By Jim Williams
APRIL 2, 2018 — 11:40AM
Is it possible that America’s rarest warbler could be nesting in Minnesota? Birders will begin searching this spring, starting in Pine County. Volunteers are wanted.
The bird is Kirtland’s Warbler, until 10 years ago found exclusively in areas of jack pine in Michigan’s the upper and lower peninsulas. Since then, the species has expanded in small numbers to Wisconsin and Ontario.
The birds have had success in Wisconsin. The first nesting was found in Adams County, 200 miles east of Minneapolis.
The Minnesota search project will be discussed April 9 from 7 to 8:45 p.m. at the Southdale library, 700l York Ave. S. The meeting room is on the second floor.
The bird’s necessary jack-pine habitat is found in abundance in north-central and northeastern Minnesota. The tree likes poor, sandy soil. Pine County is considered a good place to start.
Kirtland’s is a very particular specialist. It nests on the ground in grass under the lowest branches of jack pines less than 20 years old, preferring trees 16-20 feet high.