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 Jackson Audubon Society

 The Audubon Society of Jackson County, Michigan

  • Monday, February 12, 2018 4:19 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    JAS member Lynn Ward has provided article by Michigan Bluebird Society president Kurt Hagemeister on how you can Help Bluebirds in Michigan.  

    MBS has announced their Spring Bluebird Festival to take place on March 24th.  The sessions this year will include Purple Martin Conservation and Michigan Birds of Prey, in addition to those on bluebirds. 

    Details on the festival are available at HERE.

  • Wednesday, January 31, 2018 8:09 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Robert Ayotte presented  “Conifers of the Great Lakes Region" at Hidden Lake Gardens on Tuesday.  His excellent program was enjoyed by about 40 people from Jackson Audubon, Men's Garden Club of Jackson, North American Rock Garden Society, and the Ann Arbor Bonsai Society.   Robert provided an in-depth view of our native conifers of Michigan including habitat, pests, and natural distribution.

    Steve Jerant

    The indoor presentation was followed by an outdoor walk around Hidden Lake to see some of these species up close. Robert also shared some amusing and informative stories with the group.

    Lynne Ekerle

    Robert's Presentation is available HERE.

    Steve Jerant

    Special thanks to Mickey Kress for getting this arranged for the Tuesday Morning Group.

    Lynne Ekerle

    Lynne Ekerle

  • Monday, January 01, 2018 10:54 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Waterloo Recreation Area 49th Annual Christmas Bird Count 2017

    The 49th annual Jackson Audubon Christmas Bird Count was held this year on December 16th.  Cloudy conditions and a chilly wind greeted the thirty precipitants as they split up into the ten areas that makes up the Waterloo Recreation Area Count. With temperatures reaching into the mid-thirties by afternoon the counters amassed a total of 95.25 hours in the field with 567.5 miles driven or walked. The fifteen hearty soles that went owling were treated to a cool wind blowing and temperatures in the mid-to-high twenties. Their efforts were rewarded with ten eastern screech owls, 10 great horned owls, and 1 barred owl being heard.   

    With very few waterfowl found, sixty-three bird species were recorded for the count day this year with another four-bird species seen in count week but not on count day. This is a very respectable total considering that all water was frozen other than moving water. The record total for a Waterloo Recreation Area CBC happened in 2001 when we found a total of 71 bird species.

    A total of 7,232 birds were counted, with Canada Goose (1,333) and European Starling (722) the most numerous bird species seen. The first ever recorded Peregrine Falcon showed up this year but not surprising with Peregrine’s staying all year around the City of Jackson. Continued rising numbers for Bald Eagles (8) is very satisfying as this regal bird species comes back from the brink of chemical poisoning in Michigan. Two other species, Pileated Woodpecker (12) and Carolina Wren (8) were found in good numbers. Lastly, Turkey Vultures (2) appeared this year and why is this unusual for the count? Well, most years this species has left for parts warmer a month ago, but not this year despite our cold temperatures.

    Remember to save the 2018 CBC date, Saturday December 15th. Thank you all for helping this CBC become one of the most successful counts we have recorded.

    Gary Siegrist, Compiler  
    Waterloo Recreation Area CBC      

    List of bird species:

    Canada Goose – 1,333

    Tundra Swan – 1

    Mallard – 35

    Ring-neck Pheasant – 6

    Wild Turkey – 209

    Great Blue Heron – 3

    Turkey Vulture – 2

    Bald Eagle – 7

    Northern Harrier – 2

    Sharp-shinned Hawk – 2

    Cooper’s Hawk – 8

    Red-shouldered Hawk – 1 (immature)   

    Red-tailed Hawk – 45

    Rough-legged Hawk – 3

    Peregrine Falcon – 1 

    American Kestrel – 7

    American Coot – 1

    Sandhill Crane – 503

    Rock Pigeon – 156

    Mourning Dove – 652

    Eastern Screech Owl – 10

    Great Horned Owl – 10

    Barred Owl – 1

    Belted Kingfisher – 3

    Red-bellied Woodpecker – 87

    Downy Woodpecker – 95

    Hairy Woodpecker – 20

    Northern Flicker – 12

    Pileated Woodpecker – 12

    Northern Shrike – 1

    Blue Jay – 253

    American Crow – 190

    Horned Lark – 64

    Black-capped Chickadee – 286

    Tufted Titmouse – 112

    Red-breasted Nuthatch – 2

    White-breasted Nuthatch – 128

    Brown Creeper – 3

    Carolina Wren – 8

    Winter Wren – 3

    Golden-crown Kinglet – 12

    Eastern Bluebird – 48

    Hermit Thrush – 2

    American Robin – 14

    Northern Mockingbird – 2

    European Starling – 722

    Cedar Waxwing – 235

    American Tree Sparrow – 432

    Field Sparrow – 1

    Song Sparrow – 15

    Swamp Sparrow – 6

    White-throated Sparrow – 5

    White-crowned Sparrow – 1

    Dark-eyed Junco – 412

    Lapland Longspur – 99

    Northern Cardinal – 176

    Red-winged Blackbird – 6

    Brown-headed Cowbird – 32

    Purple Finch – 9

    House Finch – 96

    Pine Siskin – 4

    American Goldfinch – 165

    House Sparrow – 488   

    Total number of species – 63        Total number of birds – 7,232

    Species seen count week:

    Snow Bunting – 15

    Common Grackle – 1

    Eastern Towhee – 1

    Golden Eagle – 1  

  • Thursday, December 07, 2017 9:27 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Elizabeth Dell, the State Coordinator in Michigan for Citizens’ Climate Lobby,  has sent an invitation to Jackson Audubon members to learn about this organization on Monday, 12/11.   Citizens’ Climate Lobby, is a non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization with over 450 volunteer-led chapters dedicated to generating the political will for effective national policies to address climate change. We have 16 chapters in Michigan and are hoping to organize one in Jackson so we can more effectively work with Rep. Walberg’s office. 

    This coming Monday, two volunteers will be presenting about their work at the Carnegie Library. The local Sierra Club chapter is hosting. 

    More information is available at their Facebook page.

  • Tuesday, November 28, 2017 5:58 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    The world renowned UofM bird skins collection moved this year to a remodeled facility south of town on Varsity Dr.  The Tuesday Group visited the facility and received a tour from Janet Hinshaw, the Bird Division Collection Manager.  

    This facility now contains all the vertebrate and non-vertebrate animal collections and library.  While the move is not yet complete, most of the collection specimens are in place and accessible to researchers. 

    Janet showed the group samples of accipiters and thrushes to see size and plumage differences between these easily confused species.   

    We also got a chance to see some species that most of us will likely not see in our lifetimes including secretary bird, Steller's Seas Eagle, and a few drawers of penguins.  We finished with a look through the 'extinct taxa' section.  There are some excellent mounts of passenger pigeon and Labrador duck.  

  • 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

    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

  • 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

    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

    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 

  • 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

    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

  • 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.  

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