BIRDS INVADE! The Guide ISSUE 5
to Northeast Michigan
Back To Back Festivals Bring A Full Week Of Bird Viewing
NORTHEAST MICHIGAN – As springtime weather breaks across Northeast Michigan, migrating song birds return to our woodlands and waterways in masse and right on schedule. And right on schedule, folks in these parts commemorate the bird’s return with two of our region’s biggest and better known festivals – the Kirtland’s Warbler Wildlife Festival and the Tawas Point Birding Festival. For those seeking a glimpse of the returning birds, the timing couldn’t be better: Our feathered friend’s return coincides with warming weather, offering ample and abundant reason to experience nature’s spring awakening close-up and first-hand. For folks wishing to celebrate at either of the festivals, this year’s timing is better still: For the first time ever, the once-competing festivals will be held on back-toback weekends. Concentrating on Tawas Point while offering a bounty of field trips
to the fields, forests and wetlands of Iosco County, the Tawas Point Birding Festival will be held May 12-15. Aimed at birders of all skill levels, this festival has proven so successful that Michigan Audubon has permanently chosen the festival as the site of its annual conference. The following weekend, on May 21, Kirtland Community College will host the Kirtland’s Warbler Wildlife Festival, held in Roscommon County’s pine-forested woodlands. , this family-friendly festival is a celebration of all of nature, with a special concentration on the rare Kirtland’s Warbler. Here you’ll find programs for all, from the inexperienced youngster to the serious birder. As might be expected, organizers of both festivals have plenty in store for those who attend. At the Tawas Point Birding Festival, highlights include a dinner with birders Don and Lillian Stokes, authors of the book, Cont. on page 4
6TH ANNUAL TAWAS POINT BIRDING FESTIVAL
Centered at Tawas Point State Park, with trips and tours all over Iosco County. Note: All events require preregistration, along with registration to the festival. Festival registration includes: Seminar sessions, carpool trips, tally rally participation, and the birds of prey program. Cost for festival admission is $15 for Michigan Audubon members, $20 for non-members or $45 for both membership and admission. For more information go online to MichiganAudubon.org and follow the links to the Tawas Point Birding Festival.
Thursday pre-conference workshops Charity Island Beginning Birding Scenic Byway and AuSable
Cont. on page 4
SPECIAL: Birding in Northeast Michigan
Kirtland’s Warbler Wildlife Festival 2011 “A Celebration of Nature”
Saturday, May 21
NO pre-registration required; a $6 Kirtland’s Warbler Wildlife Festival button is required for entry to presentations. For a more complete, updated schedule of events check at the festival headquarters tent, located between the pond and student center. Or go online to Warbler.Kirtland.edu.
Guided Bus Trips
Bus leaves from the festival headquarters tent promptly as scheduled. Preregistration not required. Roscommon Area Birding Tour Saturday, 7 a.m.; cost is $10. Visit a variety of habitats. Allow 3 to 3-1/2 hours. Bus leaves from in front of festival headquarters tent on campus.
Cont. on page 4
Pull Out Section
Guided Kirtland’s Warbler Tours
Bird watchers may observe the endangered Kirtland’s warbler and view nesting areas by participating in guided tours. The guided tours represent the best opportunity to view this endangered songbird, as Kirtland’s warbler nesting areas in northern Michigan are closed to public entry during the nesting season. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Michigan Audubon Society conduct guided tours from May 15 through July 4, departing from the Ramada Inn in Grayling. Excursions leave at 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. and are free of charge. The U.S. Forest Service conducts tours from May 15 through July 2, with tours departing at 7 a.m. from the U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Office in Mio. Tours are conducted daily with the exception of Memorial Day. The USFS charges $10 per person. Reservations for groups of four or fewer are encouraged to help optimize scheduling but are not required. For more information call: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - (517) 351-2555. U.S. Forest Service (989) - 826-3252. Michigan Audubon Society - (517) 886-9144.
Week of Festivals from page 1
The Stokes Guide to the Birds of North America. That event will be followed by the couple’s educational presentation, You, Birds, Birding to help make bird identification easier. Also on the agenda at the Iosco County event are new field trips, including a lighthouse and birding adventure on Charity Island, a Michigan Islands National Wildlife Sanctuary and a birder’s paradise located in the center of Saginaw
Bay. Other field trips include a new grassland excursion, a visit to the River Road Scenic Byway to look for eagles and a trip to Oscoda Township’s new Riverside Park. Meanwhile Kirtland Community College maintains its family atmosphere, while offering a wealth of attractions for the serious birder. Included this year is a tour at the site of last summer’s 8,000-acre Meridian Boundary Fire where folks can learn
about natural regrowth that follows destruction. Other tours include Gahagan Nature Preserve, Wakely Lake Houghton Lake Flats and more. Featured presenter as this year’s festival will be Beth Duman and her four canine assistants. Duman will teach festival goers all about wolves and their remarkable recovery in Michigan. As always the festival includes plenty of other presentation covering everything from birds to
frogs. With Whispering Pines Animal Kingdom on hand for the animal lover, the Blue Water Ramblers supplying the music, and a pond stocked with fish keeping youngsters busy, this is a festival the whole family can enjoy. For festival highlights for both festivals turn to the back page of this pull-out section.
