Michigan Audubon is excited that the 2019 Seminar Series is beginning to take shape and this year’s lineup has a little something for everyone. Seminars are free and open to the public. Sessions take place on the second Monday of each month from 7 – 8 p.m. at the Michigan Audubon office located at 2310 Science Parkway, Suite 200, Okemos, MI 48864.

More information will be posted soon about each seminar topic and speaker.

Reducing Avian Collisions with Communications Towers: A community effort by Joelle Gehring
January 14 | 7-8 p.m.

An estimated 6.8 million migratory birds collide with communications towers every year in the United States. Tower height, tower lighting, sitting within the landscape, and the presence of supporting guy wires influences the numbers of avian collisions. Michigan research determined that taller towers, towers with guy wires, and towers with non-flashing lights are involved in significantly more avian collisions than shorter towers, unguyed towers, and towers lit with only flashing lights. Extinguishing non-flashing lights is one of the most effective and economically feasible means of achieving a significant reduction in avian fatalities at existing communications towers. The public is playing an important role in outreach efforts to the tower industry.

Dr. Joelle Gehring is a Michigan biologist. Previously, Dr. Gehring was Senior Conservation Scientist with Michigan State University where she designed and supervised a multi-year, landscape-scale study of the variables associated with bird collisions at communications towers.

Kirtland’s Warblers with Dave Ewert
February 11 | 7-8 p.m.

The Kirtland’s Warbler is one of the rarest migratory songbirds in North America, breeding almost exclusively in young jack pine stands in northern Michigan and wintering almost exclusively in dense scrub in the Bahamas. This presentation will give an overview of the biology of the Kirtland’s Warblers and how successful conservation efforts have brought the species from near extinction to recovery, including potential delisting as a U.S. endangered species.

Dr. Dave Ewert is a Kirtland’s Warbler Program Director and Conservation Specialist with the American Bird Conservancy. He focuses primarily on the conservation of the Kirtland’s Warbler, especially on the Bahamas wintering grounds, and also works on protection of stopover sites for migratory birds in the Great Lakes region, and Great Lakes coastline and island protection.

Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery with Vince Cavalieri
March 11 | 7-8 p.m.

Join us to learn about the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Plan with a focus on population status, our recovery strategy, and research updates. Attendees will learn about current banding efforts, and be updated on all things Piping Plover related in Michigan.

Vince Cavalieri is originally from Iron Mountain in the Upper Peninsula. A lifelong birder, Vince has worked with numerous research projects focusing on birds of conservation concern including Mountain Plover, Trumpeter Swan, Cerulean Warbler, and Kirtland’s Warbler. Vince works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an endangered species biologist and lead biologist for the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Program.

Birding 101 with Kristy Taylor
April 8 | 7-8 p.m.

Learn the birding basics to get started on your birding journey. Already familiar with birding? Use this seminar as a refresher before spring migration begins. Kristy will cover optics, field guides, etiquette, and technology, along with some identification basics.

Kristy is a birder from the Lansing area and loves to spend time in nature with her family. She serves as Vice President for Capital Area Audubon society and leads walks around the state. She is passionate about citizen science projects and loves sharing her love
of birds with others!

Intermediate Birding with Linnea Rowse
May 13 | 7-8 p.m.

Intermediate Birding will expand upon the basics learned in the Birding 101 seminar, with more detailed information about how, when, and where to find birds, and delving into species identifications. Participants will learn about the most common bird families found in Michigan, key identifying features to look for on a bird, and how to use field guides or apps to improve your birding experience.

Linnea is the Conservation Program Coordinator for Michigan Audubon, overseeing the Bird-friendly Communities program, habitat management at Michigan Audubon’s bird sanctuaries, and other conservation issues and opportunities. Linnea has been birding since she was a child (with her parents), and developed an expertise in bird identification by sight and sound through a series of field ornithology jobs as a young adult, spending time in various ecosystems and habitats across North America. 

Monarch Butterflies and Other Pollinators with Erin Oswald
June 10 | 7-8 p.m.

In 2017, Fenner Conservancy constructed an exhibit to raise awareness in the community about pollinator conservation through the raising and rearing of monarch butterflies — the Monarch House. Since then, more than 300 monarch butterflies have been reared, checked for parasites, tagged, and released. Join us to learn more about ways you can help monarch butterflies and other pollinators thrive, and citizen science projects you can be a part of.

