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Published: Saturday, 5/15/2004

Rare Kirtland warbler makes surprise Ohio visit

Warbler Warbler

HURON, Ohio - A rare songbird has been sighted along the Huron River Greenway.

Brad Phillips, environmental projects coordinator for Erie MetroParks, found a male Kirtland's warbler while walking on Sunday. The greenway is a hiking and biking trail between Huron and Milan.

The Kirtland's warbler is about the size of a sparrow and has a gray-blue head and back, and a conspicuous white eye ring. The bird also is distinguished by its yellow throat, black streaks down the back and flanks, and a wagging tail.

The Kirtland's warbler breeds only in northern Michigan and migrates to the Caribbean in the winter. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources counted 1,202 singing males during the 2003 official census period, up from 1,050 in 2002. In 1987, just 167 males were found.

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