Jackson Audubon Society

 The Audubon Society of Jackson County, Michigan

  • Monday, May 28, 2018 7:33 AM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    The Grass Lake Cubscout Pack 4236 Wolves completed the construction and staging of five nest boxes in April.  Jackson Audubon supported this project and provided funding for the purchase of materials.  This project was right in line with our mission “… to instill in the people of Jackson County an interest, knowledge, and appreciation of birds and other wildlife.

    Pack 4236, led by Kimberly Rapert, built the boxes and then staged them at the Grass Lake Warrior Trails and Nature Park.  She reported, “We had a wonderful experience.  First, the boys got to work closely with their parents and learn simple construction.  Second, the boys learned about bluebirds, why they need special protection, and learned where to put such houses.  In addition to our Earth Day trail clean-up and tree planting event, the boys took an active role in positioning the houses, finding east with a compass (to face them), locating water, nesting materials, and close food for the houses, and worked on putting in the poles and predator defense baffles.  Each of the five houses has a boy's initials on it.”

    JAS stressed the importance of both proper placement and management of the houses. Too often these projects provide housing for invasive species, such as House Sparrow, and end up conflicting with the intent of promoting native species like Eastern Bluebird and Tree Swallow.  We are confident this will be a successful project.  Rapert said, “I feel confident the boys felt a genuine investment in caring for nature.”


  • Tuesday, May 15, 2018 7:44 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    The Tuesday Morning Group crossed the county line to visit the wildflower jewel of Washtenaw County this morning.:  The nature Conservancy's Nan Weston Preserve.     The weather cooperated and was cool and kept the mosquitos down.  Joann Balbach lead us on a walk through Trilliums in full bloom.  We also saw Spring Beauty, May Apple, Maiden Hair fern, Violets of various colors, Ragwort, Wild Strawberry, Gooseberry, Solomon Seal & False Solomon Seal, Dwarf Ginseng, Anemone, Phlox, Wild Geranium, and Ginger.

    She shared her knowledge of the various species as well as some folklore and ancient remedies used for some of the plants.

    On the bird front, the thrushes were quite active and Lynn Eckerle spotted a Barred Owl. 

  • Tuesday, April 03, 2018 7:41 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    The Tuesday Morning Group took a drive out to the Muskegon County Wastewater plant today to check out wildfowl on the west side.  Five of us drove along the dikes from the Administrative office past the aeration ponds and around the west pond.  

    The sky was overcast but fair light for viewing. The wind was driving at times and the rain and snow sometimes impeded views.  the west side of the pond was pretty choppy bu the east side drive was much calmer.

    There were lots of scaup and ring neck ducks.  We also saw a Bonaparte's gull and some horned grebes.  Full trip list is below.  Oh, and there were some ring-billed gulls...


    Number of Taxa: 36

    13 Canada Goose -- (1),(2)
    3 Blue-winged Teal -- (2)
    95 Northern Shoveler -- (2)
    55 Gadwall -- (2)
    30 Mallard -- (2)
    12 Redhead -- (2)
    60 Ring-necked Duck -- (2)
    120 Greater/Lesser Scaup -- (2)
    40 Bufflehead -- (2)
    1 Common Goldeneye -- (2)
    6 Common Merganser -- (2)
    3 Ruddy Duck -- (2)
    5 Wild Turkey -- (1)
    7 Horned Grebe -- (2)
    1 Great Blue Heron -- (1)
    2 Turkey Vulture -- (1)
    2 Red-tailed Hawk -- (1),(2)
    50 American Coot -- (2)
    2 Killdeer -- (2)
    1 Bonaparte's Gull -- (2)
    2000 Ring-billed Gull -- (1),(2)
    18 Herring Gull -- (2)
    1 Mourning Dove -- (2)
    1 Downy Woodpecker -- (2)
    7 American Crow -- (1),(2)
    1 Black-capped Chickadee -- (2)
    1 Tufted Titmouse -- (2)
    1 White-breasted Nuthatch -- (2)
    1 Eastern Bluebird -- (2)
    3 American Robin -- (2)
    40 European Starling -- (2)
    2 American Tree Sparrow -- (2)
    8 Dark-eyed Junco -- (2)
    2 Song Sparrow -- (2)
    20 Red-winged Blackbird -- (2)
    5 Common Grackle -- (2)


