The American bird lovers are extremely worried about the future of the songbird Golden-winged Warbler that is facing an existential crisis due to loss of habitats. These beautiful birds breed in forests that are young and growing and not in places that have grown up trees. Early succession forests are favorite places where these birds give birth to new ones and stay there till the tiny ones get the confidence of leaving the nests, when all birds fly away to forests that are more mature and ideal for foraging. The surge in human population is pointed out as the prime reason for the loss of habitat that has affected the bird population severely. The severity can be understood from figures that are available. The population of these birds has been reduced by 66 percent over a period of fifty years which is undoubtedly very alarming. The conservationists are putting up a brave fight against all odds to reverse the trend.
A powerhouse of energy
The silvery grey colored bird has an attractive appearance with golden wings and golden flashes on its head. The slim body has a matching tail that seems to help balancing itself as it flips across trees with amazing grace. The small and dainty bird defies its quaint body and displays amazing flying power across vast spaces covering hundreds of miles. From its breeding grounds in the northeastern part of America, the birds make a move to South America and Central America to enjoy the winter. The superb flight through a corridor to the east of Mississippi and the west of the Appalachians in the month of September is repeated once again in April when it is spring and time for the birds to return to its habitat.
Other reasons of population decline
It is not only that loss of breeding ground is the cause of severe population decline. There are some other reasons too.
- The Golden-winged Warbler is a victim of uncontrolled hybridization that happens with the Blue-winged Warbler. Ironically, the population of Blue-winged Warbler is on the rise which adds to the woes of the distressed golden- winged bird. Climate changes have facilitated hybridization, as the Blue- winged Warblers that stay in the valleys now find it easy to reach higher elevations where the golden bird stays.
- The winter homes of the bird in South and Central America are fast vanishing and inviting more trouble for the distressed species. Forests are being cleared for cattle grazing and growing coffee besides sourcing for palm oils and the bird habitats are no more to be found.
Where to find it?
Minnesota is the best place to find the Golden-winged Warbler and the best time to visit is in the months of May and June when the birds at the height of its activity. If you see two birds hopping together when foraging, then the one that is closer to the ground is the female.
You will be left gazing in wonder at the bundle of endless energy and power that needs our care and protection very much.