Jackson Audubon Society

 The Audubon Society of Jackson County, Michigan

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  • Monday, November 20, 2017 9:47 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Crane counters observed 4 cranes landing in the marsh and 65 flybys.  With this cold weather the marsh is expected to be frozen next week so this will probably be the last count of the year.

    Haehnle Sanctuary is open year-round.  We are plowing the parking lot after heavy snows, so you can enjoy the property throughout the winter.

    Don’s eBird checklist of 18 species is available at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40633278

    Crane counters:   Ross Green, Don Henise, and Gary Siegrist
    Compiler:  Don Henise
    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Crane Count-4, ~65 observed flying in area
    Species count-18

    You can view past postings and historical crane counting data at http://www.haehnlesanctuary.org/crane-count.

  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017 5:09 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    We picked the one good day for weather this week and enjoyed a beautiful morning on Watkins lake SP.  Twelve members of JAS met to view wildfowl and other birds in the area.  

    This lake rarely disappoints.  In addition to the usual species, there were 4 winter plumage Bonaparte's Gulls flying about and screeching overhead.  Several great blue herons and a belted kingfisher were still fishing.  The water is still wide open and there were over 3,000 ducks and geese on the lake.


    Some of the party ate breakfast/lunch at Linda's Diner on M-52, just  south of Pleasant lake Rd.  The homemade cinnamon rolls were excellent.

    Our eBird checklist (without quantities) is available at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40525378

    If you've not yet visited since this gem has become a Michigan and Washtenaw County park, you should come on over.  There is a parking lot and lots of walking trails available.  Michigan DNR info available HERE.

  • Monday, November 13, 2017 8:55 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Crane observations were few this evening but our northern shrike remained on his perch keeping us company.  A few whitetail deer, including 2 bucks, popped out of the fen for a look at us.  They seemed a bit anxious, not sure why…

    Blackbird counts are coming down into low three figures from flocks of thousands in earlier weeks. and our first American tree swallow sighting is telling us the season is winding down.  The water in Mud Lake Marsh is still liquid and temperatures will be above freezing so we will continue counts next week.

    My eBird checklist of 26 species is available at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40494350

    Crane counters:   Ross Green, Don Henise, and Gary Siegrist
    Compiler:  Steve Jerant
    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Crane Count-0, ~100 observed flying in area
    Species count-26

    You can view past postings and historical crane counting data at http://www.haehnlesanctuary.org/crane-count 

  • Tuesday, November 07, 2017 6:39 AM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    About 150 cranes were seen flying to the north of Mud Lake Marsh but none landed in the Sanctuary this evening.  High water levels are likely the cause of low numbers of cranes roosting in the marsh.  We did have a good sunset and several bald eagle sightings.  A great blue hereon and a greater yellowlegs tells us the season is not yet over.

    My eBird checklist of 33 species is available at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40356398

    Crane counters:   Ross Green, Don & Robyn Henise, and Gary Siegrist
    Compiler:  Steve Jerant
    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Crane Count-0, ~150 observed flying in area
    Species count-33

    You can view past postings and historical crane counting data at http://www.haehnlesanctuary.org/crane-count


  • Tuesday, October 24, 2017 3:26 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Call to Action!

    Jackson Audubon opposes the proposed Sandhill Crane hunt in Michigan.

    • On October 11, the Michigan House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee voted 5 to 4 to pass House Resolution (HR) 154, which encourages the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to open a recreational sandhill crane hunting season.
    • On October 18, HR 154 was passed in the House.
    • Contact the Natural Resources Commission at 517-284-6237 nrc@michigan.gov to oppose HR 154.

    Since its inception in 1904, the Michigan Audubon community has consistently supported and worked for the protection of native bird species. 

    • Sandhill cranes are a distinctive species and are models of fidelity and longevity.
    • They hold the record as the oldest living bird species.
    • As residents of the Jackson area, we have a special association with cranes.  Casper “Cap Haehnle, an avid hunter, deeded his property, now called the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary, for permanent protection for birds and other wildlife to Michigan Audubon. It has grown to over 1000 acres and has become a regional destination for tourists and birders, especially in the autumn. 

    The economic benefits from crane viewing.

    • Michigan Audubon, including Haehnle, participated in a study on the value of cranes for tourism a few years ago. The number of crane watchers far outnumbers the potential number of crane hunters.
    • The visitor registry at Haehnle Sanctuary continually records visitors from across the US and other countries.
    • Undoubtedly, hunting related dollars have had a positive impact on all wildlife in Michigan.  But current trends suggest more and more that wildlife watchers are enjoying non-hunting forms of recreation and these citizens are willing to spend their dollars to do so.
    • We question the effect hunting cranes will have on the Sanctuary and tourism in Jackson & Calhoun counties.

