migratory birds

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Two men confessed to shooting and killing a two-year-old bald eagle near Manistee on Saturday, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Kaye LaFond

Over four million people crossed the Straits of Mackinac last year. But they are also one of the busiest migration spots for raptors, or birds of prey, in the United States.

People who study birds are now using radar to make maps that can forecast migration at night. They say these maps could help by reducing the number of birds that collide with buildings and wind turbines.

Canada geese have been spending their winters farther north.

Scientists have figured out geese are drawn to cities for safety more so than for food.

Michael Ward is an associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He’s an author of a study on Canada geese in the Chicago region.

Ward and his team fitted Canada geese with radio collars and tracked them for two years, trying to understand why there are so many geese in Chicago during the winter.

“And what we learned was that they weren’t going there for food, they were going there because there were no hunters,” he explains. “So all of the Canada geese that spent the winter in Chicago survived, whereas half of the birds that decided to leave the Chicagoland area and go to areas where hunting is allowed and more prevalent were harvested.”

Ward says geese are all about conserving energy.

Birds breeding early to catch up to climate change

May 15, 2017

 


New research shows that in order for some early birds to catch the worm, they have to breed sooner in the spring.

 

Luke DeGroote is the avian research coordinator at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and he runs the bird banding program at the museum's Powdermill Nature Reserve.

 

Right now, he’s in the thick of spring migration.

 

“It’s sort of a bit like fishing, in a way. We put out our nets to see what we catch,” he says.

2016 has been on a record-breaking warm streak, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

So what does this unseasonably warm fall mean for birds that need to start packing up and heading south?

Andrew Farnsworth is a research associate with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and he runs BirdCast – it’s a tool the lab created to forecast what’s happening with bird migration each week. 

You might be aware that the Great Lakes region is a major migratory bird flyway.

What you might not know is that hundreds of millions of those birds will crash into windows and die.

Sarah Reding is part of a movement that’s trying to help reduce that problem. Reding is the vice president of conservation at the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

Spreading good news about clear cuts

Feb 5, 2015
Joe VanderMeulen

One of the problems in Michigan’s forests these days is there is not enough clear cutting. That might sound odd since clear cuts are usually thought of as a bad thing. But forests can get too old, at least from the perspective of migratory birds.

Once upon a time, wild fires created openings in the old growth forests, making way for new growth that provided the habitat for many types of wildlife. Today, well over half of Michigan’s forest lands are privately owned and no one wants uncontrolled fires. In fact, lots of folks want to protect all their trees.

Many birds leave Michigan for warmer weather. But what birds stay here and tough it out with us in the frigid weather?

Macklin Smith, a University of Michigan professor emeritus of English and a veteran bird watcher, tells us which birds we can expect to hear during the colder months.

43,000 Raptors Migrate Through The Straits

Jun 10, 2014
Steve Baker / Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch

A group that counts hawks and eagles as they migrate through the Straits of Mackinac tracked more than 43,000 birds this spring, including more than 800 eagles.

“Imagine yourself flying up with them,” says Kathy Bricker of the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch. “Sometimes there were many hundreds that you could see at a time just moving overhead in vast spirals upward.”