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Quad 30 Bird of the Day

Sunday, June 27th
Maple Grove, Michigan


Least Flycatcher

I chose this bird, not because of anything that happened on today's BBS, but for a couple of other good reasons. As a family, the flycatchers seem to be ignored by many birders. A major source of funds for the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas (WBBA) was sponsorship (or adoption) of species for $500. Toward the end, Bettie and I became a little distressed because not a single flycatcher species had been adopted, and with 11 species to chose from, there should be one flycatcher that would "turn on" at least one sponsor. By the way, can you name the 11 species of flycatcher that bred in the state during the Atlas field work period - 1995 through 2000? Through our urging, I believe that at least one species is now on the adoption list. I also figured if I was going to highlight one flycatcher, why not the Least?

The 2nd reason is that I seem to be observing fewer leasts on many of my routes this year compared with the most recent BBS data from these routes. What does the statewide BBS data tell us about its population? BBS data from MI (2.2%), MN (1.2%), and WI (2.2%) all show a statistically significant annual decline since 1966. This trend, although it is smaller, also is apparent survey-wide. The relative abundances of the Least Flycatcher on a BBS route in these 3 states also are similar - MI (3.9 individuals), MN (4.9), and WI (4.3).

So what is going on with the population of this small empid flycatcher? Let's see what the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI) folks can come up with on this species. These deliberations in WI along with the thoughts of those concerned with bird conservation throughout the species range should provide us with insight into what might be happening to its population and what may be done to reverse it.

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