Winter birds are something to see in Meridian Township

By Lauren Captain
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

One drive through Meridian Township and it is not hard to notice the barrier of woods and the character of the trees that surround the area. During the winter, this wooded township hosts many events to the families of Okemos and Haslett. Each winter weekend through the months of January and February, they host “Family Winter Fun Weekends.” This is a time when lots of families come out to attend each event and stay connected in their township and roots of Michigan. With families of all ages to experience this day with the outdoors of winter birds around, even people from outside the community of Meridian came to listen in on the bird calling. Maci Laurel Robinson, 21, of East Lansing took the children she nannies for; Gwen, Sophia and Carson to this event as well.

Bird-safe glass helps birdbrains avoid windows

Capital News Service
LANSING — You hear an unpleasant thud; unsettled and surprised you investigate. The culprit is a bird, dead on arrival. Like a scene out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, birds are crashing into windows at alarming rates. Between 365 million and 988 million birds die annually from window collisions in the U. S. and Canada, according to a recent study. You may say, “Birds crash into windows, who gives a cluck?” Actually, quite a few people do.

Dead birds spur cleanup of longstanding DDT contamination

Capital News Service
LANSING — When residents of St. Louis described the death of birds in their small mid-Michigan community, Matt Zwiernik recalled studies by another Michigan State University scientist more than 50 years earlier. “It was exactly as George Wallace described it,” said Zwiernik, director of the university’s Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory. “They had tremors and seizures and they were fluttering on the ground as if they had a broken wing or were taking a dust bath.”

And they soon died. Wallace was the MSU ornithologist whose research into how the insecticide DDT killed birds was cited by Rachel Carson in her landmark book Silent Spring.

Michigan birders ID favorites

Capital News Service

LANSING – If you ask about their favorite birds of the region, they almost always have one response: “That is a really hard question.”
Bird watching is a social activity as much as an appreciation for nature’s only feathered vertebrates. According to a U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife survey, there are 47 million bird watchers over the age of 16 in the United States. About 30 percent are over the age of 55, while 16 percent are between 16 and 34. “Birds are our most-watchable form of wildlife,” said Jonathan Lutz, executive director of the Michigan Audubon Society. “We tend to think of them as ‘well they’re just birds,’ but it’s the form of wildlife more available to the most people in different settings.”

Sean Williams, a doctoral student studying zoology at Michigan State University, is no stranger to tracking down rare birds.

Ecologist James Ludwig discusses the “Dismal State of the Great Lakes”

Capital News Service
LANSING — In his new book, “The Dismal State of the Great Lakes,” ecologist James Ludwig explains his personal and professional journey in realizing the extensive damage that has been done to the Great Lakes. Ludwig, 72, spent the majority of his career studying chemical pollution of the Great Lakes and its effects on birds. In the 1980s, he gained notoriety for raising a cormorant named Cosmos, whose bill had genetic damage linked to pollutants. Ludwig used the bird to communicate the hazards of chemical pollution to a variety of audiences, including members of Congress. Ludwig, originally from Port Huron, now lives in Canada where he writes and remains active in Great Lakes ecological matters.

Birds with high-tech backpacks bring back info

Capital News Service
LANSING – Endangered birds in Michigan are sporting tiny locator backpacks to help determine how they get to their winter homes. During the summer, Kirtland’s warblers nest only in certain areas of Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). In Michigan, they are found in 13 counties, from Lake Huron west to Kalkaska County and from Presque Isle County south to Ogemaw County. During the winter they migrate south to the Bahamas. The question is, how do they get there?

Birding Capital proposal dead duck for now

Capital News Service
LANSING – Nobody’s talking about designating the small Thumb village of Pigeon as Michigan’s birding capital. Or Eagle Harbor on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Or Hawks, northwest of Alpena. Or even Eagle, located west of Lansing. But Iosco County would become the state’s birding capital under a legislative proposal that’s a dead duck – at least for this year.