    Checklists included in this summary:
    (1): JAS Muskegon WWT Trip
    (2): Muskegon Wastewater System

  • Saturday, March 31, 2018 9:10 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    The rain held off most of the morning for the annual Jackson Audubon Society Early Waterfowl Tour.  JAS president Connie Spotts lead eleven members on a driving tour of Jackson area lakes in search of local and migrating waterfowl.

    We started at Watkins Lake State Park.  (And don’t you just love saying “state park” after Watkins Lake?)  While the numbers of birds were not huge, we were not disappointed.  The highlights were Common Loon, Belted Kingfisher, and Common Goldeneye.  But these were overshadowed, or overflown, by a flock of about 20 Tundra Swans to the west.

    From Watkins, we checked out Norvell Lake on Palmer and Austin Roads.  We added Gadwall and our first Tree Swallows for the morning.

    Next, we checked out the north part of Portage Lake in hopes of seeing the White-winged Scoter reported earlier, but did not see it.

    We had lunch at nearby Portage Lake Parlor, a newly opened restaurant on Seymour Rd. at Welch Lake Rd. 

    We finished the trip with two stops, in the rain, at Gilletts Lake.  We had a grebe but could not determine if it was Horned or Eared as it was in transitional plumage.

    The next JAS trip is the Tuesday Morning Group’s visit to the Muskegon Wastewater facility (http://jacksonaudubon.org/event-2829557)

    Total species/taxa recorded was 45, complete list is below.

    Number of Checklists: 5
    Number of Taxa: 45

    84 Canada Goose -- (1),(2),(3),(4)
    12 Mute Swan -- (1),(2)
    15 swan sp. -- (1)
    2 Wood Duck -- (3)
    4 Northern Shoveler -- (1),(2)
    3 Gadwall -- (2),(3)
    2 American Wigeon -- (3)
    6 Mallard -- (1),(2),(3)
    1 Redhead -- (4)
    180 Ring-necked Duck -- (1),(2),(3),(4)
    10 Lesser Scaup -- (3)
    10 Greater/Lesser Scaup -- (4)
    50 Bufflehead -- (1),(3),(4)
    1 Common Goldeneye -- (1)
    6 Hooded Merganser -- (1),(3)
    10 Common Merganser -- (1)
    2 Ruddy Duck -- (3)
    1 Common Loon -- (1)
    3 Pied-billed Grebe -- (1),(4)
    1 Horned/Eared Grebe -- (4)
    4 Great Blue Heron -- (1),(2),(3)
    1 Turkey Vulture -- (1)
    1 Bald Eagle -- (3)
    1 Red-tailed Hawk -- (1)
    10 American Coot -- (4)
    10 Sandhill Crane -- (2)
    3 Killdeer -- (1)
    1 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) -- (5)
    2 Mourning Dove -- (1)
    1 Belted Kingfisher -- (1)
    1 Red-bellied Woodpecker -- (3)
    3 American Crow -- (1)
    2 Tree Swallow -- (2)
    1 Black-capped Chickadee -- (5)
    1 Tufted Titmouse -- (5)
    1 White-breasted Nuthatch -- (5)
    1 Eastern Bluebird -- (1)
    4 American Robin -- (1)
    1 American Tree Sparrow -- (5)
    1 Chipping Sparrow -- (5)
    1 Song Sparrow -- (5)
    1 Northern Cardinal -- (1)
    40 Red-winged Blackbird -- (1),(2)
    10 Common Grackle -- (1)
    1 House Sparrow -- (5)

