December news from Michigan Audubon!
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December 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 possible by the commitment of more than 2,500 members statewide. Join, renew, or gift a membership today!

Bird conservation is a core American value, whether inspired by the powerful flight of a Bald Eagle or the charisma of a Blackburnian Warbler. This value is widely supported by citizens of all political persuasions. Now, we face a critical moment. The environment was not a major issue in the recent election, but decisions made by the incoming Congress could have far-reaching impacts for birds and their habitats.

That's why the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is calling on everyone who cares about birds to join together and sign a petition to protect cornerstone legislation and other top conservation priorities. This may be the single best opportunity ever for our community to stand together for birds. Please show your support for bird conservation and ensure that the progress we have made in recent decades is preserved.

The ABC will present the petition and signatures to the new Administration and Congress on January 23, just after the Inauguration. Please sign to show your support for bird conservation today!

Dr. Thompson in the field, circa 1960.
In Memoriam:
Dr. William L. Thompson, Former Michigan Audubon President
The staff, board and members of Michigan Audubon offer our sincere condolences to the family of Dr. William L. Thompson. On November 27th, Dr. Thompson, Wayne State University Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, and former President of the Michigan Audubon Society and Editor of the Jack Pine Warbler, passed away at home in Livonia, MI. 

Services will be held on Wednesday, December 28th at 11:00 am at Rosedale Gardens Presbyterian Church, 9601 Hubbard Ave, Livonia, MI 48150.
Click to learn more about Dr. Thompson
2016 Nest Box Report Available
This year marked the second year of the Capital City Bird Sanctuary nest box trail and the inaugural year for nest boxes at Baker Sanctuary. This is the 4th year of nest box monitoring for Haehnle Sanctuary. Overall, nest success was slightly higher at Baker Sanctuary (site average of 69%) than at Capital City (site average of 61%), but Capital City was much improved from 2015 (site average 47%). Haehnle boxes had a rough year and suffered from vandalism, house sparrows, and a high mortality rate of tree swallow chicks for reasons unknown. 

If you are interested in supporting the nest box trails on our sanctuaries, through donations of time or supplies, please contact Rachelle at To learn more about finding the right box for your yard or how to safely monitor your nest box, visit
Read the full 2016 Nest Box Report
Species Spotlight: Mountain Bluebird
Many birders in Macomb County have had a special treat recently--a Mountain Bluebird. Mountain Bluebirds are fairly rare in Michigan but are common in the wide-open spaces of the West, particularly at middle and higher elevations. They breed in native habitats such as prairie, sagebrush steppe, and even alpine tundra; anywhere with open country with at least a few trees that can provide nest cavities. They also readily take to human-altered habitats, often nesting in bluebird boxes and foraging in pastures. In winter, the species often occurs in large flocks wandering the landscape feasting on berries, particularly those of junipers.
Photo courtesy of Paul Poronto
Birding Trails Workshop Planned for Early 2017!
Birding trails offer birders, naturalists, and general eco-tourists opportunities to explore diverse habitats across Michigan. Michigan Audubon is planning a birding trails workshop to support this grassroots effort throughout the state. If you are interested in attending and learning more about establishing and maintaining a successful birding trail, please click the link below to provide your contact information so we may inform you when a date and location have been secured. 
Sign-up for Birding Trail Workshop Updates
Ornithology: An In-Depth Study of Birds Offered in 2017!
Dea Armstrong and Francie Krawcke will offer their in-depth bird class again in 2017 starting on Tuesday, February 28.  The class will be held at Washtenaw Community College. This is a great course for novice and intermediate birders alike. It is also a wonderful place for photographers to learn more about their subjects.

The class consists of 8 weeks of Tuesday evening lectures and Saturday morning field trips, beginning on February 28.  As in previous years, the class size will be limited to 20 individuals. The class has sold out for 4 years in a row so registering as early as you can is advisable. Tuition is $325 and due at the time of registration. Interested or have any questions? Get in touch with Michigan Avian Experience (734) 347-2637 or
Learn More
Michigan Audubon Welcomes New Staff Members
Michigan Audubon is growing! Please help us welcome our two new part-time employees, Membership Assistant Carrie Nowlin and Administrative Specialist Molly Keenan. 
Carrie’s love of nature stems from growing up on the banks of the Shiawassee River in Owosso, Michigan. The river, woods, and trails provided a wondrous backdrop during her childhood. Carrie currently resides in Okemos and is grateful to be surrounded by nature in her current home as well, including several bird feeders and two resident chickens. Carrie holds a bachelor’s degree in English from CMU. She enjoys being active with her family, reading, music and of course, kicking back in nature.

Molly’s love for the outdoors began as a young girl in her hometown of Elk Rapids where she would frequently explore the woods surrounding her family’s cabin. Known to refer to their well-worn bird guide, she liked flipping through its pages to determine what kind of woodpecker was knocking at the birch tree outside her window or to identify which finch was dining at their birdfeeder. With a degree in journalism from MSU, Molly enjoys using her skills to help organizations that she cares about deeply. Honing communications strategies, assisting with fund development, and nurturing relationships with volunteers, donors, and partners, have played a part in her roles with BoarsHead Theater and the Old Town Commercial Association. In her leisure time, Molly is a devoted crossword-solver, avid reader and enthusiastic singer of show tunes.
We want to hear your feedback so we can stay connected to our chapters, hear your ideas, and continue improving our network and the value of our work together for bird conservation, education, and research in Michigan. Please fill out the survey by December 31st and let us know your thoughts (your answers can remain anonymous).
Take the Chapter Survey
The 117th Annual Christmas Bird Count is underway! We hope you will participate in the nation's longest-running citizen science bird project. 
Find a Christmas Bird Count Circle Near You!

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Michigan Audubon is dedicated to ongoing research, monitoring, restoration, education, and conservation efforts at WPBO, and depends on member support and donations to continue improving bird conservation efforts at WPBO. Be sure to check the next issue of the Jack Pine Warbler for updates from the Point!
Support WPBO
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