Important Bird Areas

Kirtland's Warbler Management Units & Guide's Rest

Michigan

An aggregate of 27 publicly-owned (and one privately-owned) units in the northern lower peninsula and central and eastern portions of the upper peninsula, managed specifically for the purpose of sustaining the endangered Kirtland's Warbler. Ownership and management of these units is conducted by a recovery team including the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Guide's Rest is owned and managed by Trout Unlimited.

Ornithological Summary

Except for a few nests in Wisconsin, this IBA supports the entire nesting population of the endangered Kirtland's Warbler. Many other significant grassland and upland forest species are present in large numbers including Upland Sandpiper, Black-billed Cuckoo, Clay-colored Sparrow, Field Sparrow, and Brewer's Blackbird.

Ownership

Trout Unlimited owns Guide's Rest, which consists of 0.5% of the IBA by area, the remainder (and vast majority) being split by the U.S. Forest Service and Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The US Fish and Wildlife Service owns many small inholdings. Percentages are approximate.

Habitat

Heavily-managed jack pine ecosystem, about 1.6% (4,000 acres) of which is clearcut annually to create the young stands required for Kirtland's Warbler habitat. In any given year 16% of IBA annually is suitable for nesting (i.e. in the 5-15 yr. post-planting range). 30,000 of the 190,000 acres are available annually, but the entirety of the IBA is required to guarantee availability of habitat annually into the long term.

Land Use

A small portion of the mgt. units is on long-term lease to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources from the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, and is not currently being used for military purposes. In addition to forestry, recreation is also a key land use for the majority of this IBA, including hunting of deer, turkey, and small game, and the use of off-road vehicles. However, the breeding areas are off-limits from May 1 through August 31 each year.