Once nearly extinct, songbird coming off endangered list

FILE - This May 19, 2008, file photo shows a Kirtland's warbler, an endangered songbird that lives in the jack pine forests of northern Michigan, near Mio, Mich. More than a half-century after declaring the Kirtland's warbler endangered, the federal government Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, said the small, yellow-bellied songbird had recovered and was being dropped from its list of protected species.(AP Photo/John Flesher File)
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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- The Kirtland's warbler is being removed from the federal endangered species list after a successful battle to save it from extinction.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday that the yellow-bellied songbird has recovered but will continue to rely on habitat preservation measures for long-term survival.

It nests in the young jack pines of northern Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario that must be logged and replanted on a regular basis to mimic wildfires that historically regenerated the forests.

Efforts also will continue to keep away brown-headed cowbirds that invade warbler nests.

After falling to 167 pairs in 1987, the population is now about 2,300 pairs.