The Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera), another bird on Audubon’s WatchList, is threatened by loss of habitat, but is increasing in the northern and northwestern parts of North America. Their decline also correlates with the Blue-winged Warbler’s expansion into the Golden-winged Warbler’s range. This expansion leads to competition and widespread hybridization of the two species.
Photo courtesy of our friend John
It is important to both warbler species to study their population numbers and movement. One way any birder in its range can help is by joining the Golden-winged Warbler Atlas Project (GOWAP).
The dates depend on your location based on the Golden-winged Warbler arrival time. For Canada, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the St. Lawrence River Valley the appropriate dates run from May 15th to June 20th. For all other locations the dates run from May 10 to June 15.
GOWAP results will be used to develop two detailed atlases: a Distribution map that shows boundaries for areas of high concentration of Golden-winged Warblers in sufficient detail to indicate potential sites for preservation and management, and a Hybrid Index Map that will help us locate key “safe haven” sites within the area of overlap where golden-wing and blue-wing hybridization is rare.
- Identify important populations of Golden-winged Warblers in each state and physiographic area and determine the status of these populations.
- Determine the range of acceptable habitats and area requirements (if any) of Golden-winged Warblers, especially in relation to natural vs. human-created habitat types.
- Delineate key sites for acquisition, protection or management; identify habitat types, general ownership, and level of threats at each site.
- Map the frequency of hybridization with Blue-winged Warblers throughout the range of Golden-winged Warblers.
- Define the parameters that constitute a “safe haven” site for Golden-winged Warblers in the regions of coexistence with Blue-winged Warblers.
- Develop management strategies to protect or enhance “safe haven” populations throughout the species’ range.
- Incorporate population objectives and management strategies for Golden-winged Warblers into the PIF regional planning process.
Help the Golden-winged Warbler and join the Golden-winged Warbler Atlas Project!