Wednesday, April 22, 2009


About thirty folks from Manistee Audubon and Benzie Audubon met at the lakeside park in Arcadia for a morning of birdwatching. The Grand Traverse Audubon also had a field trip in the area. About 82 species were seen by Manistee folks. The following is a list of species seen by our group during the beautiful, sunny, warm, morning:

Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Sandhill Crane, Mute Swan, Snow Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Blue-winged Teal, Wood Duck, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Hooded Merganser, American Coot, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Common Snipe, Herring Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Turkey Vulture, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Osprey, American Kestrel, Ruffed Grouse, Ring-necked Pheasant (released bird), Rock Dove, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Horned Lark, Tree Swallow, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, Brown Creeper, White-breasted Nuthatch, Winter Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, European Starling, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Vesper Sparrow, Song Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Lapland Longspur, Eastern Medowlark, Red-winged Blackbird, Rusty Blackbird, Brewer's Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Grackle, House Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, House Finch.

If we had some more warblers and shorebirds it would have been a really big list, but hopefully that will come later!

Closer to home, at Lake Bluff we've seen a rose breasted grossbeak and towhee. The male goldfinches are all wearing their bright 'courting yellow' and a woman in Freesoil reports hearing an oriole. Now if it would just stop snowing...

Rich and Brian @ Lake Bluff

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Help raise money without giving a penny!

A proposal from American Bird Conservancy has become a finalist for a major $200,000 grant from the Green Mountain Coffee Company in their Changing Climate Change grant competition. ABC is one of five finalists in the "Threats to Coffee Growing Communities" category, and part of the selection process includes public input. In other words, we need your vote to help us win the grant! Follow this link and click the "Support it" button on the right of the web page.
Shade coffee plantations in the Andes Mountains are valuable habitat for wintering migratory birds such as the Cerulean Warbler, the fastest declining songbird in North America. The mature trees that grow alongside the coffee crop also act as a valuable carbon store. Unfortunately, shade coffee plants produce a lower bean yield than plants bred to grow in sun coffee farms that are devoid of trees, and thus they provide a lower income for farmers. As a result, shade farms are being converted to sun farms, and birds and the environment are paying the price.
ABC's proposed project, developed in partnership with the Colombian coffee federation (CENICAFÉ), will calculate the amount of carbon stored in shade coffee plantations versus the much lower carbon value of sun coffee plantations. It will then test a system to provide financial incentives to farmers to keep their coffee in shade using funding for carbon offsets paid for by corporations.
If successful, this project stands to benefit farmers across millions of acres of the Andes, and could be a major advance in the battle to save the Cerulean Warbler. The project will have multiple additional benefits for local communities in terms of the protection of watersheds and traditional farming techniques.
Please support ABC's proposal today (or please, no later than April 6). It will only take a moment of your time, so vote now!
Just click here, then click the "Support it" button on the right-hand side of the web page.
And don't forget to forward this email to a friend, too!
Thank you,
Michael J. ParrVice President,American Bird Conservancy

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The State of the Birds

Important Reading!!
U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently released a comprehensive report on bird populations in the country. The report indicates that while some bird population declines have been stemmed or reversed by habitat restoration, still over 30% of the nation's 800 species are in decline or threatened or endangered. More information can be found at
Birds, like almost every living thing, play a vital role in how the planet works...not the least of which is control of insect populations. Visit the web link above! Take action!