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New Faces at the Sanctuary PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jackie Wolfinger   
Tuesday, 22 January 2013 20:40

If you have made a visit to the Sanctuary in the last two weeks, you might have seen some new faces! I am one of them, and I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to you. My name is Jackie, and I am the Spring Avian Care Intern at the Sanctuary. I am a lifelong resident of Michigan and a graduate of Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie. I earned a degree in Wildlife Management, and I am using that to pursue a career in informal education. In other words, I want to teach people about nature and science in a zoo, aquarium, nature center, or visitor center! My previous work experiences include a fish hatchery, a Michigan State Park, a children’s gym, and an aquarium, so I am very excited to have the opportunity to work in yet another new setting! I have only been an intern for two weeks, but I have already learned a lot and tried some new things! I look forward to sharing what I am up to with you over the next few months!

Who are the other new faces here at the Sanctuary? Birds! Over the last two weeks we have had four unique visitors! A Snow Goose was spotted on the lake with a large flock of Canada Geese on my first day! This was the fourth sighting of a Snow Goose at the Sanctuary since October! It’s unusual to see Snow Geese in Lower Michigan since they spend their summers in the Arctic and migrate to the East, West, and Gulf coasts for the winter.

Snow Goose swimming on Wintergreen Lake

Snow Goose swimming on Wintergreen Lake

The second new face at the Sanctuary is a Northern Pintail! Pintails are another unusual visitor in Michigan. They summer in Canada and winter in the southern half of the United States. When they are spotted in Michigan, it is typically during their migration! He has been a real treat to watch! According to one of the Sanctuary volunteers and several photographers who visit the Sanctuary frequently, it’s been several years since a pintail has been spotted on Wintergreen Lake.

A male Northern Pintail on the ice at Wintergreen Lake (Photo Credit: Randy Stout)

A male Northern Pintail on the ice at Wintergreen Lake (Photo Credit: Randy Stout)

The other two new faces at the Sanctuary are a pair of Bald Eagles! One of the eagles has adult plumage (white feathers on the head and brown feathers on the body) while the other eagle still has some juvenile coloring. It’s especially noticeable when that eagle is flying, because the undersides of the bird’s wings are splotchy brown and white. The eagles have been seen adding sticks to one of the nests in the Great Blue Heron rookery. We have been in touch with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and they said that there is no way to predict whether the eagles will nest this year or not. Wouldn’t it be exciting if there were baby eagles (called eaglets) at the Sanctuary this summer?

A Bald Eagle landing in one of the nests in the Great Blue Heron rookery

A Bald Eagle landing in one of the nests in the Great Blue Heron rookery

If you are interested in what other birds have been spotted recently at the Sanctuary, check out the eBird Trail Tracker on the Bird Sanctuary website! The results of my weekly bird survey are posted there as well as on the Kiosk in the Sanctuary Bookstore!

For more information about these new visitors, check out Cornell’s All About Birds website:

Snow Goose

Northern Pintail

Bald Eagle