Article in: Bird Conservation
June 21, 2008
Prothonotary Warblers (Protonotaria citrea)are one of the few songbirds to nest in cavities and inhabit much of the southeast and Great Lake states. They nest in swampy forests and winter along the coast of Central and South America. Their mangrove wintering sites are rapidly decreasing.
In our area, Prothonotary Warblers are uncommon but found yearly along riparian areas. We have been lucky to see them often this year, perhaps due to high amounts of rainfall.
- Increase acreage of bottomland and upland forest habitats
- Slow or halt deforestation and degradation of wintering mangrove habitat (restore habitat where possible)
- Develop baseline inventory of Prothonotary Warbler breeding and wintering populations
Partners in Flight along with other conservation organizations such as Mississippi Valley Joint Venture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Wildlife Program, The National Resources Conservation Service Wetland Reserve Program, Ducks Unlimited, and the Nature Conservancy have taken up efforts to increase acreage of proper habitat. Other organizations on the wintering grounds have been limited and stricter laws are needed (and enforced).
In our area we have been tracking Prothonotary Warbler sightings to work on establishing nesting locations. We have hopes of creating a nest box program similar to what has been done for Eastern Bluebirds. However, according to the Birder’s Conservation Handbook, nest boxes have “increased local densities of breeding birds, though there is concern that birds breeding in nest boxes may have increased rates of nest predation”.
As of 2004, Prothonotary Warbler population was estimated at 1.8 million (39% decline since 1966). Full details on this species and 99 other North American birds at risk can be found in Jeffrey V. Wells’ Birder’s Conservation Handbook.