MI Birds

Call for Volunteers!

Spring is around the corner and our feathered friends need your help.

All of our MI Birds partners are dedicated to bird conservation in Michigan, but many need your help! Several partners are seeking community science volunteers for different projects across the state. Learn more about each program and sign-up to volunteer, below!

Safe Passage Great Lakes (March 15th through May 31st): Each year nearly 1 billion birds die from bird-building collisions in the U.S. alone. During migration, birds face many challenges traveling through large cities, from lit-up skyscrapers that confuse their navigation systems, to glass buildings that they can’t see. Community science volunteers are needed to monitor buildings 2 times each week between March 15th and May 31st in urban areas in Michigan that may pose a danger to migrating birds. The data collected is then used to start conversations with building owners and city officials about making the city a more bird-friendly community. If you are interested in becoming part of this Community Science project in:

Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, please contact Heidi Trudell and Alice Elliott at Washtenawsafepassage@gmail.com

Wayne State University, Detroit, please contact Ava Landgraf at alandgraf@detroitaudubon.org

Lansing, please contact Linnea Rowse at lrowse@michiganaudubon.org

Or submit any bird collision observations using the Global Bird Collision Mapper App: https://birdmapper.org/app/

Adopt-A-Nest Osprey Monitoring Program – Several Counties (March 23rd – July 17th): Volunteer community scientists, like you, can adopt-a-nest of one of these beautiful predatory birds for the summer! Participation in this program requires little effort: all ages and experience levels are welcome! A minimum commitment of three 15-minute nest visits between the end of March and early July is all it takes to determine 1) if there is a nesting attempt, 2) if birds are actively nesting, and 3) if there are any chicks in the nest. You can visit more often if you’d like! Binoculars are adequate for most observations, but a spotting scope is useful to determine the number of chicks. Most nests are located on cell towers and are easily viewable from public roads.

Volunteers are needed only in the following counties: Alpena, Benzie, Calhoun, Cass, Clare, Crawford, Emmet, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kalkaska, Lenawee, Manistee, Missaukee, Montmorency, Muskegon, Osceola, Oscoda, Presque Isle, St Clair, St Joseph, Wexford.

Sign-up to volunteer today!

Black Tern Nest Platform Building Workshops (April - May): Join MI Birds and Detroit Audubon as we construct nesting platforms to install at St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area. Black Terns are a Michigan species of special concern and have seen population declines since the 1960’s. These nesting platforms aim to help increase hatching success of Black Tern nests within St. Clair Flats. A program on Black Terns will be given prior to platform construction and light refreshments will be served.

Join Detroit Audubon and MI Birds at Lake St. Metropark on Saturday, April 25th, from 12pm – 2pm. Sign-up today!

Join Detroit Audubon at Algonac Public Library on Saturday, May 23rd, from 12pm - 1pm. Sign-up today! 

Secretive Marshbird Surveys – St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area (May 1st – June 15th): Audubon Great Lakes was recently awarded a MI DNR Wildlife Habitat Grant to improve the wetlands at St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area, which doubles as an Audubon Important Bird Area. This habitat work aims to benefit breeding and migratory waterfowl, but also secretive marshbirds.

We are seeking 4 - 6 marshbird survey volunteers to search for these secretive birds! Participation in this program requires a commitment of three morning surveys between May 1st – June 15th. Volunteer training, including bird identification by sight and sound, and supplies will be provided. Volunteers should have their own binoculars.

Volunteer Training will be held on Saturday, April 4th at 11am at St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area. This is the same day as the DNR Spring Birding Tour! Come and explore the wildlife area at 9am if you want to join the birding tour, and then stick around for the volunteer training session and lunch at 11am! Register to volunteer today!

Black Tern Monitoring at Wigwam Bay State Wildlife Area and St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area (May – July): Black Terns are a common colonial waterbird species in steep decline and are a Michigan species of special concern. MI DNR, Audubon Great Lakes, Detroit Audubon, Common Coast Research, U of M, and several other partners are working together to monitor Black Terns throughout the state.

Volunteers are needed to assist staff in the field on various dates, Monday – Friday, as they search for Black Tern nests and record data. In June, Black Tern capture and banding begins. No previous experience necessary! Must be comfortable working in a boat (kayak or canoe), be able to lift 40lbs, and able to commit to a full day in the field (8 hrs).

Wigwam Bay State Wildlife Area: Volunteers needed on Wednesday, May 20th or Thursday, May 21st and Monday, June 15th or Tuesday, June 16th (weather permitting). Please contact Erin Rowan, at erin.rowan@audubon.org if interested.

St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area: monitoring occurs most Fridays between May 20th and July 31st. Please contact Ava Landgraf, at alandgraf@detroitaudubon.org if interested.

Ives Rd. Fen Preserve Workday and Bird Walk with The Nature Conservancy: Saturday, May 16th 8:45am to 12pm We'll start the day at Ives Road Fen Preserve at 8:45am with a bird walk through the fen and floodplain along the River Raisin as we search for migratory songbirds and waterfowl. We’ll then cut shrubs in the fen and pull knapweed from the planted prairie! At noon we'll stop work to enjoy some snacks and beverages. Cutting and digging tools and work gloves will be provided, but bring your own if you have some that you like! Bring your own binoculars if you have them. A few extra pairs will be available, if needed.

Sign-up today! Space is limited.

MI Birds is a public outreach and engagement program created by Audubon Great Lakes and Michigan Department of Natural Resources which aims to increase all Michiganders' engagement in the understanding, care, and stewardship of public lands that are important for birds and local communities.

How you can help, right now