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1st Annual Fall Migration Celebration Was a Success! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sarah Reimer   
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 16:45

The highlight of our fall programming was the Fall Migration Celebration on November 2nd. This was the first year for this event and we were very pleased with how the day turned out! We were blessed with beautiful weather and had an afternoon of fun-filled activities for families and friends to come out and enjoy the outdoors and the fall waterfowl migration! Wintergreen Lake is a migratory stop-over point for many types of waterfowl and we had the pleasure to see a diverse group during the event. Some of the highlights were Canvasbacks, Redheads, Ruddy Ducks, Buffleheads, and Hooded Mergansers. The Trumpeter Swans were a highlight as always!

Overlooking Wintergreen Lake Fall Migration Celebration 2014

Overlooking Wintergreen Lake

We also had a special exhibit from Willy McDonald of “The Duck Blind.” He put up a great display of duck decoys that he, his students, and carvers from the past made.  Willy also brought decoys carved by former Kellogg Bird Sanctuary manager Miles Pirnie. Demonstrations of carving these magnificent duck decoys took place while guest observed the display. They are so beautifully done! I heard many visitors saying how impressed they were with the quality of the decoys! Thanks to Willy for spending the afternoon with us at the Sanctuary!

Willy McDonald for Fall Migration Celebration 2014

Willy McDonald displaying his hand-crafted decoys!

Our thanks also go out to our volunteers! We could not have put on this event without them! They helped us out with everything from Waterfowl ID to handing out refreshments. In addition, thank you to Meijer for donations that helped cover apple cider and craft supplies, and a thank you to Sweetwater’s Donuts for a discount on the donut holes. All of the refreshments were delicious!

Turkey_Vulture_Migration_Game_2014

Playing the Turkey Vulture Migration Game with our wonderful volunteer Judy!

We hope you will join us next year for more fun!

 

Learn more about decoy carving with Willy McDonald here: http://www.theduckblind.com/

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Pollinator garden spruce up PDF Print E-mail
Written by Austin Hackert   
Monday, 14 July 2014 20:36

This week I have started to really dig into researching for my summer project; enhancing the native pollinator garden here at Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. I’ve been meeting with staff members and volunteers to get feedback on what we hope to exhibit and teach as the garden grows into what we have hoped for. Complimentary to the experiences and visions of the people who have been getting their hands dirty in the garden for years; I’ve been researching everything related to the species we are featuring, as well as their native pollinators.

Butterfly Weed

ButterflyWeed

Our main goal for the finished garden is to show the potential in creating or encouraging native plant communities to protect the native pollinators that rely on these plants to survive. Many of these species are not very well known outside of the horticulture or ecosystem restoration fields, but some are known if for nothing else than the pollinators they are associated with. A perfect example of this is the Monarch butterfly and their connection to various species of milkweed. Southwest Michigan offers a great climate for these migratory butterflies, because it provides quality habitat for the milkweed species that the butterfly and its caterpillars cannot live without. This obligatory relationship is not uncommon among wildflowers, grasses and pollinators such as bees, butterflies and birds. Pollinators can become so highly specialized that they only use one plant for all of their life’s needs, which could include protection from predators, food and a place to reproduce. In return, the animals close contact with the plants aids in pollination and spreading of seeds.

Leadplant

Leadplant

The summer is still young and I have a lot of work left to do, but I am happy to have a grasp of the intended vision for the finished project. In the weeks to come, we hope to have a better physical appearance as we clear out some of the overcrowded plots and thin-out weeds. Finally we will install some signs to highlight what it really takes to keep a native garden looking its best.

For more information about native pollinators and pollinator gardens, here are some great websites to help start a garden of your own.

http://www.xerces.org/

http://www.fws.gov/pollinators/

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KBS Intern Studies in Yellowstone PDF Print E-mail
Written by Austin Hackert   
Friday, 27 June 2014 20:30

Introductions are in order!  I am Austin Hackert, one of two Avian Care Interns for the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary this summer. The internship includes daily cleaning, feeding, and monitoring of the captive birds and facilities. It is a great hands-on experience learning how to handle gamebird, waterfowl and native raptors.  In addition to the birding part of the job, I am also working on a project to expand our education and outreach through a native pollinator garden, showcased near the Resource Center of the Sanctuary.  After a fun filled summer and a few more courses in the fall, I will be graduating this winter from Michigan State University with a BS in Fisheries and Wildlife, concentrating on Wildlife Biology.

Dunraven_passKBS

Earlier this summer I had the opportunity to study...vacation academically in Yellowstone National Park as the first iteration of a new National Park study away program through Michigan State University. This new course is a great way to get the hands on experiential learning that the Fisheries and Wildlife department requires and continues to encourage for undergraduate studies.   As a first time traveler out west, I didn’t even know what to expect.  Beginning with the little things like my favorite radio show playing on the way to the airport, and a beautiful vista setting the stage at the airport in Bozeman, Montana, I knew the trip was going to be great.

