earthstar - macombaudubon.org
NEWSLETTER OF THE MACOMB AUDUBON SOCIETY
Monday, March 4, 2013 - Boxque, Barnegat &
Bethel: A Photographer Adrift - Presented by:
The pursuit of waterfowl photography takes Dave
Stimac to far-flung reaches of the northern hemisphere. From fishing villages in Norway to sewage
ponds in South Dakota, Dave finds the birds he is
looking for, along with a lot of other surprises. Join
Dave as he struggles to make sense of it all.
Monday, April 1, 2013 - "Dude, Where are
you!?!?" Adventures and misadventures chasing
Michigan's rarest birds. – Presented by Caleb
Listing: the perennial battle of the competitive birder. Loved by some, and hated by many, few can deny the intense level of adventure this arcane and
absurd habit offers its dedicated participants.
Caleb Putnam, who chased his first state rarity on
May 2, 1997 (a Pacific Loon in Livingston County),
and whom still sits a distant 34 species behind first
place in Michigan listing, will share some of the
more memorable of his personal triumphs and flops
to date. This storytelling talk is replete with photos
and video clips of Caleb's greatest Michigan rarities, and will have you on the edge of your seat and
ready to start listing by its end!
Volume 39 number 2 , March –April 2013
Dear Macomb Audubon and anyone else able to do
help with habitat maintenance,
As a volunteer at Stony Creek Metropark, it has come to
my attention that the habitat around many of the dozens of bluebird boxes at Stony has become overgrown
with invasive plants and is no longer suitable for them.
These boxes were placed and maintained for decades
by our late founder and past president, Jim Stevens. We
(Stony) are organizing a volunteer work group to spend
a few hours cutting and removing brush from around
the boxes in the late March – early April timeframe. I
can think of no better way to honor the memory of Jim
Stevens and his hundreds of volunteer hours, than to
volunteer for this effort. There are two ways to sign up:
1. I will have a sign-up sheet at the February 4
2. Forward your availability to me at
Be sure to include the following information in either
Name, Phone number, Email address, Available on
weekdays? Yes or no, Available on weekends? Yes or
Thank you so much for your consideration,
Ruth Glass, 586-876-0395
Macomb Audubon Society
The Macomb Audubon Society is a
chapter of the Michigan Audubon
society. Meetings are normally held
the first Monday of each month at
7:30 p.m. at the Sterling Heights Parks
and Recreation Center located on the
N.E .side of Utica Rd. east of Van Dyke
and North of 18 mile Rd.
Events of the Society are open to the
The mission of the Macomb Audubon
Society is to:
Promote interest in the world of nature and to aid in the conservation of
Provide an outlet for nature activities
via field trips.
Provide an opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and experience
through lectures, films, discussions
Aid organizations that provide people
of all ages with opportunities to experience these above given objectives.
People can support our efforts by
becoming members. To become a
member, complete the form on the
inside back cover. Members receive
this newsletter, the Earthstar.
We appreciate relevant
information or articles of interest
to the Macomb Audubon
membership for review for
pllublicaton in the Earthstar. If you
have material that you wish to
submit, please send it by the 12th of
the preceding month to:
Bill Clark 53253 North Ave
Macomb MI 48042.
Email: [email protected]
Earthstar is published
bimonthly.by the Macomb
Audubon Society, a non-profit
Hi everybody , how you doin’?
Feb. 17th.: I started writing this column
on Fri. the 15th., the first day of the
GBBC (Great Backyard Bird Count) and
here I am 2 days later. What to write,
what to write? I’m in pain (fell and bruised my ribs up at
Higgins Lake taking a hike, had a great time regardless and at
least I was doing something I love to do when I hurt myself)
am having a hard time concentrating - yikes - if I don’t get
this in Bill is going to kill me. HELP! Then - tah-dah - a little birdie came to me, literally. HELLO! This morning I noticed a bird with an unusual shaped beak - grab the binoculars, grab the camera, it’s gone, bummer. About an hour later
husband says, “There’s your bird that you were all excited
about earlier and it does have an unusual shaped beak, seems
to be crossed. Binoculars, camera, get out the ID books,
cross reference, check, and double check. Holy crap we have
a female Red Crossbill. Why am I so excited you ask. I have
never seen a Crossbill of any kind and here she is in my own
backyard. HOW COOL IS THIS? VERY!!!! In the 25 yrs.
that we have lived here we see something new every year and
here’s a Red Crossbill. WOW-WOW-WOW!!!! Okay,
enough with the exclamations.)
BAM!!!! (oops, sorry) John is standing at the kitchen window and spots our first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker of the year.
What a super great GBBC this is turning out to be.
We’re not here for a long time we’re here for a good time and
damned if I’m not having one today. To be inspired by one
little bird is what I will remember as one of those awesome
little great times. Whoopee!
2012 CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT RESULTS
Macomb Audubon Society's participation in the
113th Annual Christmas Bird Count was held
on December 15, 2012 with 30 people in the
field and another 5 at feeders. The weather
ranged from 26 to 42 degrees with fog in the
morning, but no snow on the ground. We had a
total of 69 species and 16,159 individual birds.
