Working Lands

Collaborating for Protection of the Golden-winged Warbler: Survival of fledglings

Anyone who regularly reads our newsletter, blog, or attends our programs knows that Audubon North Carolina has spent a lot of time and effort over the last few years working to learn about and conserve Golden-winged Warblers (GWWA).  And we are not alone.  The Golden-winged Warbler Working Group (GWWAWG)was established in 2005, by more than 75 partners, to dig deep into the science and life cycle of this species. In this series of blog posts, learn about all the work of the GWWWG and what this collaborative effort has done to protect this tiny gem of our forests.

Post by Curtis Smalling, Coordinator NC IBA Program & Mountain Program Manager

This is the most critical time in the young birds life.  The pairs we’ve studied are very successful in terms of fledging at least some young each year (often more than 95% of our nests are successful), but we now know that up to 80% of those recent fledglings are predated by snakes, other birds and mammals within the first 7-9 days.  For those who make it past that first week however, their chances of living until migration time are the same as their parents.  Most predation also happens out in the early successional habitats, and may explain why the birds take the young into the adjacent forest.

But that is likely only part of the story, as we also know that many forest interior breeders like Scarlet Tanager and Wood Thrush bring their young out into early successional and edge habitats immediately post fledging. There may be more going on than we know as we try to resolve that dichotomy.

In our next entry in this series, learn how the GWWAWG’s collaboration across borders is solving the mystery of wintering ground preference. Read the full series here.

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