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Grayling — Officials say a long battle to save a Michigan songbird from extinction has succeeded.

A team that has supported recovery of the Kirtland’s warbler for decades held a final meeting this week in Grayling. It included officials with state and federal agencies, researchers and private groups.

Deputy assistant secretary Michael Bean of the U.S. Department of Interior says a recommendation could come as early as next year to remove the warbler from the endangered species list. A 2015 census estimated the population at 2,366 breeding pairs. That’s up from a low of 167 pairs in 1974.

Bean says work must continue to protect northern Michigan pine forests where the warblers nest. Also needed is funding to continue battling parasitic cowbirds that lay eggs in warbler nests, displacing their young.

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