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Great Lakes bird population stable and healthy, according to annual report

The area is blessed with very favorable natural conditions including diverse forest cover

An Ovenbird.

Madison, Wis. - The population and species of breeding birds in the Western Great Lakes Region is relatively stable and healthy. That is important, according to Linda Parker, a forest ecologist for the USFS, because the region has “the largest concentration of breeding birds in North America.”

This good news, Parker suggested, is because the Western Great Lakes area is blessed with very favorable natural conditions including diverse forest cover, a vast number of rivers and lakes plus riparian corridors. Its favorable bird populations contrast with other geographic areas in the U.S.

Most species in the region are stable, she said. “We’re absolutely teeming with birds,’ she told a virtual gathering of volunteers and donors for The Nature Conservancy on October 14. The assessment is based on the Western Great Lakes Bird Project, a “citizen science project” led by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the University of Minnesota-Duluth and The Nature Conservancy.

This annual survey has been occurring annually for 40 years and the project produces the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas (HTTPS://

The most common birds in the region, according to Parker, are (in order) the ovenbird, red-eyed vireo, and Nashville warbler. Birds that are showing increasing numbers or range are the black and while warbler and the pileated woodpecker.

However, some species are showing decreasing numbers in the Western Great Lakes area, including the Connecticut warbler, yellow rumped warbler, evening grosbeak, scarlet tanager and song sparrow.

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