Cross-fostering as a management tool for the Kirtland's warbler

  • Published source details Brewer R. & Morris K.R. (1984) Cross-fostering as a management tool for the Kirtland's warbler. Journal of Wildlife Management, 48, 1041-1045.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Foster eggs or chicks of songbirds with wild non-conspecifics (cross-fostering)

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Foster eggs or chicks of songbirds with wild non-conspecifics (cross-fostering)

    A replicated study in 1978 and 1980 in a parkland site in Michigan, USA (Brewer & Morris 1984), transferred yellow warbler Dendroica petechia eggs and nestlings (two to six days old) to chipping sparrow Spizella passerina nests and found that four of six clutches transferred in 1978 produced fledglings that were fed by foster parents 16-26 days after hatching. In 1980, 34 fledglings were produced from a total of 64 eggs and 13 nestlings that were transferred into 26 nests. Eleven reached an age of at least 24 days and one male was seen returning to the study area in 1981 and showing normal yellow warbler behaviour. Incubation and nestling periods in cross-fostered chicks were identical to previously published results for yellow warblers, but survival of cross-fostered chicks was lower than previously published results. In 1978, nestlings and eggs were also transferred to field sparrow S. pusilla, and house wren Troglodtyes aedon, but the results were not provided. This study was used to investigate the possibility of cross-fostering Kirtland’s warblers D. kirtlandii, which was endangered at the time of the study.


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