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Kirtland Warbler, Already a Threatened Species, Impacted by Grayling Wildfire

Trees and homes aren’t the only thing impacted by wildfires. The Wilderness Trail Wildfire in Crawford County has ravaged the key nesting ground of a rare species of songbird.

There are less than 5,000 Kirtland Warbler birds left in the world, with a majority of them living in the Grayling and surrounding areas. These birds prefer to nest under young jack pines, which is why they make their home here in Northern Michigan.

While many of the adult birds were able escape the fire, their nests were most likely destroyed.


“This fire was right there in peak Kirtland Warbler habitat. You lose a few birds, [but] it’s kind of painful because you know we don’t have that many. When you have fewer than 5,000 birds in the entire population, a small loss like that is felt,” said Bill Rapai, Executive Director of the Kirtland Warbler Alliance.

Luckily, it’s possible for Kirtland Warblers to nest twice in a season if they can find new habitat.

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