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Call for volunteers to help with bird conservation efforts

Call for volunteers to help with bird conservation efforts

A vigilant adult black tern watches closely as Audubon Great Lakes staffers band her newly hatched chicks. Photo taken by David Fuller.

All of our MI Birds partners are dedicated to bird conservation in Michigan, and many need your help. Several organizations are seeking community science volunteers for different projects across the state. Learn more about each program and sign up to volunteer below.

Safe Passage Great Lakes (March 15 – May 31)

Each year nearly 1 billion birds die from bird-building collisions in the U.S. alone. Volunteers are needed to monitor buildings in urban areas in Michigan that may pose a danger to migrating birds twice weekly between March 15and May 31. The data collected is then used to start conversations with building owners and city officials about making the city a more bird-friendly community.

Interested in becoming part of this community science project?

  • In Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, please contact Heidi Trudell and Alice Elliott at Washtenawsafepassage@gmail.com. 
  • At Wayne State University in*Detroit, please contact Ava Landgraf at alandgraf@detroitaudubon.org. 
  • In Lansing, please contact Linnea Rowse at lrowse@michiganaudubon.org. 
  • If you live somewhere else, but still want to participate, you can submit bird collision observations anywhere using the Global Bird Collision Mapper https://birdmapper.org/app/?utm_campaign=mi+birds+volunteers&utm_medium=mkt+email&utm_source=govdelivery app

Adopt-A-Nest Osprey Monitoring Program (March 23 – July 17)

Volunteer community scientists, like you, can adopt an osprey nest and help monitor these beautiful predatory birds for the summer. Participation in this program requires little effort. All ages and experience levels are welcome.

A minimum commitment of three 15-minute nest visits between the end of March and early July is all it takes to determine if there is a nesting attempt, if birds are actively nesting and if there are any chicks in the nest. You can visit more often if you’d like. Binoculars are adequate for most observations, but a spotting scope is useful to determine the number of chicks. Most nests are located on cell towers and are easily viewable from public roads.

Volunteers are needed only in the following counties: Alpena, Benzie, Calhoun, Cass, Clare, Crawford, Emmet, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kalkaska, Lenawee, Manistee, Missaukee, Montmorency, Muskegon, Osceola, Oscoda, Presque Isle, St Clair, St Joseph, Wexford.

Sign up to adopt an osprey nest.  https://act.audubon.org/onlineactions/fArVY3PBDUCNXfYzzYHYsQ2?utm_campaign=mi+birds+volunteers&utm_medium=mkt+email&utm_source=govdelivery 

Black tern nest platform-building workshops (April – May)

Join MI Birds and Detroit Audubon as we construct nesting platforms to install at St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area on Harsens Island. Black terns are a Michigan species of special concern and have seen population declines since the 1960s. These nesting platforms aim to help increase hatching success of black tern nests within St. Clair Flats. A presentation on black terns will be given prior to platform construction, and light refreshments will be served.

Workshops are scheduled at:

Secretive marsh bird surveys at St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area (May 1 – June 15)

Audubon Great Lakes recently was awarded a Michigan DNR Wildlife Habitat Grant to improve the wetlands at St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area on Harsens Island, which doubles as an Audubon Important Bird Area. This habitat work aims to benefit breeding and migratory waterfowl, but also secretive marsh birds.

We are seeking four to six marsh bird survey volunteers to search for these secretive birds during three morning surveys between May 1and June 15. Volunteer training, including bird identification by sight and sound, and supplies will be provided. Volunteers should have their own binoculars.

Volunteer training will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 4 at St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area. This is the same day as the DNR’s spring birding tour explore the wildlife area in the morning and then join us for the volunteer training session.

Register to volunteer for the secretive marsh bird survey. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/secretive-marsh-bird-surveys-volunteer-training-session-tickets-96986754995?utm_campaign=mi+birds+volunteers&utm_medium=mkt+email&utm_source=govdelivery

Black tern monitoring at Wigwam Bay State Wildlife Area and St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area (May – July)

Black terns, a common colonial waterbird species in steep decline, are a Michigan species of special concern. The Michigan DNR, Audubon Great Lakes, Detroit Audubon, Common Coast Research, the University of Michigan and several other partners are working together to monitor these birds throughout the state.

Volunteers are needed to assist staff in the field on various dates, as they search for black tern nests and record data. In June, black tern capture and banding begins. No previous experience is necessary, but you must be comfortable working in a boat (kayak or canoe), be able to lift 40 pounds and be able to commit to a full, eight-hour day in the field.

  • Wigwam Bay State Wildlife Area: Volunteers needed Wednesday, May 20or Thursday, May 21and Monday, June 15or Tuesday, June 16(weather permitting). Please contact Erin Rowan at erin.rowan@audubon.org if interested. 
  • St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area: Monitoring occurs most Fridays between May 20and July 31. Please contact Ava Landgraf at alandgraf@detroitaudubon.org if interested. 

Ives Road Fen Preserve workday and bird walk with The Nature Conservancy (May 16) 

Join us as we explore and improve the Ives Road Fen Preserve in Britton Saturday, May 16. After our bird walk, well remove invasive plant species and enjoy some snacks.

We’ll start the day at 8:45 a.m. with a bird walk through the fen and floodplain along the River Raisin as we search for migratory songbirds and waterfowl. Well then cut shrubs in the fen and pull knapweed from the planted prairie. At noon we’ll stop work to enjoy some snacks and beverages.

Cutting and digging tools and work gloves will be provided but bring your own if you have some that you like. Bring your own binoculars if you have them. A few extra pairs will be available if needed.

Sign up for the Ives Road Fen Preserve workday and bird walk. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/96972885511?utm_campaign=mi+birds+volunteers&utm_medium=mkt+email&utm_source=govdelivery. Space is limited.

MI Birds is a public outreach and engagement program created by Audubon Great Lakes and Michigan Department of Natural Resources that aims to increase all Michiganders’ engagement in the understanding, care and stewardship of public lands that are important for birds and local communities.

Visit MI Birds https://gl.audubon.org/conservation/bird-friendly-communities/mi-birds?utm_campaign=mi+birds+volunteers&utm_medium=mkt+email&utm_source=govdelivery.

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Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union


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