Audubon Great Lakes
Monthly Newsletter April, 2022
Share the Love, Share the Shore
Help Protect Great Lakes Piping Plovers
The Great Lakes play a crucial role in birds’ life cycles like the Great Lake Piping Plovers. These shorebirds and millions of birds rely on the Great Lakes for productive breeding grounds. The Great Lakes’ coastal wetlands, which filter and store our water, also provide core nesting habitat for birds. However, the region also faces real challenges. Active stewardship of these areas and advocacy for the policies and laws that protect them and the wildlife they support are core components of our strategy.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) has been vital for improving the health of the Great Lakes and has helped restore habitats for shorebirds, including the endangered Piping Plover and because of GLRI’s prioritization of restoration of dune and beach habitat, plover numbers are trending upward and are on their way to reaching the recovery goal of 150 breeding pairs.

Each spring and summer, beach-nesting birds like the plovers lay their eggs directly on the sand and raise their chicks right here on Great Lakes shorelines in places like Montrose Harbor in Chicago, Cat Island in Green Bay, Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore near Traverse City in Michigan, and Maumee Bay State Park in Ohio. You can help protect these endangered Great Lakes Piping Plovers as they raise their families! If you love spending time on the beach or the water, join us and Share the Love, Share the Shore with our coastal birds by giving them the space they need to nest, rest, and feed. By pledging to Share the Shore and spread the message, you'll join a united effort of "good eggs" taking action for birds.Take The Pledge
Share the Love, Share the Shore
St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area. Photo: Ducks Unlimited.
Revitalized St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area for Wildlife and Outdoor Recreationists
Explore our work in Michigan’s St. Clair Flats region, alongside Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Ducks Unlimited, to revitalize St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area for the benefit of vulnerable species like the Black Tern and local communities! After years of urbanization and industrialization resulted in a historic loss of wetlands in this region, restoration work will benefit birds, the local communities and outdoor recreationists.

Celebrate spring and explore Michigan’s Wetlands with a birding tour at St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area, which doubles as an Audubon Important Bird Area, on May 7 from 9 -12 p.m. ET.
St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area. Photo: Ducks Unlimited.
Black Tern, juvenile and adult. Photo: Sabrina Dao/Audubon Photography Awards.
Recovering America’s Wildlife Act
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote! 

This legislation will be an important part of how we respond to the loss of 3 billion birds in North America since 1970. The dedicated funding it will provide will help state wildlife agencies proactively conserve vulnerable species, like the Golden-Winged Warbler and Black Tern.

Please ask your Members of Congress to support the Recovering America's Wildlife Act to help thousands of wildlife species, including more than 800 bird species, and prevent future extinctions.
Black Tern, juvenile and adult. Photo: Sabrina Dao/Audubon Photography Awards.
Powderhorn Lake
Powderhorn Lake Habitat Restoration in Progress
A huge effort is underway to restore wetlands and reduce flooding at Powderhorn Lake Forest Preserve on the southeast side of Chicago. A new video from the Great Lakes Commission shows how a collaborative effort between local, state, regional and federal organizations is restoring more than 100 acres of wetlands, connecting the lake to its northern neighbor, Wolf Lake, and ultimately Lake Michigan.