Erin Oswald is the volunteer coordinator and citizen science program coordinator at Fenner Nature Center. She oversees programs such as Project FeederWatch and all Monarch House activities. She has been working at Fenner since April 2018. Erin holds a B.S. in fisheries and wildlife from Michigan State University.

Bird Window Collisions with Linnea Rowse
July 8 | 7-8 p.m.

In the Greater Lansing area in 2018, a crew of volunteer monitors collected more than 140 birds that had perished as a direct result of a window collision. While monitors surveyed around office buildings in downtown Lansing and around MSU campus buildings, many more birds collide with windows in homes – right in our own front and back yards. Window collisions kill between 365 and 988 million birds annually (Loss et al. 2014), making building collisions the second greatest threat to bird populations in the United States. Though most fatalities seem to occur at low-rise buildings (16 – 27 bird deaths per year), every residence is estimated to kill 2 birds each year. When you look at the numbers, 2 birds per household residence really adds up. The good news is that bird-window collisions are preventable, and there are easy, inexpensive solutions you can do right at home to create a safer space for our urban neighbors (the birds). Learn more about factors that influence bird-window collisions and learn about solutions to prevent bird deaths at your home.

Linnea Rowse is the Conservation Program Coordinator for Michigan Audubon, overseeing the Bird-friendly Communities program, including bird-window collision monitoring and building mitigation efforts to reduce future collisions. Linnea also oversees stewardship and habitat management at Michigan Audubon’s bird sanctuaries, and other conservation projects. Linnea received her B.S. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from the University of Rhode Island, and her Master’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from The Ohio State University. She has worked for many different non-profit organizations and researchers, always focused on bird conservation, ecology, and habitat restoration.

Plants for Hummingbirds with Rosann Kovalcik
August 12 | 7-8 p.m.

Join Rosann Kovalcik to learn about the best native plants for hummingbirds. Rosann will cover the basics in making your backyard the place to be for hummingbirds in your area and those just stopping through during their migration.

Rosann is an avid birder, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited Grosse Pointe, Master Gardener, guest columnist for MI Gardener, and Friend to the Environment Award Recipient.

Chimney Swifts with Linnea Rowse
September 9 | 7-8 p.m.

A 5-inch long “flying cigar” with wings, Chimney Swifts are a fascinating species that is dependent upon human structures for their breeding and migration habits. During spring and fall migration, Chimney Swifts gather by the thousands to shelter together overnight in roosting locations – most often in large chimneys of older churches, schools, and factories. Come to learn about Chimney Swifts, their role within the ecosystem, why their population is in steep decline, how they depend upon humans, and what you can do to help this species. Following the presentation, attendees are invited to caravan to a nearby known Chimney Swift roost, where at dusk, a swirling “tornado” of swifts will spiral down into their nighttime roost.

Linnea Rowse is the Conservation Program Coordinator for Michigan Audubon, overseeing the Bird-friendly Communities program, including species-specific conservation efforts. Linnea also oversees stewardship and habitat management at Michigan Audubon’s bird sanctuaries, and other conservation projects. Linnea received her B.S. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from the University of Rhode Island, and her Master’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from The Ohio State University. She has worked for many different non-profit organizations and researchers, always focused on bird conservation, ecology, and habitat restoration, but until last year had not experienced the wonder and thrill of watching a Chimney Swift “tornado” swirl down into a chimney.

Winter Bird Feeding
October 14 | 7-8 p.m.

Digiscoping for Birds with Wayne Pope
November 11 | 7-8 p.m.

Digiscoping is the art of taking photos with a smart phone or mobile device connected to a field spotting scope. This program discusses the pros and cons of digiscoping compared to traditional photography with a digital camera and telephoto lens. It also provides instruction on how to get the best results from your equipment.

Wayne Pope is an adjunct photography instructor at Lansing Community College. He teaches a variety of photography classes including nature photography and digiscoping. Wayne has contributed many articles on bird photography to the Jack Pine Warbler in a column entitled, “Clicknotes.”

Holiday Bird Crafts with Michigan Audubon
December 9 | 7-8 p.m.

Join Michigan Audubon to learn how to make bird seed cookie ornaments and garland your backyard birds will love. We will also have supplies for making bird themed holiday cards. This seminar will be more hands on and great for bird lovers of all ages!