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February eNews

Michigan Audubon connects birds and people for the benefit of both through conservation, education, and research efforts in the state of Michigan.
F O L L O W on T W I T T E R
F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M


Our success is made possible by the commitment of more than 2,500 members statewide. Join, renew, or gift a membership today!
Join the Great Backyard Bird Count
The 20th annual GBBC will be held Friday, February 17, through Monday, February 20, 2017. The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a free, fun, and easy event that engages birders of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world.

Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share. Last year, more than 160,000 participants submitted their bird observations online, creating the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded.
>> Learn more about the Great Backyard Bird Count
Spring Fling and Mackinaw RaptorFest Provide Opportunities to Explore Hawk Identification Techniques
If hawks and other birds of prey are your thing, spring will offer some great opportunities to view and learn about them. Hawks bring both a sense of wonder and struggle to birders, especially when it comes to identifying them in the field. Josh Haas, president of Battle Creek Audubon and co-owner of Glances at Nature Photography and Birding Tours, will be offering opportunities to hone your hawk identification skills at the Mackinaw Raptor Fest and at Spring Fling in April. 

Haas first developed a love for raptors working with the birds of prey at the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Perplexed by seeing specks at a distance with an overwhelming itch to know what they were, he started learning from veteran hawk watchers along Lake Erie and was immediately hooked. He would end up spending six fall seasons working with the Detroit River Hawkwatch as a relief counter where he honed his skills and developed a love for teaching visitors unique ways of telling the shadowy specs apart. 

Haas will be offering a workshop entitled Raptor Migration and Conquering ID: Using Video to Make Raptor ID a Snap! at the beginning of April at the Mackinaw RaptorFest and will be debuting his brand new video Hawks on the Wing: Seeing Beyond Field Marks at Spring Fling at the end of April where he will be the keynote speaker. In the meantime, check out his new Hawks on the Wing website.

To learn more about Spring Fling and the Mackinaw RaptorFest, click the links below.
>> Spring Fling at WPBO
>> Mackinaw RaptorFest
Spring Fling: Registration Now Open; Call for Volunteers
April 29-30, 2017 will mark the 29th Annual Spring Fling: WPBO’s Celebration of Bird Migration, when members and their guests migrate to Paradise, Michigan and the Whitefish Point area to visit with old friends, both human and avian. Join us for excellent field trips, guided bird walks, workshops including Bird Songs and Vocalizations by Bob Pettit and Piping Plovers by Vince Cavalieri, presentations and a special banquet and silent auction with keynote speaker Josh Haas as he debuts his brand new DVD entitled Hawks on the Wing: Seeing Beyond Field Marks.

Registration is now open! Remember, current Michigan Audubon members receive a 20% registration discount.

If you are interested in volunteering at Spring Fling, we would be grateful, as it takes many hands to make this event a success. Please contact Lindsay Cain, Michigan Audubon Education Coordinator, at or 517-580-7364 to join the Spring Fling volunteer team.
>> Michigan Audubon members click here to register for Spring Fling
>> Non-members click here to register for Spring Fling
Purple Martins to be the focus of first 2017 Michigan Audubon Workshop Series
Graceful and entertaining, the Purple Martin is a swallow species that has adapted to depend on human-made birdhouses for survival in the eastern U.S.

If you have open space or live on a lake or stream, you might enjoy investing a bit of time monitoring your own colony this summer. Michigan Audubon will also be working this year to establish a few Purple Martin colonies in the Lansing area and would welcome volunteers interested in helping to monitor these efforts. You can help ensure the longevity of this fascinating species that is on the decline in Michigan.

Michigan Audubon is pleased to welcome Penny Briscoe to host the workshop, How to be a Good Purple Martin Landlord. Briscoe is a local expert with more than 25 years’ experience. The workshop will be held at the Michigan Audubon office in Okemos, MI.

Learn how to acquire and install suitable housing, prepare nests for spring arrival, and perform regular nest checks to ensure survival of young birds. Briscoe will also share useful internet resources and discuss recording and submitting data.

Preregistration is required and will be opening soon. If you have questions, please contact Lindsay Cain, Michigan Audubon Education Coordinator at or 517-580-7364.

Michigan Audubon sponsors a workshop series on the second Tuesday of each month from March through October. Each month, the workshop will focus on a different topic related to birds and birding. Different skill levels and interests will be covered throughout the year. Workshops are held at the Michigan Audubon Office, 2310 Science Parkway, Suite 200, Okemos MI 48864.
Boy, do we feel silly!
Readers of the Jack Pine Warbler, our bi-monthly membership magazine, may have noticed the stunning photograph of a Red-breasted Merganser gracing the cover of our January-February issue. This beautiful photograph was generously provided to us by a superb nature photographer, Daniel Behm. Unfortunately, we inadvertently identified it as a Common Merganser on the inside cover in a short informational piece regarding an outbreak of type E botulism in northern Michigan. To make matters worse, we also misidentified another wonderful photograph provided by Mr. Behm. The photograph on p. 10 was mistakenly labeled as a Greater Scaup, but it is clearly a magnificent photograph of a Long-tailed Duck. We take full responsibility for these errors, apologize profusely to Mr. Behm and our readers, and vow to do everything possible to make sure we avoid such errors in the future. The staff member responsible has been summarily chastised, provided with copies of every field guide in the office, and sent to their room without dinner to study.

To view additional remarkable (and correctly identified) bird, wildlife and nature-related photographs of Daniel Behm, please visit:
Copyright © 2017 Michigan Audubon, All rights reserved.

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