Audubon Great Lakes
Monthly Newsletter May, 2022
Lesser Yellowlegs, Carmel, Indiana. Photo: John Troth/Audubon Photography Awards.
Restoring Wetlands for Birds and People!
As we head into the holiday weekend and wrap up American Wetlands Month, its important to raise awareness of the importance of wetlands to wildlife and communities. Research has shown that protecting high-quality habitat, like wetlands, can protect birds as changing temperatures and unpredictable weather patterns disrupt bird migrations.  These water-saturated areas of lands have the incredible ability to naturally absorb the carbon pollution that contributes to global temperature rise.

Wetlands aren’t just important to the wildlife that depend on them, they’re are also important to people. They play a major role in maintaining  water quality, serving as natural water purifiers to keep the water in inland lakes and streams clean, and can store a massive amount of water during heavy rains. A one-acre wetland only a foot deep can store up to 1.5 million gallons of floodwater! If you want to learn more about wetlands, check out our beginner’s guide here. 

Audubon Great Lakes has an ambitious vision to restore or protect the highest priority 300,000 acres of coastal wetland habitat for birds and people over the next decade. Learn more about our restoration work in some of the high priority regions around the Great Lakes including the Calumet Region along Lake Michigan in Indiana and Illinois and the St. Louis River Estuary along Lake Superior in Wisconsin and Minnesota. And our latest restoration project along Lake Ontario.   

Earlier this month, we also released new polling data in Indiana that shows Hoosiers, overwhelmingly, do not want wetlands protections weakened in the state.  You can read more about the polling data here. 

The good news is that we are already seeing signs of success where wetland have been restored! The 40-year trend of marsh bird population declines are stabilizing, and several species populations are increasing in breeding abundance in newly restored wetlands. 

Our restoration work shows that it’s not too late to restore important habitats for the benefit of wildlife, and communities everywhere.
Read more
Lesser Yellowlegs, Carmel, Indiana. Photo: John Troth/Audubon Photography Awards.
Great Lakes Piping Plover. Photo: Michael Greer
Indiana Dunes Birding Festival Brings Great Lakes Birders Together
Birding festivals are a great place for birders to come together to share the joy of birding and learn about ongoing conservation efforts to protect birds like the Great Lakes Piping Plover. Check out some of the highlights from the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival from earlier this month and learn more about how you can help protect birds!
Share the Shore with Piping Plovers this Holiday Weekend
Share the Shore with Piping Plovers this Holiday Weekend
According to our partners at the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery, we now have over 40 confirmed Great Lakes Piping Plover nests throughout the region in Michigan, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ontario! 

As we head into the holiday weekend, Audubon Great Lakes and partners are encouraging the public to take the pledge to Share the Shore with Great Lakes Piping Plovers and other beach nesting birds, which includes:

- Keep a safe distance from marked or fenced areas where birds are nesting
- Keep the beach clean by using proper receptacles or carrying out trash
- Keep dogs leashed and off nesting beaches
- Give birds 100 feet of space

Take The Pledge

#ShareTheShore
Sleeping Bear Dunes. Photo credit: Traverse City Tourism
Sedge Wren Photo: Kathryn Cubert/Audubon Photography Awards
Michigan’s Climate Plan Improved Thanks to Audubon Members
Last month, Governor Whitmer and Michigan’s Council on Climate Solutions announced the release of the final MI Healthy Climate Plan, which sets the state on a strong path towards reducing emissions to benefiting Michigan’s economy and protect birds.

More than 900 Audubon members took action during a public comment period to express appreciation to Gov. Whitmer and her administration for taking climate action, and to urge the plan to be further strengthened to better protect Michigan’s birds and people. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy took notice, and the final plan contains important improvements to help ensure Michigan reaches net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Sedge Wren Photo: Kathryn Cubert/Audubon Photography Awards
Photo: Blackpoll Warbler. Photo credit: Stephanie Belike
Behind the Scene: Bird Banding
There is so much we don’t know about wild birds, their behaviors, their migration patterns, and their relationships with each other and their environment. And no matter how in-depth we may study these feathered creatures from a distance, it seems like we are continually surprised. Since birds are relatively easy to observe, they are well-known by science in comparison to the rest of the world’s wildlife, yet many mysteries remain.

Bird banding is one technique our researchers use that provides crucial information on productivity, survival, and population sizes for better understanding and conserving North American birds. Learn more and get an up close look at a recent bird banding in The Times of Northwest Indiana story here! 
Blackpoll Warbler. Photo credit: Stephanie Belike
Chapter Gathering
Join Us! 2022 Chapter Gathering and Awards
We’re looking forward to connecting with you at the 2022 AGL Chapter *Virtual* Gathering on June 10th at 12:00pm CT/1:00pm ET. This year’s bird theme for the chapter gathering is the beloved Great Lakes Piping Plover. 

This event is open to your fellow board members, active chapter membership, and engaged volunteers and partners in your local conservation efforts.  Our keynote speaker is Marshall Johnson, Chief Conservation Officer for National Audubon Society. During the event, you’ll have a chance to learn more about volunteer, advocacy and stewardship, celebrate accomplishments across the region and celebrate during the awards ceremony!

Hope you can join us and thank you for your involvement in the Great Lakes region and the local impact you make through your chapter, volunteerism, and your joy for birds!
 
Black Birders Week 2022
Black Birders Week 2022
#BlackBirdersWeek returns for its third year from May 29-June 4, celebrating the lifelong journeys and connections made through birding across the diaspora. The event will feature daily themes to encourage connections online and off. The BlackAFinSTEM Collective aims to inspire new audiences to engage in nature and share the stories of Black conservationists from across the country. This year, #BlackBirdersWeek will feature panel discussions, bird walks, and giveaways, among other events both virtual and in-person.
 
Scarlet Tanager. Photo: Daniel Behm/Audubon Photography Awards.
New Senate Legislation Will Help Protect Migrating Great Lakes Birds
U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) recently introduced legislation to enhance the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA), a conservation program that has benefitted 4.5 million acres of habitat across the hemisphere for the more than 350 neotropical bird species that breed in the United States and Canada and spend the winter in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Great news for our neotropical migrants, which includes species like the Kirtland’s Warbler, Scarlet Tanager and Wood Thrush, which breed in the Great Lakes region and face an increasingly complex range of threats, including development pressures, invasive species, and climate change.
Scarlet Tanager. Photo: Daniel Behm/Audubon Photography Awards.
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