    Checklists included in this summary:
    (1): Watkins Lake SP
    Date: Mar 31, 2018, 09:30
    (2): Norvell Lake (west)
    Date: Mar 31, 2018, 10:30
    (3): Cutler Rd. and Dunn Rd. wetland
    Date: Mar 31, 2018, 11:15
    (4): Gilletts Lake
    Date: Mar 31, 2018, 14:00
    (5): JAS Early Waterfowl Tour - driving
    Date: Mar 31, 2018, 09:00

  • Tuesday, March 06, 2018 8:36 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Seven members of the JAS Tuesday Morning Group walked the Moeckel Rd. section of the Waterloo Recreation Area on Tuesday.  We were joined by Ron Hoffman who shared stories of his ancestors who lived in the area, including on nearby Hoffman Rd.  

    The bridge over the Portage River is out due to recent high water and beaver activity.  The DNR has closed the bridge.

    Gary Siegrist then led the group on a walk and showed us his favorite area of the area that he frequented in his youth.

    We did see some signs of spring including some Eastern Bluebirds and a lone Song Sparrow.  Complete list of birds is available HERE.


  • Monday, February 12, 2018 4:19 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    JAS member Lynn Ward has provided article by Michigan Bluebird Society president Kurt Hagemeister on how you can Help Bluebirds in Michigan.  

    MBS has announced their Spring Bluebird Festival to take place on March 24th.  The sessions this year will include Purple Martin Conservation and Michigan Birds of Prey, in addition to those on bluebirds. 

    Details on the festival are available at HERE.



  • Wednesday, January 31, 2018 8:09 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Robert Ayotte presented  “Conifers of the Great Lakes Region" at Hidden Lake Gardens on Tuesday.  His excellent program was enjoyed by about 40 people from Jackson Audubon, Men's Garden Club of Jackson, North American Rock Garden Society, and the Ann Arbor Bonsai Society.   Robert provided an in-depth view of our native conifers of Michigan including habitat, pests, and natural distribution.


    Steve Jerant

    The indoor presentation was followed by an outdoor walk around Hidden Lake to see some of these species up close. Robert also shared some amusing and informative stories with the group.


    Lynne Ekerle

    Robert's Presentation is available HERE.


    Steve Jerant

    Special thanks to Mickey Kress for getting this arranged for the Tuesday Morning Group.

    Lynne Ekerle

    Lynne Ekerle

  • Monday, January 01, 2018 10:54 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Waterloo Recreation Area 49th Annual Christmas Bird Count 2017

    The 49th annual Jackson Audubon Christmas Bird Count was held this year on December 16th.  Cloudy conditions and a chilly wind greeted the thirty precipitants as they split up into the ten areas that makes up the Waterloo Recreation Area Count. With temperatures reaching into the mid-thirties by afternoon the counters amassed a total of 95.25 hours in the field with 567.5 miles driven or walked. The fifteen hearty soles that went owling were treated to a cool wind blowing and temperatures in the mid-to-high twenties. Their efforts were rewarded with ten eastern screech owls, 10 great horned owls, and 1 barred owl being heard.   

    With very few waterfowl found, sixty-three bird species were recorded for the count day this year with another four-bird species seen in count week but not on count day. This is a very respectable total considering that all water was frozen other than moving water. The record total for a Waterloo Recreation Area CBC happened in 2001 when we found a total of 71 bird species.


    A total of 7,232 birds were counted, with Canada Goose (1,333) and European Starling (722) the most numerous bird species seen. The first ever recorded Peregrine Falcon showed up this year but not surprising with Peregrine’s staying all year around the City of Jackson. Continued rising numbers for Bald Eagles (8) is very satisfying as this regal bird species comes back from the brink of chemical poisoning in Michigan. Two other species, Pileated Woodpecker (12) and Carolina Wren (8) were found in good numbers. Lastly, Turkey Vultures (2) appeared this year and why is this unusual for the count? Well, most years this species has left for parts warmer a month ago, but not this year despite our cold temperatures.