The area is home to 100 bird species, 250 plant species and 2,500 insect species and the restoration work is helping to reestablish the vital marsh habitat that birds like the Least Bittern, Common Gallinule and Pied-billed Grebe rely on to successful reproduce and raise young each summer.
Powderhorn Lake Restoration
Ruby throated hummingbird
Tips To Make Your Home or Office More Bird-Friendly
The Great Lakes lie at the intersection of two migratory flyways, or superhighways, which brings over 350 bird species through the region each spring. While a beautiful spectacle, migration is a harrowing journey for birds who are in danger of colliding with glass. The good news is that there are opportunities to make your home or office more bird-friendly! You can learn more on reducing collisions with glass here and some great DIY bird window collision deterrent methods.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Photo: Patrick Carney
Getting Birdy in the St. Louis River Estuary
Getting Birdy in the St. Louis River Estuary
The St. Louis River Estuary is a freshwater ecosystem and one of the largest tributaries that drains into Lake Superior. This area is designated as an Important Bird Area in Wisconsin and Minnesota  is one of the best sites for bird watching in both states.  There are significant concentrations of waterfowl, shorebirds, waterbirds, passerines and raptors during spring and fall migration. The wetlands and associated shrub habitats of the area include breeding populations of Sedge and Marsh Wren, Alder Flycatcher, Sora, Virginia Rail, Swamp Sparrow, Chestnut-sided, and Yellow Warble.

Despite all these birds, many locations within the estuary are not frequently visited by bird watchers, and we need more data! Please join us in helping to learn more about how exactly birds use  this amazing location by getting out, watching, and recording birds that you see on eBird! 
Golden-crowned Kinglet. Photo: Gary Robinette/Audubon Photography Awards
Celebrating Our Smallest Migrants
Whether you are new to bird watching or an experienced birder, spring migration has something to offer everyone as hundreds of bird species don their brightest breeding plumage and journey through the Great Lakes region, loudly signing their songs.

Over the next few weeks, the Great Lakes region will welcome some of our smallest migrants including Warblers and our region’s only Hummingbird. Celebrate the return of these tiny migrants by learning how to identify them, where you can find them, and how you can support them.
Golden-crowned Kinglet. Photo: Gary Robinette/Audubon Photography Awards
Get Involved
Climate Watch
Save the Date: Climate Watch Survey
Help build a better world for birds by joining Climate Watch to test and improve climate models. The next Climate Watch survey season will run from May 15 to June 15! The Climate Watch team wants to know how target birds are responding to climate change in their breeding areas. Here is a list of helpful things to know about Audubon’s upcoming Climate Watch:
  • Current guidelines for running another COVID-safe Climate Watch survey this season can be found here.
  • This is the main program website.
  • If you are new to the program, start here.
  • For those coordinating, please use these resources.
Here are resources for participants. Webinar recordings can be found in the learning center Read more
Mike Fernandez/Audubon
Great Lakes Coastal Symposium
Save the Date: Great Lakes Coastal Symposium
The Great Lakes Coastal Assembly is pleased to announce that the 2022 Great Lakes Coastal Symposium will take place from September 19-21, 2022 at the Kewadin Convention Center in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. The Coastal Symposium will feature plenary, invited, and submitted presentations, networking opportunities, workshops, and field trips. Sponsorship opportunities are available and for general event information, please contact Delaney Meeting & Event Management at 802-865-5202 or 
Indiana Dunes Birding Festival
Join Us at the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival
Join us at the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival (IDBF) from May 11–15 in Northwest Indiana. The home base for the festival is the Indiana Dunes, an important migratory stopover habitat along the coast of Lake Michigan that also hosts numerous wetlands important for breeding marsh birds such as Least Bittern and Sora.

If you are attending, stop by the Bird Banding demo on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning with Stephanie Beilke, Senior Manager of Conservation, to to see a diversity of migratory songbirds.

Join us on Sat, May 14 at 2:30 at the Visitors Center for  Audubon Great Lakes panel discussion “Great Lakes Piping Plovers: Policy, Conservation and Action”  to learn more about conservation and policy efforts to protect the endangered Great Lakes piping plovers and what we can do to help with some great experts including Dr. Francesca Cuthbert, distinguished teaching professor at University of Minnesota and the coordinator of the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery project; Stephanie Beilke, Conservation Science Manager, Audubon Great Lakes and Chicago Bird Monitor; Adam Forrer, Policy Director, Climate, Audubon Great Lakes; and Diane Rosenberg, Public Outreach, Lake County Audubon.
Indiana Dunes Birding Festival
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