WatchList Species Account for Grace's Warbler |
Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species
|Photo: Greg Lavaty
The Grace's Warbler is dependent on yellow pine forests in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. This species is thought to be much less abundant than it was before European settlement and logging changed the structure of these forests.
Today’s forests have been transformed by timber extraction, fire suppression, grazing, and development. The once park-like forests with grassy openings, maintained by frequent fires, have been replaced by forests skewed towards smaller trees, a more closed canopy, and a depleted understory. Since Grace’s Warbler depends on extensive, mature stands of yellow pine, these habitat changes have caused its populations to decline.
Cowbird parasitism may be a problem in some populations, but this has yet to be confirmed. Restoration of old-growth pine forest through thinning and controlled burning would certainly benefit this species.