The state is managing many many acres of game land for Golden-winged Warblers but my bird surveys are for all birds and I added reference sites – unburned areas that are nearby. Can’t really call them control sites since there are probably differences among sites besides the burning, such as aspect, soils etc.
I was tasked with seven state game lands and I sampled from four to twenty at each game land. Sadly, I did not confirm any golden-wing warblers – though I did have a very suspicious bird at the first site on the first day.
These sites are filled with Prairie Warblers, Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Chestnut-sided Warblers. I ran into four bears, a timber rattle snake, rat snake, and two garter snakes. In total, I would guess at least two dozen ticks as well. One mystery is the near lack of Indigo Buntings. I thought I would be overrun but there are hardly any. Interesting!
I suspect that there just isn’t a local source population for Golden-winged Warblers. A source population produces more individuals from one generation to the next. Compare this to a sink that has fewer individuals either because survivorship is lower or, more likely, reproduction fails too often. If I’m right then it will just take time. This may seem like a waste but these burned habitats are also likely to be welcoming to southern species that are making their way up north, like Blue Grosbeaks, Yellow-breasted Chats, etc. I also think that Northern Bobwhite could come back too if we would try (and I really wish we would!).
Some pics from the season so far: