The state Board of Game Commissioners on Tuesday amended the list of state endangered and threatened species and updated scientific nomenclature for a species of warbler.
The upland sandpiper, a grassland nesting bird long-classified as threatened, has been moved to the endangered species list because it has declined precipitously over the last two decades and virtually has disappeared from Pennsylvania.
"We believe the upland sandpiper's rarity and diminished breeding range warrant this move," said Daniel Brauning, Game Commission Wildlife Diversity Division chief.
The northern harrier, once a rare but regular breeder in the state, has experienced a marked decline in Pennsylvania, as well as declines in northwest and northcentral regions over the last few decades, prompting the board to approve adding it to the state's list of threatened birds.
The northern harrier is listed as either endangered or threatened in most neighboring states.
Long-eared owls are extremely rare breeders in Pennsylvania and difficult to survey. Nesting locations have been confirmed in only seven locations in recent years, despite a concerted survey effort over much of the last decade; most nests are located in the Ridge and Valley and Appalachian Plateau regions. The rarity and scattering of nest records within the state prompted listing it as threatened.
Finally, in a reorganization of warbler nomenclature in 2011 by the American Ornithologist's Union, the genus Dendroica was changed to Setophaga, necessitating an administrative change in the scientific name of the blackpoll warbler, which is on the state's endangered species list.