New high counts were set for eight species:
366 for Hooded Merganser, 667 for Common
Merganser, 104 for Wild Turkey, 7 for Bald Eagle, 1007 for Ring-billed Gull, 104 for Tufted
Titmouse, 16 for Brown Creeper and 80 for
Pine Siskin. High counts were tied for three
species: 2 for Sandhill Crane, 1 for Bonaparte’s
Gull and 2 for Pileated Woodpecker. The complete results can be found on our Macomb
Audubon Website or the National Audubon
website: http://birds.audubon.org/christmasbird-count. Go to Results, Data and Research,
continue to Current Year Results by Count and
enter Western Macomb County, MIWM.
We would like to thank all of the citizen science
participants for the time and effort you volunteer each year to make this count a success.
Thank you to all of the people who set up the
room and hot beverages, contributed soups,
chili, snacks and desserts. We would also like
Doug Spiller and the Stony Creek Nature Center to know how much we appreciate them
hosting the tally. This year's count will be on
Saturday, Dec. 14th. Please mark your calendar now and plan to help out.
Barb Baldinger, Compiler
Tom Heatley, Co-compiler
Meetings are held the first Monday of most
months at 7:30 PM at the Sterling Heights
Parks & Recreation Center located on the
NE side of Utica Rd, east of Van Dyke and
North Of 18 Mile Rd.
The officers and members of the Macomb Audubon Society would like to thank the following
members for Joining or renewing on the Contributor Level: Gary Corbin, Elaine & David MacDonald,
Margaret Alyea, Frank & Fran Lautner, Patrick &
Carolyn Harrington, Bill & Betty Lou Clark, Ward
Randol, Loraine Campbell, Alice Forton, Chris
Becher, Keith & Barbara Bennett,
Thanks to the people who brought refreshments to the
meeting. It adds to much to the fellowship.
Betty Lou Clark
Macomb Audubon Society now has its own Facebook
page! Upcoming activities and current bird sightings are
posted on this popular social media. Check it out and
"Like" us! While you are there, you may also want to
look at another interesting Facebook page: Peregrine
Falcons Southeast Michigan. Here you will find updates
and photos from Chris Becher, MDNR Southeast Michigan Peregrine Falcon Nesting Coordinator and MDNR
volunteer, Barb Baldinger.
Macomb Audubon Society
is now on Facebook For those of you who are on
Facebook, be sure to search for Macomb Audubon
Society and “Like” us! Here you will find notices of
our activities, as well as photos and recent bird
sightings from our members. We would like to hear
By Ruth Glass
Hello friends! Two weeks ago 17 of us took advantage of some decent weather to observe some of the more exciting
birds visiting Stony this time of year, and have some fun. We saw Trumpeter Swans (which typically nest in Alaska and
neighboring provinces), Redhead Ducks (also from the north and west), a Hooded Merganser, an Osprey nest (active in
spring and summer), Brown Creepers, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and a pair of Bald Eagles, among others. Hopefully you
can join me on my next trip Saturday March 9 at 9am. I will be leading trips on behalf of Stony Creek Metropark the second Saturday of every month through November. We will meet at the Nature Center at 9am to register ($2 charge to
cover costs), and then depart to where ever the birds happen to be that day and/or explore some of the lesser travelled
areas of the park. I hope to include a couple trips to Wolcott as well. Afterward, you are welcome to return to the Nature Center for refreshments. Attached are photos from our January trip, and a promo for the upcoming trips.
Seasonal Changes, by Jack Foehrenbach
As summer changes into Fall and Fall into Winter, so do the numbers and species of birds we
observe on our farm. Some species gradually disappear while others begin to appear. Numbers of a single species range from a single bird to small flocks less than a hundred to a very
large flock in the thousands.
During the end of September, the Chipping Sparrows gradually disappeared. The last
hummingbird at our feeder was October 6th. Canada Geese were seen with their numbers
increasing each day, and just before dusk they would come to our ponds to spend the night.
An Eastern Phoebe was seen foraging for insects in the sheep pasture for a few days before
moving on. Likewise a flock of about 50 robins showed up and stayed for three days. While
here, they foraged for worms and grubs and various fruits on the shrubs and vines. A flock of
about 30 starlings were seen in the canopy of our trees followed by a large flock of Crackles
in the thousands. Both only stayed for a few minutes before leaving. There were a few Redwing Blackbirds mixed in with the Crackles. At the end of October, small numbers of Carolina
Chickadees, Juncos and Titmice were feeding actively at the feeders, only one Whitethroated Sparrow was seen. Four Yellow-rump Warblers were on our deck flying into a glass
door with no success, chasing insects that were on the inside. We had observed this before.
