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.