Thanks to the conservation efforts and the Endangered Species Act, the black-capped vireo is no longer on the verge of extinction. This tiny migratory songbird was once widely spread across northern Mexico, central Texas, central Oklahoma, and Kansas.
Also, they migrated to the west coast of Mexico where they spent the winter. Fortunately, although they were almost wiped out, their population recovered over the past few years. As such, wildlife officials have come to the conclusion that the black-capped vireo can be removed from the endangered species list.
In the twentieth century, these birds lost much of their habitat. Also, the brown-headed cowbirds laid their eggs in the nests of the vireos. In 1987, the biologists established that there were roughly 350 vireos left, so this species became officially protected by the Endangered Species Act.
Although it was critically endangered, the black-capped vireo made a comeback thanks to various conservation efforts, such as the management of cowbirds, conservation easements, and prescribed fires among others.
Nowadays, there are over 5,200 vireos, based on the biologists’ estimates, but their total number might be higher than 14,000. According to Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, The FWS Director of the Southwest Region, private landowners, the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Oklahoma, Fort Sill, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and Fort Sill joined their efforts over the past three decades to facilitate the recovery of the black-capped vireo.
It is worth mentioning that several organizations filed a lawsuit in 2012 trying to remove this bird from the Endangered Species Act, but the vireos remained on the list. Although this species will be delisted soon, they will still enjoy some conservation benefits because they share habitat with other endangered species, such as the golden-cheeked warbler.
The FWS officials underline that even if the black-capped vireo is removed from the Endangered Species Act, they will continue monitoring this bird for minimum five years until they are absolutely sure that this species won’t become endangered again.
More precisely, the biologists will verify on a regular basis if the vireos’ numbers have remained consistent or they have experienced fluctuations. In addition, the experts expect to have a better perspective on the current status of the black-capped vireo after the Audubon Christmas Annual Bird Count.
Image Source: Wikipedia