The Cerulean Warbler is a sight to see for nature enthusiasts and bird-watchers.
Unfortunately, though, a staggering 70 percent of its population has dwindled over the years–mostly due to habitat changes according to biologists studying these beautiful birds.
That’s why multiple agencies, including our West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, and private landowners–like John Cobb–are doing something about it.
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Cobb, a private landowner that lives near the Lewis and Braxton County line, says the Cerulean Warblers prefer certain trees. “If you cut out the undesirable trees, and leave the desirable trees–then they will do better in their procreation and hopefully we can bring them back”, said Cobb.
These birds prefer ridge-lines with some gaps in the canopy; that’s why John was interested in becoming part of the Cerulean Warbler Enhancement Project. His home has those traits that the birds prefer.
This project asks private landowners, if they’re interested, to change their landscape a bit to help these distressed birds.
Kyle Aldinger, Cerulean Warbler Partnership Coordinator with the National Wild Turkey Federation, says a better environment for the Warbler also means a better environment for other animals, too.
“It’s an at risk species that responds really well to management, and also does a good job of representing a lot of other wildlife species–like Wild Turkey, Ruffed Grouse”, said Aldinger.
This makes this bird even more valuable as an indicator species. If it’s doing well, then other animals must be, too.
The program is pretty young, but the results so far appear promising.
“Kyle and his team have already signed up 450 acres that are being worked on in West Virginia alone, which is really a positive step forward for this small Cerulean Warbler”, said Cobb.
And in case you’re wondering, there is a financial incentive for those private landowners that are willing to take part in this program–so it’s a win win situation.
“We’re not just asking people to voluntarily do this. We’re actually giving them a little added incentive to do something positive in their woods”, said Aldinger.