    Remember to save the 2018 CBC date, Saturday December 15th. Thank you all for helping this CBC become one of the most successful counts we have recorded.

    Gary Siegrist, Compiler  
    Waterloo Recreation Area CBC      

    List of bird species:

    Canada Goose – 1,333

    Tundra Swan – 1

    Mallard – 35

    Ring-neck Pheasant – 6

    Wild Turkey – 209

    Great Blue Heron – 3

    Turkey Vulture – 2

    Bald Eagle – 7

    Northern Harrier – 2

    Sharp-shinned Hawk – 2

    Cooper’s Hawk – 8

    Red-shouldered Hawk – 1 (immature)   

    Red-tailed Hawk – 45

    Rough-legged Hawk – 3

    Peregrine Falcon – 1 

    American Kestrel – 7

    American Coot – 1

    Sandhill Crane – 503

    Rock Pigeon – 156

    Mourning Dove – 652

    Eastern Screech Owl – 10

    Great Horned Owl – 10

    Barred Owl – 1

    Belted Kingfisher – 3

    Red-bellied Woodpecker – 87

    Downy Woodpecker – 95

    Hairy Woodpecker – 20

    Northern Flicker – 12

    Pileated Woodpecker – 12

    Northern Shrike – 1

    Blue Jay – 253

    American Crow – 190

    Horned Lark – 64

    Black-capped Chickadee – 286

    Tufted Titmouse – 112

    Red-breasted Nuthatch – 2

    White-breasted Nuthatch – 128

    Brown Creeper – 3

    Carolina Wren – 8

    Winter Wren – 3

    Golden-crown Kinglet – 12

    Eastern Bluebird – 48

    Hermit Thrush – 2

    American Robin – 14

    Northern Mockingbird – 2

    European Starling – 722

    Cedar Waxwing – 235

    American Tree Sparrow – 432

    Field Sparrow – 1

    Song Sparrow – 15

    Swamp Sparrow – 6

    White-throated Sparrow – 5

    White-crowned Sparrow – 1

    Dark-eyed Junco – 412

    Lapland Longspur – 99

    Northern Cardinal – 176

    Red-winged Blackbird – 6

    Brown-headed Cowbird – 32

    Purple Finch – 9

    House Finch – 96

    Pine Siskin – 4

    American Goldfinch – 165

    House Sparrow – 488   

    Total number of species – 63        Total number of birds – 7,232

    Species seen count week:

    Snow Bunting – 15

    Common Grackle – 1

    Eastern Towhee – 1

    Golden Eagle – 1  

  • Thursday, December 07, 2017 9:27 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Elizabeth Dell, the State Coordinator in Michigan for Citizens’ Climate Lobby,  has sent an invitation to Jackson Audubon members to learn about this organization on Monday, 12/11.   Citizens’ Climate Lobby, is a non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization with over 450 volunteer-led chapters dedicated to generating the political will for effective national policies to address climate change. We have 16 chapters in Michigan and are hoping to organize one in Jackson so we can more effectively work with Rep. Walberg’s office. 

    This coming Monday, two volunteers will be presenting about their work at the Carnegie Library. The local Sierra Club chapter is hosting. 

    More information is available at their Facebook page.

  • Tuesday, November 28, 2017 5:58 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    The world renowned UofM bird skins collection moved this year to a remodeled facility south of town on Varsity Dr.  The Tuesday Group visited the facility and received a tour from Janet Hinshaw, the Bird Division Collection Manager.  

    This facility now contains all the vertebrate and non-vertebrate animal collections and library.  While the move is not yet complete, most of the collection specimens are in place and accessible to researchers. 

    Janet showed the group samples of accipiters and thrushes to see size and plumage differences between these easily confused species.   

    We also got a chance to see some species that most of us will likely not see in our lifetimes including secretary bird, Steller's Seas Eagle, and a few drawers of penguins.  We finished with a look through the 'extinct taxa' section.  There are some excellent mounts of passenger pigeon and Labrador duck.  

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