As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Manitoba's unique golden-winged warbler population threatened by blue-winged mates: study

U of M study shows songbird is mating with blue-winged warbler, which could knock out the species
CBC News Posted: Dec 02, 2017 8:39 AM CT Last Updated: Dec 02, 2017 1:24 PM CT

The long-term survival of a unique bird that calls Manitoba home is being threatened by the fact the species is finding love with blue-winged mates, a new study shows.

The province is home to the golden-winged warblers and until recently, it was believed to host one of the most genetically pure populations of the songbird in the world.

But a study from the University of Manitoba published in the Conservation Genetics journal says that some of the beautiful little birds are also carrying blue-winged warbler DNA.

"When they hybridize with the blue-winged warbler, in almost all previous populations within 50 years, the blue-winged warblers have almost completely taken over and the golden-winged warblers disappear," said Nicola Koper, a professor in the University of Manitoba Natural Resources Institute who supervised the research, on CBC Radio's Weekend Morning Show.

"So the fact we've started to find the blue-winged warbler DNA in Manitoba's population makes us concerned about it."

Golden-winged warblers are about the size of a chickadee, with a golden cap, gold bars on their wings and a little black face and throat. When they are nearby, the birds make a soft buzzing sound like an insect.

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