). The ABC puts together a package for work that is bid on by local contractors. The winning bidder works with the ABC to do the critical work in the field. 

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A representative of the ABC takes photos with his phone of an area before it is treated.

Pictures are taken during and after the treatment to document the habitat work accomplished.

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An Interpretive sign on Carlton County-managed land educates public land users about the Golden-winged Warbler habitat project. 

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What can you do to get involved?

-- Do you or someone you know own private land? Consider reaching out to the ABC if you have a property that may be suitable for this type of project.

-- Consider consulting a forester or biologist to write a land management plan for your property.

-- Become a birder. Learn how to identify birds from their physical appearance and their vocalizations.

-- Consider being a citizen scientist. Throughout the year there are opportunities for citizens to participate in avian population monitoring projects.

A male GWWA in between vocalizations atop a song perch. 

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