Friday, March 17, 2017

Among the Fur Seals – A Birding Adventure on St. Paul Island, Alaska

In September of 2016, four members of the Petoskey Regional Audubon Society took a trip to Alaska. They spent five days on the remote St. Paul Island.  Current Petoskey Regional Audubon Society president Darrell Lawson will present a photographic and informational journey through their adventure, providing details of the island's rich history, culture, and wildlife.

Join us at the Lake Bluff Audubon Center on Wednesday April 12th at 7:00 for this program as well as discussion about Manistee area wildlife and bird sightings and refreshments.  Public is welcome!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

By Kathy Bricker, Secretary, Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch

Mackinaw City

Registration is well underway for the second Mackinaw Raptor Fest, according to Kathy Bricker, Secretary of the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch. She welcomes people to come learn more about birds and their twice-a-year migration at this event April 7 to 9 at the Mackinaw City Public School.

The Mackinaw Raptor Fest provides an entertaining and educational showcase to promote public awareness and knowledge of raptors and waterbirds and the significance of Mackinaw City and the Straits of Mackinac during migration. It promotes positive public attitudes towards raptors and waterbirds and their importance to the environment. It aims to become an internationally renowned annual festival that will generate ongoing ecotourism revenue for the Mackinaw City/Cheboygan/Petoskey/Harbor Springs area, new sponsorship for research on raptors and waterbirds, and net proceeds to further that research.

“Last year,” Bricker explains, “many more people wanted to attend than we could accommodate. So we have moved the banquet and keynote speech to a larger venue.” Bricker believes the Fest may draw up to 120 people from around Michigan and nearby states. Already, 60 volunteers have offered to help with advance preparations, sign-in, site set-up, food service, outdoor guidance to birders and photographers, and other needs.

The keynote banquet speaker on Saturday April 8 will be researcher Mark Martell. From Duluth, Minnesota, Martell will regale people with stories about Golden Eagles, close relatives of the more widely-known Bald Eagle. In 2015 Martell, the foremost researcher of eastern Golden Eagles, praised MSRW for recording more Golden Eagles than any other hawk count site east of the Mississippi River. MSRW counted 374 in 2015 and 349 in 2016.

Daytime plenary sessions at the Mackinaw Raptor Fest will teach people how to identify hawks in flight, with instructional film excerpts, and will introduce participants in person to live birds of prey. Break-out session topics include Raptor Migration in the Midwest, Peregrine Falcons in Michigan, Use of Hawk Migration Data, Bird Photography, Owl Migration in the Straits, Loon Research, and the documentary film Uncommon Loon by Jeff Lange of Petoskey.

“April 7 to 9 promises to combine the fun of birding and learning about birds with camaraderie and great food.” Bricker invites people to learn more and register at

“It gets even better,” Bricker adds. "Besides the Mackinaw Raptor Fest, MSRW will improve other outreach about hawks and owls in 2017, thanks to the generosity of the Petoskey Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation. The PHSACF has pledged $7,000 for special programming and publicity to build on the enthusiastic public reaction to our avian resources. Birds comprise the feathered component of the natural inheritance under our generation's care, and are every bit as vulnerable as they look. Their future depends directly on our appreciation and actions.”

In 2016, MSRW recorded over 1,500 guest visits to the hawk, owl, and waterbird research sites, while several hundred more people attended programs and field trips. Support from PHSACF will help ensure that such people, including youth, come away with a greater awareness and understanding of birds. The Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau also gave generously toward the 2017 educational work of MSRW, recognizing the potential of birds to attract visitors to northern lower Michigan. Additional Fest Sponsors are joining in 2017.

MSRW Chair Ed Pike, sums up: “Since MSRW was created in 2014, we have proven that the Straits of Mackinac ranks among the top migration funnels in the country for birds of prey. It's vital to continue this research to monitor changes over time. We also have tapped into the fastest-growing pastime in the U.S.: birdwatching. Bird research, education, and conservation dovetail perfectly, because people must experience and understand natural resources in order to value and protect them.” To directly support the research or education work, MSRW accepts tax-deductible donations via the website or by check.

Friday, December 30, 2016

January 2017 Program

WED. Jan. 11 at 7PM  at Oak Grove Cremation Center 85 Cypress St. Manistee

Borneo's Forest Battle:  Palm Oil vs. the Rainforest

There are two islands in the world where orangutans still survive: Borneo and Sumatra.  The most ancient forests of the world here are rapidly being replaced by palm oil plantations as shown above while endangered wildlife struggle to survive.

We can all make more conscious decisions about our consumption of palm oil.  Join Amalia Fernand for an evening discussion on the endemic beauty of Borneo, the crucial fate of the gentle red ape, and what you really can do to help.  

Amalia will present a slideshow of breathtaking photos from her year spent in Borneo and her visit to Sumatra.  She worked directly with orangutan conservation and environmental education efforts, and developed a strong understanding of the current conservation issues that this ecological hotspot faces.

Amalia is an environmental educator and travel blogger, learn more at

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Manistee Christmas Bird Count

Saturday December 17

contact Brian Allen at 231-510-9380 or email for joining the count.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

November 2016 Manistee Audubon program

November Meeting Wednesday November 9th at Manistee Dial-a-Ride Building 7:00PM

Can We Save Our Birds?

In 2014, just over 200 of North America’s birds were at risk of extinction. Now, a mere two years later, that number has grown to more than 430 avian species at risk of extinction. If this downward slide continues, we could lose many of these beautiful creatures in the next generation. Noted speaker, award winning writer and Executive Director of Saving Birds Thru Habitat, Kay Charter views the decline as a much more than a serious cause for concern. For her, it is a clarion call to action, not just for birders, but for all of us.
Join her at 7PM on Wednesday evening, Nov. 9 at Manistee Dial-a-Ride (next to the old Oleson’s store) for a presentation sponsored by Manistee Audubon to learn about the hazards and challenges our wonderful birds face. Charter will offer easy to follow recommendations on how every person can make a difference for these amazing feathered creatures.
As Executive Director of SBTH charter has presented her engaging and informative programs to city governments, libraries, schools, colleges, Audubon clubs, service organizations and garden groups across the country. She was a featured speaker at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, the Cox Arboretum in Dayton, Morton Arboretum near Chicago and the 2006 Rivers and Wildlife Festival in Kearney, Nebraska. In 2007, she presented a seminar on the subject of bird conservation to a standing room only crowd at the world renowned Zoological Society of San Diego’s Center for Conservation and Research for Endangered Species. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

September field trip:

Fall sparrows, ID challenges and fall migrant birding

Field trip for Manistee Audubon, Benzie Audubon and the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy.  Meet at 8:00AM this Saturday September 10th at the kiosk on Keillor Rd. at the Arcadia Dunes Grassland Preserve north of Bear Lake, in Manistee County.

LeConte's Sparrow seen at Arcadia Marsh this spring, photo by Brian Allen.

We will meet at the grassland and look for Grasshopper, Clay-colored, and Field Sparrows as well as the more common Savannah Sparrows and go to the new "magic sparrow fencerow" where we will hopefully be able to study these shy birds out in the open.  The trip will finish up at the Arcadia Marsh with a walk out on the dike and a look at the marsh hoping for rarities like LeConte's and Nelson's Sparrow but not passing up the herons, ducks, coots, and gallinules that should still be around.  For questions call Brian Allen at 231-510-9380.