The faculty had a few days planned officially with the Yellowstone Association, travelling through and learning about various aspects of the park.  The remaining half of the week the nine other students and I travelled across Yellowstone and the foothills in Montana taking in the sights, sounds and culture.  We had the chance to speak to local ranchers and biologists about issues with wolf reintroduction, climate change and park management, and of course there was no shortage of wildlife watching.  For the first time I saw a plethora of elk, bison, and pronghorn, along with some slightly more adventurous sightings of a wolf, black bear and grizzly bear.  Not to forget my summer pastime, I also saw various nesting raptors, including red-tails, bald eagles, osprey and a peregrine falcon.  It seemed only fitting to finish the trip with a lazy horseback ride through the hills of Montana and a short trip rafting down the Yellowstone River before travelling back to Bozeman the following morning.

GrandPrismaticSpringKBS

Combining the awe striking landscapes, wide range of wildlife and the pleasure of good company, I can say it was a bittersweet trip back to the state I know and love, but I’m looking forward to the rest of the summer here at Kellogg Bird Sanctuary.

 

 
Winter Bird Feeding for Beginners PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ashely Adams   
Monday, 16 December 2013 18:54

Nothing livens up the dreary gray-white winter landscape like the splashes of colors provided by winter birds.  Cardinals, blue jays, and goldfinches brighten up any yard with their plumage.   Not to be outdone, chickadees, sparrows, and woodpeckers make up for what they lack in color by their seemingly endless energy.  With the right care, you can enjoy all these birds and more from the comfort of your windows.

The shape and location of a feeder can affect the birds that visit your home.   Ground feeders are great for gamebirds, sparrows, and doves.   Platform, hopper feeders, and hanging feeders attract many different types of songbirds such as cardinals, finches, titmice, and chickadees.

For food sources, you can’t go wrong with black oil sunflower seeds.  Many birds love these seeds.   Not interested in the shell mess left behind?   There’s shelled sunflowers you can purchase as well.   Nyjer (or thistle) seeds are beloved by finches.   Another popular option is suet, a cake of hard fat with seeds and dried fruits mixed in.   Insect eating birds, such as woodpeckers, enjoy this food source.

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinals are a winter favorite! (Photo Credit: Larry Burdick)

There are other ways to make your background more hospitable to winter birds.    Birds will enjoy heated water dishes for drinking.    Putting feeders near trees provides shelter from the elements.    Certain trees, such as fruit bearing trees, can even act as natural feeders.   You may also consider putting up roost boxes to provide cover for your feeder birds and even a safe place to hide from predators.

Looking for new feeders?   Don’t forget about the Sanctuary Bookstore, which carries locally made Stovall Products feeders and bird houses!

 

More Information:

Bird Feeder Information

 
Bird Friendly Coffee and Wallet Friendly Deals PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ashely Adams   
Friday, 22 November 2013 20:19

Birds do not seem to understand the concept of sleeping in.  What better way to get yourself going to pick up that first-of-year northern bird than with a cup of coffee?   As it turns out, your next cup of Joe could in fact not only help you find birds, but protect them as well!

While we do our best to preserve songbirds habitats here in the north, that’s only half the story.  Our beloved songbirds who overwinter in tropical locations are falling victim to the increasingly un-environmentally sound growing methods.   Coffee plants are naturally shade tolerant species, growing in the understory.  However, there has been a push to promote slash-and-burn methods to open up more sunny patches and increase yield, destroying habitat.  There’s also been higher use of pesticide which can harm songbirds.

Thankfully, you don’t have to choose between the birds and your coffee.   The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center has implemented a certification system that shows you which coffee has been grown in more traditional, environmentally friendly ways.   The downside with bird friendly coffee is that it’s hard to find.  Luckily, the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary is a proud provider of Birds and Beans Coffee, which is not only bird friendly, but organic and fair trade as well.

Chestnut sided warbler

Chestnut-sided Warblers depend on traditional coffee plantations.  You can help out these birds by buying our Birds and Beans Chestnut-sided Warbler coffee!  (Note: Coffee does not  contain actual warble.)  Photo Credit: Josh Haas

Speaking of fair trade, many of our other Bookstore goodies are fair trade.   Fair trade goods are produced in developing countries.  They can be goods or foods that are made or harvested in sustainable ways.  Fair trade goods are also purchased in ethically sound ways, providing livable wages, allowing workers to unionize, and not using child or other exploitative labor.   In the Bookstore you’ll find fair trade crafts, jewelry, bags, and others.

Does this opportunity to shop and do some good sound great?  Well, you’re in luck!   On December 11th, the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary will be having a holiday open house!  All goods will be fifteen percent off.  Perhaps you are still uncertain about if this delicious coffee is for you?  How about grabbing a sample and some birds for your list?   If that sounds up your alley, join us for the December Birds & Coffee Walk at 9am Wednesday, December 11th.  

Birds and Coffee Walk Information
Holiday Open House Information
Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center Bird Friendly Coffee Certification
Coffee and Conservation

 
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