About the Kirtlandii Name
Kirtlandii is the species name of the Kirtland’s Warbler (Setophaga Kirtlandii). Through most of the 1970s and 1980s the Kirtland’s Warbler population was under 500, a dire enough number to get it listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Once recognized, conservationists fought hard to revive the species, focusing on combating its two biggest threats: a lack of suitable breeding habitat and nest parasitism by the Brown-Headed Cowbird.
Threat #1 - Lack of Suitable Breeding Habitat: The Kirtland’s Warbler is an endemic species (range restricted to a specific geographical region), they mostly breed in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan with smaller numbers breeding in Southern Ontario, the Northern Peninsula of Michigan, and Northern Wisconsin. Within their geographic range the Kirtland’s Warbler is very selective when it comes to breeding habitat – only nesting in dense forest of young Jack Pine trees. Once the Jack Pines grow older than 15 years, Kirtland's Warbler will not use the habitat.
Conservation Solution: Conservationists began the arduous process of creating, preserving, and maintaining Kirtland’s Warbler habitat through the continuous process of clear-cutting Jack Pine forest, followed by the planting of Jack Pine seedlings.
Threat #2 - Brown-Headed Cowbird Nest Parasitism: Nest parasitism by the Brown-Headed Cowbird occurs when a female Brown-Headed Cowbird lays her eggs in the nest of a different bird species (referred to as the "host"). In many cases the host does not recognize the imposter egg and will often raise the Brown-Headed Cowbird nestling, which always comes at the expense of the host’s own nestlings, who struggle to compete with the larger Brown-Headed Cowbird nestling. The Kirtland’s Warbler was a frequent victim of Brown-Headed Cowbird parasitism, with surveys at one point indicating that as many as 70% of Kirtland’s Warbler nests contained a Brown-Headed Cowbird egg.
Conservation Solution: Conservationists set Brown-Headed Cowbird traps near Kirtland’s Warbler nesting areas.
Conservation Results: The efforts to save the Kirtland’s Warbler from extinction have proven successful, the most recent estimates put the population at 4,500 and that number appears to be growing each year! The IUCN Red List downgraded the species from Vulnerable to Extinction to Near Threatened in 2005. And in 2018 a proposal was submitted to remove the species from the Endangered List, citing successful recovery efforts. While the recovery efforts and list downgrades are encouraging, it is important to note that the Kirtland’s Warbler received the highest possible Continental Concern Score from The Partner’s in Flight Organization in 2016. In addition, the US Fish & Wildlife Service notes that grant money dedicated to Kirtland’s Warbler habitat management has decreased in recent years.
The Kirtlandii name was chosen because it celebrates an incredible conservation story, that recognizes the work of the conservationists that saved the species, while also serving as a reminder that the work to conserve habitat and sustain species is never complete.
About the Kirtlandii Logo
The Kirtlandii logo depicts two singing Kirtland’s Warbler perched atop a Jack Pine branch. Since Kirtland’s Warbler only breed in young Jack Pine forests, the logo symbolizes the dependent relationship between wildlife and nature and represents Kirtlandii’s commitment to the conservation of wildlife species and their habitats.
About the Kirtlandii Impact
The Kirtlandii Impact, is an initiative that seeks to encourage interest in birdwatching and conservation by showcasing conservation, environmental, and ornithological organizations and figures. For more on the Kirtlandii Impact click here.
All Kirtlandii T-Shirts are:
- Made from 100% Combed Ringspun (30-32 Singles) Pre-Shrunk Cotton*
- What That Means
- Combed = A special treatment that is applied to the cotton before it is spun into yarn. Which results in a more durable and smoother fabric.
- Ringspun = The constant twisting and thinning of cotton strands. Which results in a significantly softer and stronger yarn. The more the fiber is twisted, the higher the “Singles” number will be….
- Singles Number = The thread weight used to manufacture the t-shirt, the higher the number, the softer and more lightweight the shirt will feel. The average 100% cotton t-shirt is 18 singles, at Kirtlandii all t-shirts are manufactured at 30-32 singles. Shirts produced at 30-32 singles are very soft and lightweight without feeling “too thick” or “too thin” – the perfect combination of qualities for a t-shirt!
- Pre-Shrunk = Cotton fibers are compacted together (thus removing space between the stiches, which causes shrinking) during the manufacturing process to limit shrinkage once the shirt is in use. Note: Even pre-shrunk shirts will likely experience some minimal shrinkage once washed.
*Heather Gray T-Shirts are 90% Cotton, 10% Polyester