Bird of the Week, May 6, 2011
Cerulean Warbler

Cerulean Warbler by Greg Lavaty

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Formerly one of the most abundant breeding warblers in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys, numbers of this sky-blue warbler fell sharply during the 20th Century due to habitat loss and fragmentation on both its breeding and wintering grounds. Its population has declined by more than 70% since the 1960s.


The Appalachian Mountains are a breeding stronghold for the Cerulean– an area unfortunately most impacted by mountaintop removal coal mining, which destroys this bird’s preferred habitat of mature, multi-layered deciduous forest. Habitat loss on its wintering grounds is has also being acceleratedbeen impacted by agriculture and the conversion of habitat-rich shade coffee plantations to sun coffee devoid of large trees.


ABC has worked with the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative to reforest former mine lands and with international partner Fundacion ProAves to protect wintering habitat, creating the Cerulean Warbler Reserve in Colombia. ABC is also protecting crucial wintering habitat through land acquisition, conservation easements, reforestation, and promotion of shade coffee and cacao in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. And ABC is working to reduce the impacts of towers, building glass, pesticides, feral cats, and wind turbines on species such as the Cerulean Warbler and other migratory songbirds.

Photo: Cerulean Warbler by Greg Lavaty; Range Map: ABC