October 2016

Michigan Audubon

Michigan Audubon connects birds and people for the benefit of both through conservation, education, and research efforts in the state of Michigan.

Join Us this Weekend for CraneFest!
Enjoy the spectacle of thousands of cranes flying in to Baker Sanctuary, a brief pit stop on their way to warmer wintering grounds. Visitors to the festival are encouraged to bring binoculars, video cameras, spotting scopes and cameras to record the event. We recommend bringing lawn chairs or blankets, as available seating is limited.

In addition, the work of some of Michigan’s top professional artists will be displayed and on sale. The Festival also features guided nature walks, kids activities, a large selection of nature and picnic areas and food concessions, and much more. Live hawks, falcons and owls will also be on display.

The Kiwanis Youth Conservation Area is the festival site for the Sandhill Crane and Art Festival. Crane viewing will take place both days of the CraneFest event, though crane activity begins to peak near dusk. 

We hope to see you there! If you need more information or would like to volunteer, please contact Michigan Audubon Education Coordinator, Lindsay Cain, at or call 517-580-7364.

From I-69 turn west on N Dr. North (Exit 42). Follow N Dr. North .5 mile to the blinker at Cornwell’s Turkeyville. Turn north (right) onto 15-1/2 Mile Rd. Go 3.4 miles, joining 15 Mile Rd. along the way. The entrance to the Kiwanis Youth Conservation Area is located on the east side of the road. The address is 22300 15 Mile Rd, Bellevue, MI 49021.

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Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Receives Federal Protection

Michigan's lone venomous snake, the eastern massasauga rattlesnake, has received federal protection as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced recently.

The designation follows a landmark settlement agreement between Fish and Wildlife and the nonprofit environmental advocacy organization Center for Biological Diversity that will expedite protection decisions for 757 species.

Michigan Audubon has documented the eastern massasauga on our Baker and Otis Sanctuaries. If you encounter an eastern massasauga while visiting one of our sanctuaries, consider yourself lucky and please let our Conservation Science Coordinator Rachelle Roake know. You can contact Rachelle at or by calling 517-580-7364.

Learn More »

Detroit River Hawk Watch Underway

During the autumn months, the lower Detroit River becomes a corridor for the passage of migratory birds, and has gained international recognition for the annual volume of birds of prey. Hundreds of thousands of migrating hawks, eagles, falcons, and vultures are concentrated at this location where it is possible to systematically count them each year. A standardized monitoring program is conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge (DRIWR) and its friends group, the International Wildlife Refuge Alliance (IWRA) at the Lake Erie Metropark in Gibraltar, MI.

Dustin Brewer and Natalie Cypher are currently leading a team of volunteers on this three-month data collection marathon, not ending until 4PM EDT on November 30th. Counters will be stationed each day at the Lake Erie Metorpark boat launch tallying over 600 hours scanning the skies, usually resulting in between 100,000 to as many as 266,000 migrating bird-of-prey. Now is a great time to join the counting team at the boat launch and witness spectacular flights of Broad-winged Hawks, Turkey Vultures, Sharp-shinned Hawks, and both Bald and Golden Eagles.


Photo Courtesy of Detroit River Hawk Watch

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Upcoming Events 

Cranes, Colors & Cabernet 2016
Saturday October 15th from Noon-Dusk
Join the Jackson Audubon Society as they team up with Sandhill Crane Vineyards and the Big 400 to celebrate sandhill crane migration and fall colors. This years event takes place on Saturday, October 15th from noon until dusk at the Haehnle Sanctuary. Activities include guided walking tours, a natural history talk with a focus on sandhill migration, a car tour and numerous opportunities for wildlife and crane viewing and photography. For more information, please contact

Cranes, Colors & Cabernet Schedule at Haehnle Sanctuary:
12:00 PM Walking tour led by a Haehnle naturalist
2:00 PM Walking tour led by a Haehnle naturalist
4:00 PM Lecture on natural history of the Sandhill Crane
4:30 PM Car tour to view cranes in surrounding fields
4:30 to dark: Wildlife and crane viewing with Haehnle naturalist

Michigan Audubon Volunteer Open House
Interested in volunteering for Michigan Audubon? Join us Tuesday October 25 from 10:00-11:00 am at our office, 2310 Science Parkway, Suite 200, Okemos, MI 48864. Enjoy coffee and snacks while learning about different volunteer opportunities within Michigan Audubon. For more information, contact Lindsay Cain, 517-580-7364, or

Fall Owl Banding at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
The fall owl banding season is well underway. The season has been productive thus far, considering recent weather conditions at WPBO. Evening owl programs are held each Thursday and Saturday night starting at 7:45 PM and will run through October 29th. For more information, visit or call 906-492-3596.

Event Calendar »

Volunteer Corner
Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities

Wildflower Seeding Volunteer Day at Baker Sanctuary
Tuesday, October 11, 1:00- 3:00 PM
​Volunteers are needed to help hand-broadcast native grass and wildflower seed at Baker Sanctuary. This is an easy workday that will have a big impact for birds. Please meet at the main Baker Sanctuary parking lot at 21145 15 Mile Road. Dress for an afternoon in the outdoors; bring light gardening gloves if you wish. 

Fall Garden Party
Wednesday, October 19, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Please join us to prep our native gardens for winter! During this volunteer workday, we'll be planting a few plugs, transplanting, sprinkling mulch, and weeding where needed. Afterwards, we'll walk the nature trails to take in the fall color while enjoying fall treats. Please bring gardening gloves and tools and dress for outdoor weather. We hope to see you there!

Capital City Bird Sanctuary is located at 6001 Delta River Drive, Lansing, MI (northwest Lansing). The sanctuary's driveway is on the south side of Delta River Drive, east of the parking area for Hawk Meadow Park. For more information, please contact Rachelle Roake at or 517-580-7364.

USFWS Annual Fall Sandhill Crane Survey
October 28-November 4 and November 9-November 13
Volunteers across the state are needed to survey gatherings of Sandhill Cranes as they make their way south during fall migration. There are two survey periods: Oct 28 - Nov 4 and Nov 9 - Nov 13. ​While the USFWS encourages volunteers to survey once during each survey period (total of 2 surveys), surveying ​only once is fine as well. We will be organizing groups of surveyors at Baker and Haehnle Sanctuaries, but help is needed across the state. Please contact us at if you'd like more information on the surveys. 

How to Help »

Join the Kroger Community Rewards Program and they will donate a percentage of your receipts to a non-profit of your choosing! Create an account and enter the numbers 90227 to support Michigan Audubon! Re-enroll today! »