The State of Blackpoll Warblers
Regionally: Probably Declining
Mountain Birdwatch data paint a mixed picture for Blackpoll Warbler. Results show a steep decline in recent years in the mountains of the northeastern United States. Data collected during the first ten years of Mountain Birdwatch, however, show an apparently stable population.
Globally: Probably Declining
Overall, Blackpoll Warbler appears to have been declining in numbers for many decades. Data collected by the Breeding Bird Survey indicate large declines in the number of Blackpoll Warblers counted across Canada (where most of the population lives), especially between 1970 and 1990. This species is very difficult to monitor, however, because its core breeding habitat is so remote and inaccessible. As such, confidence in these estimates is low.
Opportunities for Conservation
Scientists have not studied Blackpoll Warblers sufficiently to understand where and how to target conservation interventions. Although we know much about their spectacular migration, other phases of their life cycle remain a mystery. Mountain Birdwatch is the only monitoring program that rigorously tracks Blackpoll Warbler populations, but it covers only a small part of the species’ range. As such, we cannot say for sure how the population has changed or what specific threats it faces.
What We Can Do to Help
Most importantly, we need more monitoring and research. In particular, we need projects that help us better understand the true population status of Blackpoll Warbler and its winter habitat requirements.