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 Jackson Audubon Society

 The Audubon Society of Jackson County, Michigan

View of Mud lake Marsh from the Harold Wing Overlook (Steve Jerant)

Jackson Audubon opposes the proposed Sandhill Crane hunt in Michigan.

Since its inception in 1904, the Michigan Audubon community has consistently supported and worked for the protection of native bird species. 

  • Sandhill cranes are a distinctive species and are models of fidelity and longevity.
  • They hold the record as the oldest living bird species.
  • As residents of the Jackson area, we have a special association with cranes.  Casper “Cap Haehnle, an avid hunter, deeded his property, now called the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary, for permanent protection for birds and other wildlife to Michigan Audubon. It has grown to over 1000 acres and has become a regional destination for tourists and birders, especially in the autumn. 

The economic benefits from crane viewing.

  • Michigan Audubon, including Haehnle, participated in a study on the value of cranes for tourism a few years ago. The number of crane watchers far outnumbers the potential number of crane hunters.
  • The visitor registry at Haehnle Sanctuary continually records visitors from across the US and other countries.
  • Undoubtedly, hunting related dollars have had a positive impact on all wildlife in Michigan.  But current trends suggest more and more that wildlife watchers are enjoying non-hunting forms of recreation and these citizens are willing to spend their dollars to do so.
  • We question the effect hunting cranes will have on the Sanctuary and tourism in Jackson & Calhoun counties.

Crane population and hunting

  • In 1931, there were only 17 pairs of sandhill cranes in the lower peninsula.  While the bird’s population has recovered, and they are now abundant throughout the Mississippi flyway, we should celebrate this conservation success story rather than risk repeating past mistakes.
  • After years of increasing, the fall population index of cranes in Michigan has leveled off since 2009.  
  • Cranes have one of the lowest recruitment rates, meaning they reproduce at low numbers. 
  • While we recognize that sandhill cranes inflict localized crop damage, it is not widespread. Michigan has already established successful management tools for agricultural stakeholders experiencing issues with this bird.  

Michigan Audubon opposes the proposed Sandhill Crane hunt in the state of Michigan.

Michigan Audubon post regarding pending action in the Michigan legislature:

The Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary is a Michigan Audubon Society preserve managed by the Jackson Audubon Society. Encompassing more than 1,000 acres at the western edge of the Waterloo Recreation Area, it is renowned as a gathering place for Sandhill Cranes during the fall migration. While many pairs of cranes nest in the area during the breeding season, thousands gather here during fall migration from September to mid-November. Late afternoon visitors during that time of year can see cranes landing in the Sanctuary.

On autumn weekends sanctuary greeters will be available to answer questions. You can also see many cranes feeding in the fields in the nearby area. Maps are updated each week in the fall for local crane hot spots. In addition to crane viewing, this is an excellent Michigan bird watching destination and over 200 species of birds can be seen at Haehnle. 

In addition to birding, the Sanctuary has interpretive hiking trails through restored prairies and woodland. These trails are also great for snow shoeing and cross country skiing in the winter. As a result of the prairie and wetland restoration projects this area is excellent for general nature study and wildflower viewing. The Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary is located six miles northeast of Jackson, Michigan on Seymour Road, between Updyke and Wooster Roads. 

Download Crane Maps below:

Crane Driving Map

Open daily dawn to dusk.

Free admission.
Contact:  Steve Jerant at

Please respect this Sanctuary 

Keep Pets on leash and clean up after them

Hunting, Fishing & motorized travel is strictly prohibited in the Sanctuary


Just another day in paradise  (Steve Jerant)

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