Kick Off Kirtland’s Warbler Weekend with the Home Opener Event

KW_DanKennedyDNR (3)Photo: Dan Kennedy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Join with the Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance to celebrate a recovery milestone for the species

Grayling and Roscommon-This year’s Kirtland’s Warbler Weekend takes on even greater meaning as it marks the first time in history that the species’ recovery has been deemed successful enough to propose removing it from the Endangered Species List. This achievement will be honored at the June 1 Kirtland’s Warbler Home Opener event hosted by the Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance. The event will feature Keith Creagh, the director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Tracy Grazia, wildlife program manager for the Eastern Region of the U.S. Forest Service and Charlie Wooley, assistant regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The event runs from 6:30pm to 9:00pm at the Kirtland Community College Health Sciences Building in Grayling. Tickets are $25 ticket and can be reserved by phone at (989) 448-2293 ext. 21, or by emailing

The Kirtland’s Warbler population has come a long way since being the first bird to be placed on the Endangered Species List in 1973. The proposed delisting is recognition of over 50 years of commitment to Kirtland’s Warbler conservation among government agencies, non-governmental organizations and individuals. It also signifies a changing focus in Kirtland’s Warbler conservation from recovery to long-term sustainability.

“The members of the Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance always look forward to our annual Home Opener event,” said Jerry Rucker, the organization’s chairman. “This year’s event is even more special because of the proposed delisting. It gives us a chance to look back at the achievements of the past half-century, but it also gives us a chance to talk about future goals and how we will achieve them.

“Over the past two years, we’ve been working with our agency partners to build a strong future for the Kirtland’s Warbler on plans that will continue conservation efforts in smarter, more efficient ways. It’s great to have a chance to explain those goals and strategies to the community,” Rucker said.

“The Kirtland’s Warbler is a great conservation recovery success story, highlighting the power of organizations, people and industry to join together to recover an endangered species,” said Wooley of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “With the ongoing commitment from federal, state and private conservation partners to keep working together, the Kirtland’s Warbler will always be a part of the Michigan landscape and beyond.”

“The Forest Service is proud to be a partner in providing breeding habitat for the Kirtland’s Warbler. As we approach this milestone in conservation, I credit the dedication, hard work and cooperation of our employees, our partners and volunteers, past and present,” said Grazia of the U.S. Forest Service. “In the warbler’s winter habitat, our International Institute of Tropical Forestry led efforts to identify habitat in The Bahamas, and fostered wildlife conservation there by training students to become conservation leaders. Conserving habitat across the species’ entire range is essential for its long-term survival. “

The Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance was formed in 2013 to help lay the groundwork for continued conservation of the Kirtland’s Warbler. The efforts of the Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance have led to increased public involvement and interest in the species through educational outreach and increased access to Kirtland’s Warbler habitat. Involving the broader public does more than help a single species, it improves conservation practices and natural resource health throughout the region.

Please join the Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance to celebrate this remarkable recovery story over the weekend of June 1-2.

The Kirtland’s Warbler Home Opener
Friday, June 1, 6:30pm-9:00pm
Kirtland Community College Health Sciences Building
4800 W. 4 Mile Rd., Grayling
Enjoy food, drinks, presentations and celebration.

The Kirtland’s Warbler Festival
Saturday, June 2, 7:00am-5:00pm
CRAF Center
606 Lake St., Roscommon

The festival will include vendors, family activities, Kirtland’s Warbler tours at 7:30am and 10:00am, a speaker panel from 12:30pm to 2:10pm, a raptor program at 3:30pm and more.

For more information on the weekend’s events visit

The Kirtland’s Warbler Home Opener is supported in part by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, Consumers Energy Foundation, American Bird Conservancy, Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service and Marguerite Gahagan Nature Preserve.                                                   

The Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance was formed in 2013. Its mission is to ensure the long-term viability of the Kirtland’s Warbler in advance of and after the delisting of the species from the federal Endangered Species List and foster a broad understanding of the jack pine ecosystem.