November and December showed large fluctuations in the temperature and a few changes
in bird populations and species. During early November, there were freezing temperatures
and our ponds froze and the Canada Geese spent the nights on the Chester River. A Redbreasted and Downy Woodpecker made daily visits to the suet feeder. Our summer resident
House Sparrows used a stand of vines as their winter roost growing close to the chicken coop. They went into the coop as well as the sheep barn to feed. Spilled corn around the storage bin was also used. They used these sources more than the feeders. Is this a trait of a city
bird? The weather moderated during December as several 50 degree days occurred. What
was very noticeable was the reduced activity at our feeders. The woodpeckers abandoned
the suet feeder, and the number of song birds at our feeders was way down. Apparently. birds
liked to feed in the wild over manmade feed sources. The ponds were ice free, but the geese
never returned. The Christmas Bird Count did show the usual number of birds in the area.
During the first week of January, a cold front came and with it a light snowfall. Activity at
the feeders increased dramatically. A Song Sparrow was seen and to my surprise an Eastern
Towhee also showed up. Several White-throated Sparrows finally joined the Juncos in about
equal numbers making them the most abundant species at the feeders. They were joined by
small flocks (5-1O) of Carolina Chickadees, and Titmice. Cardinals and Blue Jays, whether
singularly or in pairs added color o the area.
I look forward to the spring when the birds start their breeding cycle.
Introducing Mr. Chapman
Have you ever taken part in a Christmas Bird Count? Have you ever visited a National Wildlife Refuge? If you answered yes to both of these questions the person to thank is Frank Chapman (18641965) He was born and grew up in suburban West Englewood, New Jersey. From his mother he got
a love for the outdoors. From his father he developed an ability to see projects through to the end.
A small inheritance allowed him to quit his job at a bank, and he went to work at the American Museum of Natural History. He built their collection into one of the largest in the world displaying birds as
an integral part of their environment.
He was among a small group of birders who realized that many species would become extinct. People’s hearts had to change and public opinion had to be galvanized. Chapman in 1899 created a popular magazine called Bird Lore so the various Audubon societies could communicate with one another.
Concerned about the breeding birds of Florida's Pelican Island he went to his friend President Theodore Roosevelt and he declared the island a bird sanctuary, the first of 53 refuges.
In the December 1900 issue of Bird Lore, Chapman suggested to counter the practice of shooting
birds, bird lovers go out and count birds. Twenty-seven birders in the Boston and New York area began the Annual Christmas Bird Count. Thank you Mr. Chapman for your contributions to the activity
we all love.
Wade Leonard (The above is condensed from the article Meeting Mr. Chapman Bird Watchers Digest
(Nov/Dec 2008 Pages 44-49 by Norma Siebenheller
We’re Proud Supporters of
Lake St. Clair Nature Center
Sterling Heights Nature Center,
Seven Ponds Nature Center,
Stony Creek Nature Center,
Burgess Shadbush Nature Center,
Wild Life Recovery Association,
Michigan Nature Association,
Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy.
Michigan Audubon RRBO
For the best bird seed
At the best prices
Uncle Luke’s feed store
To contact the Macomb Audubon
Society by e-mail the address is
To join the Macomb Audubon
Mailing list please send an e-mail
To: macombaudubon [email protected]
Macomb Audubon Society
Board Members & committee Chairs
Colleen Traylor (248) 627-6872
1 VP (Programs)
Christine Becher (810) 796-3505
2 VP (Member Ship)
Beverlee Babcock (586 ) 263-7666
3rd VP (Field Trips)
Colleen Traylor & Charles Smart
Laura Barbour (248) 853-5465
Micki Smith (586) 791-9623
Frank Lautner (586) 791-7913
Car Pool Coordinator
Christmas Bird Count
Barb Baldinger (586) 263-6530
Environmental & Conservation Vacant
Michael Mroz (586) 596-2776
Hospitality (Refreshments) Betty Ebert & Alice Forton
Hospitality (Door Prizes)
Denis & Laura Barbour
Earthstar Newsletter Editor Bill Clark--------- (586) 749-5523
Michigan Audubon Rep.
Members-at-Large (2 positions) Vacant
Newsletter Production, Mailing Denis & Laura Barbour
Seven Ponds Representative Dave & Elaine McDonald
Macomb Audubon Society Dues
Please make checks payable to Macomb Audubon Society and send to: Beverlee Babcock
Macomb Audubon Membership 50229 Pepper Tree Dr. Macomb Mi, 48044.
Your name and the names of family members (Please Print)
New Member_______Renewal______ Check One
_______Family Membership $17.00
Total Amount enclosed $________
______Individual Membership $14.00
Amount of donation over membership $_____(optional)
_____Student Membership $ $10.00
Contributor----up to $49.99
______Senior Membership $10.00
Supporter------$50 to $99.99
(single or couple over 60)
Donor-----------$100 and over
Each year Macomb Audubon makes a membership list available to members. Check here if you wish to have
your telephone number left off the list _____
Check here to receive the Earthstar by Email only_____
Check here if a Michigan Audubon member_____
Check here if a National Audubon member _____
I (we) are interested in becoming a Macomb Audubon volunteer. Please contact me____