Friday, September 1, 2023

Michigan's Threatened and Endangered bird species


There has been a revision of the threatened and endangered species list for the state of Michigan. Many of the changes in the lists below were first formulated in 2015, but the state legislature did not act on them. They were revisited in 2019 but the finalization was delayed by covid. I co-chaired the committee in 2015, and chaired it in 2019.

To determine changes or additions in the threatened and endangered species, a techinical committee reviews available data from multiple sources, and applies criterion that utilize those data in close association with the state conservation status rankings. This is the system used by NatureServe and its member Natural Heritage programs, in our case the Michigan Natural Features Inventory. The legislation underpinning endangered species protection in Michigan can be viewed here, and the state's public comment period announcement that briefly outlines the entire process is here.

Generally, the list reflects elevations or new listings of species whose populations or state ranks have deteriorated in recent years, or downlistings of species whose populations or state ranks have improved. Some adjustments have also been made to rare species that are at the edge of their breeding ranges in Michigan, but have healthy populations elsewhere. This represented a change in how we looked at species, but the criteria are now more standardized, objective, and hopefully favor a more proactive rather than reactive approach. I'd have to say there are a few changes I'd propose to this list today based on additional data or new knowledge coming to light just in the last few years. 

The revised bird list as of 2023 is below, with changes noted. For a complete list of all of Michigan's Threatened and Endangered Species, including plants, click here.

King Rail
Piping Plover
Long-eared Owl - elevated from threatened
Short-eared Owl
Barn Owl
Loggerhead Shrike (migrant subspecies)
Henslow’s Sparrow

Spruce Grouse - elevated from special concern
Eastern Whip-poor-will - elevated from special concern
Yellow Rail
Common Gallinule
Upland Sandpiper - new
Caspian Tern
Black Tern - elevated from special concern
Common Tern
Forster’s Tern
Common Loon
Least Bittern
Northern Goshawk - elevated from special concern
Peregrine Falcon - downlisted from endangered
Evening Grosbeak
Louisiana Waterthrush
Kirtland's Warbler - downlisted from endangered
Golden-winged Warbler - elevated from special concern
Cerulean Warbler

Special Concern (no legal protection)
Trumpeter Swan - downlisted from threatened
Northern Bobwhite - new
Sharp-tailed Grouse
Common Nighthawk
Wilson’s Phalarope
American Bittern
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Northern Harrier
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk - downlisted from threatened
Red-headed Woodpecker
Black-backed Woodpecker
Merlin - downlisted from threatened
Boreal Chickadee - new
Sedge Wren - new
Marsh Wren
Wood Thrush - new
Grasshopper Sparrow
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark - new
Prothonotary Warbler
Connecticut Warbler - new
Hooded Warbler
Prairie Warbler - downlisted from endangered

Species removed from lists
Osprey - was special concern (populations improved)
Western Meadowlark - was special concern (edge of range)
Yellow-throated Warbler - was threatened (edge of range)