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 Jackson Audubon Society

 The Audubon Society of Jackson County, Michigan

  • 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 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

    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 at 

  • 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,

  • 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

    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 

  • 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

    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

    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

    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:

  • Monday, October 02, 2017 9:48 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Visitors and crane counters watched about 500 cranes fly into the Mud Lake marsh tonight against a beautiful autumn sky.  Two Northern harriers provided a nice warm up act while we waited for the cranes to come in.   

    The Haehnle eBird checklist of 26 species is available at:

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

    Crane Count-495
    Species count-26

    You can view past postings and historical crane counting data at

  • Monday, September 25, 2017 6:58 AM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Haehnle crane counters observed 385 cranes Sunday evening. There were 112 Great Egrets.

    Don Henise's eBird checklist of 46 species is available at:

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

    Crane Count-385
    Species count-46

    Crane counts move to Monday nights Starting on October 2.

  • Friday, September 22, 2017 9:01 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Five members of  Jackson Audubon traveled to Erie Metropark to check out the raptor migrations.  We were able to meet up with new JAS member Chuck M. who came up from Ohio and spent the morning with him while it was still dry.

    While we were not the only ones there on Tuesday, it was bit disappointing as we saw zero raptors.  Some of the group took a stroll along the trail and boardwalk and did get a view of some birds and the beautiful American Lotus plants that thrive in that area.  

     Brenda Wineman shared her eBird post, available at
    While not on that list, and for the record, I did spot a red tail perched on a tree off of I-94 on our drive back home, so we were not totally raptor-free for the day.

    As I often say, "nature ain't Disney" and we take the bad days with the good ones.  Four of us got to have a lunch at a great local burger place on the way back and had an enjoyable drive.  

  • Sunday, September 17, 2017 9:22 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Don Henise reports that the crane counts continue to rise at the Sanctuary.

    Highlights were eight species of raptors including a couple of Broad-winged Hawk Kettles, one of which was over 70 birds.  Also of note were 20+ Great Egrets, 22 Common Nighthawks, and 374 Sandhill Cranes roosting.

    His eBird checklist of 49 species is available at:

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

    Crane Count-374

    Species count-49

    You can view past postings and historical crane counting data at 

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