    Crane population and hunting

    • In 1931, there were only 17 pairs of sandhill cranes in the lower peninsula.  While the bird’s population has recovered, and they are now abundant throughout the Mississippi flyway, we should celebrate this conservation success story rather than risk repeating past mistakes.
    • After years of increasing, the fall population index of cranes in Michigan has leveled off since 2009.  
    • Cranes have one of the lowest recruitment rates, meaning they reproduce at low numbers. 
    • While we recognize that sandhill cranes inflict localized crop damage, it is not widespread. Michigan has already established successful management tools for agricultural stakeholders experiencing issues with this bird.  


  • Monday, October 23, 2017 8:50 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    It was a dark and stormy evening…

    Don, Ross, and I enjoyed close company huddled under the kiosk tonight as 340 cranes came into the Sanctuary.  We had the most flyovers that I’ve seen this year, which is ironic as we could not look up as we were under the kiosk. 

    Visibility was bit limited but we felt pretty comfortable about the crane count. The other species count were low, but we did get a snow goose, 10 great egrets, and several big flocks of robins.  We normally get lots of blackbirds stirring in the marsh and beyond, but we had multiple flybys of European starlings doing their amazing flocking behaviour.    

    My eBird checklist of 25 species is available at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40092549

    Crane counters:   Ross Green, and Don Henise
    Compiler:  Steve Jerant
    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Crane Count-340
    Species count-25

    You can view past postings and historical crane counting data athttp://www.haehnlesanctuary.org/crane-count 



  • Tuesday, October 17, 2017 5:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Ten members of Jackson Audubon traveled south to Ohio to experience the old growth forest of Goll Woods.  This natural area contains many unique tree species as well as some very old and large specimens. Bill Sonnett lead the group through this forest showing us the many species of hickory and oak in abundance.  In addition, we saw Paw Paw, Bladdernut, and Hackberry.


    For more information on this fantastic destination, visit  http://naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/gollwoods,

  • Monday, October 16, 2017 9:27 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    We enjoyed a beautiful autumn evening at the Sanctuary today.  The colors are coming into peak, which unfortunately is more than I can say about the crane counts.  Recent rain is likely causing the low numbers.  Great Egrets continue to come into the sanctuary as do many ducks and thousands of blackbirds.


    My eBird checklist of 40 species is available at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39966798

    Crane counters:    Gary Siegrist, Ross Green, and Don Henise
    Compiler:  Steve Jerant
    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Crane Count-155
    Species count-40

    You can view past postings and historical crane counting data at http://www.haehnlesanctuary.org/crane-count 

  • Tuesday, October 10, 2017 9:53 AM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Crane counts were a bit down Monday evening to about 390.  The team did see a few large lines of cranes land to the north of the Portage River, slightly left of the Zone 4 barn.

    Don’s eBird checklist of 36 species is available at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39800714

    Crane counters:    Gary Siegrist, Ross Green, and Don Henise
    Compiler:  Don Henise
    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Crane Count-296
    Species count-36

    You can view past postings and historical crane counting data at http://www.haehnlesanctuary.org/crane-count.

    updated 11/13/2017 with corrected crane count of 296 from original of 290.

  • Wednesday, October 04, 2017 10:06 AM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Jackson Audubon Trip to Burke Lake Banding Station

    By Pegg Clevenger
    09/26/2017

    You’d never know it by driving down Clark Road in Bath Township that by taking a short walk from a small parking area (located about a mile east of Upton Road) to Michigan State University’s Burke Lake Banding Station that scientists and birds converge. Burke Lake Banding Station performs important data collection in a tent in the woods (by permit from the DNR) near Burke Lake during fall and spring migration.  On most mornings the station is busy with bird and human activity.

    The Tuesday morning Jackson Audubon group was warmly welcomed by the workers, and the experience was educational and thrilling. Going into the woods with the college interns, the narrow planked paths led to many stations of mist nets.  Six or seven birds in each net meant swift action by the trained students. The feathered captives were gently removed and carefully placed into soft fabric bags. Large birds went into wooden boxes with cubby-holes lined with paper.

    Back in the tent the birds were gently weighed, inspected for ticks, measured, blown upon to see their fat and muscle formation and quietly identified, banded and recorded. The intern stepped out with a bird in hand and visitors gathered to examine the beautiful feathers and identify the bird. The migrants were held up in the dappled sunlight for photos. If you held out your palm, the bird was placed there for release.

    Even the paper lining the cubby-holes was charted for berry content left by the individual bird-feces. I learned the true value through recorded data of planting the preferred native spice bush vs. invasive honeysuckle. Examining the tiny kinglets and warblers up-close, observing a sapsucker from all sides, and holding a peewee for many minutes made a connection I could never make through binoculars!

    For more information about the station, check out the Burke Lake Banding Staion’s web site: http://www.burkelakebanding.com/

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