Tawas Point from page 1 River Overlooks Tawas Point Lighthouse Costs runs $5 to $50 depending on the workshop. Special festival attraction! Charity Island, a Michigan Islands National Wildlife Sanctuary and a birder’s paradise. Take a boat ride to the center of Saginaw Bay, for a birding excursion and tours of the historic Charity Island Lighthouse. Thursday Evening Guided tour of Tuttle Marsh Friday field trips Field trips meet up at Tawas Bay Beach Resort Eagle Run Park in Oscoda Kirtland’s Warbler Management Area Wildflower Carpool Tour Cost is $5 for bus trips, carpools are free. Tawas Point State Park tours
Thursday, Friday and Saturday Two sessions of tours: 7 to 9:30 a.m. and 10 to 11:30 a.m. Cost is $5. Saturday field trips Field trips meet up at Tawas Bay Beach Resort at 7 or 9:30 a.m. Tuttle Marsh Grasslands Carpool Kirtland’s Warbler Management Area Wildflower Carpool Oscoda Parks Carpool Cost is $5 for bus trips, carpools are free. Additional Seminars at the Festival include: Warblers - Rainbows, Halos and Glories - Bird Journalizing - Invasive Plants - Hawk I.D. What does the future hold for the Kirtland’s warbler See the festival program for more details at ausablevalleyaudubon.org
Friday Dinner with Don and Lillian Stokes At Wiltse’s Brew Pub in Oscoda Enjoy dinner with the Stokes, authors of the book, The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America. Costs is $25 for Michigan Audubon members and $30 for non-members. Saturday evening field trip to Tuttle Marsh Leaves Tawas Bay Beach Resort at 7:15 p.m. Cost is $10. Sunday morning field trip to Kirtland’s Warbler Management Area, Leaves Tawas Bay Beach Resort at 7 a.m. Cost is $10. For more information and a complete program, go to ausablevalleyaudubon.org.
KW Wildlife Festival from page 1
Field Trips to see Kirtland’s Warblers Saturday, 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.; cost is $10.
Meridian Fire Jack Pine Wildfire tour
Saturday, 2 p.m.; cost is $10, led by U.S. Forest Service personnel. Featured Photographer – Jim Mundy Michigan Turtle Exhibit Mikenauk Rock and Gem Society Mio Post Office - Get your mail stamped with special festival cancellation Displays by: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Huron Pines and a variety of conservation organizations.
Presentations run from 45 minutes to one hour in length, $6 festival button required for entry to presentations.
Featured Presentation: Howling in Michigan! The Real Story of Wolves, with Beth Duman. The Fight Against Invasive Species in Northeast Michigan, presented by Huron Pines What birds can tell us: conservation successes and new insights into remarkable bird behavior. My Life with Ospreys Birds of Two Countries: The Story of Our Country’s Rarest Warbler Michigan Native Plants and Pollinator Gardens Frogging by Ear Michigan Native Plants and Pollinator Gardens Michigan Eagle Update Other events and activities on the Kirtland campus - Cost for these activities is free. Kids’ Activity Tent, Kids’ Fishing Pond, Silent Auction, Flintknapping Demonstration, Kids’ Rock Hunt, Horse-drawn Nature Tours, Campus Nature and Bird Walk, Whispering Pines Animal Kingdom, Nature Arts & Crafts.
Catch an Early Bird Breakfast, lunch or snacks at the Kirtland Grill, located in the Student Center. Grill is open 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Campus bookstore is open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Off-Campus Nature and Birding Field Trips Meet at these off-campus sites; for directions check at the Festival Headquarters Tent. Wakeley Lake Wildlife Walk – no charge Friday, 7 a.m.; cost is free. Gahagan Nature Preserve Friday, 5 p.m.; cost is free. Houghton Lake Flats Field Trip Saturday 6 p.m., cost is free. Roscommon Area Birding Tour Saturday 7 a.m., cost is $10. Meridian Fire: One Year Later Saturday 2-4 p.m., cost is $10. For more information and a complete program, go to warbler.kirtland.edu