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Michiganders can purchase Kirtland’s warbler license plate starting in January

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michiganders will have a new custom license plate option to choose from this month.

It’s an effort to bring awareness to conservation, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The new plate features the Kirtland’s warbler, a bird that was endangered for half a century until 2019, when the species made a comeback.

Holly Vaughn is the public outreach and engagement unit manager at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

"So we're celebrating their recovery, and their delisting from the endangered species list by featuring this unique Michigan bird on a license plate,” she said.

Vaughn adds that in 1974, there were only 176 nesting pairs in Michigan compared to 2,245 pairs in the present day.

“It is a conservation success story,” she said.

She said two factors contributed to the birds’ repopulation in the state.

"So I think the competition of the combination of habitat management and also, kind of, moving competitors out of the area also helped to restore the populations,” Vaughn said.

People who purchase the plate will have 25% of their fee go toward the Non-Game Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund to support the conservation efforts of Michigan’s endangered species.

Each year owners with the plate renew their vehicle, $10 of the fee will go toward the fund.

The Kirtland’s warbler will be the third animal, after the common loom and elk, to be featured on Michigan’s wildlife habitat plate.

Megan Schellong is the local host and producer for Morning Edition on WKAR.
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