Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fall 2013 Newsletter is Here!

Here is the fall 2013 Grosse Pointe Audubon newsletter.

Fall 2013 Newsletter by BRapai2213

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Grosse Pointe Audubon's Fall Schedule

Grosse Pointe Audubon will soon be back from our summer layoff. Here is our Fall 2013 schedule:

Sept. 16 -- Annie Crary: Exploring Saipan's Avifauna and Natural History
Oct. 21 -- Michelle Serrin: A Walk on the Wild Side: Native Plants I Have Known and Loved
Nov. 18 -- Bryn Martin: The Birds of Hawai’i

Grosse Pointe Audubon meets in the Annex behind Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church, 17150 Maumee in Grosse Pointe, Mich. Social hour starts at 7 p.m., and the meetings start promptly at 7:30. All meetings are free and open to the public, and you do not have to be a member to attend.

Come back soon for the fall newsletter.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Swift Night Out

As fall migration grows near, the Driftwood Wildlife Association is again asking for volunteers to monitor chimney swift communal roosts.

Here is how it works: Between now and Aug. 9-11, keep your eyes to the skies at dusk and watch for areas where swifts are feeding. Look for a tall shaft, chimney or similar structure to locate where Chimney Swifts go to roost at sunset.

On one night over the weekend of August 9-11, observe the roosting site starting about 30 minutes before sunset and estimate the number of swifts that enter. When you have your number, email the Driftwood Wildlife Association at with your results. Your observations will be posted on

Grosse Pointe Audubon President Bill Rapai annually monitors two roosting sites--Maire Elementary School and the Grosse Pointe school administration building. All other sites in the Pointes are available, including a large chimney swift roost at the Punch and Judy Building on Kercheval in Grosse Pointe Farms. A few minutes of your time will be helpful in monitoring this species of special concern!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Results of the 2013 Grosse Pointe Birding Challenge

For the fifth straight year, the Grosse Pointe Woods team has won the annual Grosse Pointe Birding Challenge.

The competition, which was held May 20, pits teams from the Grosse Pointes in a seven-hour race to find as many bird species as possible between 5 a.m. and noon in their respective communities. At noon, all teams gather to tabulate results, declare a winner and swap stories of the day. Each team reports their sightings on the honor system. The Challenge has become a fun spring tradition for members of Grosse Pointe Audubon. The event is held in the spring because of the tremendous variety of birds that migrate through our community this time of year.

The Woods team won the Challenge by seeing 77 species of birds. The Grosse Pointe Farms team finished second with 55 species. The Grosse Pointe team finished third with 49 species, and the Grosse Pointe Park team finished fourth with 48 species. Each team received one point for each species they saw, and five points for the year’s “Bonus Bird,” which was the Warbling Vireo.

Both the number of individuals and number of species were up considerably from the previous year. In 2012, the Woods team saw only 67 species. In 2013, the teams combined to see 91 species, including 19 species of warblers. Participants in the birding challenge were in agreement that the warblers are behind schedule in migration because of the cold spring.

The Woods team of Rosann Kovalcik and Annie Crary started the day finding Common Nighthawk calling from their nesting site on the roof of nearby Ferry Elementary. They also picked up another nocturnal bird—an Eastern Screech-Owl roosting in the thick ivy growing on the side of a private residence. The team also birded the grounds of the Lochmoor Club, Lake Front Park and Ghesquiere Park.

Mark O’Keefe, the lone member of the Grosse Pointe Farms team, birded the Country Club of Detroit, the Piney Woods and Pier Park and found 55 species, including a Black-billed Cuckoo. Golden-winged Warbler was the best bird of the day for the Grosse Pointe Park team of Mike and Judy Florian and Trina Bresser Matous. They spent the majority of their morning birding Patterson Park.

Bill Rapai, the lone member of the Grosse Pointe City team, found a Green Heron and Eastern Screech-Owl near Neff Park and a Common Nighthawk calling from the sky over The Village.

More information about the challenge and Grosse Pointe Audubon can be found at the organization’s website,

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring 2013 Newsletter

Here's the spring 2013 Grosse Pointe Audubon newsletter ... finally!

Spring 2013 Newsletter

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

References for natural plant phenotypes

Our March 18 meeting with John DeLisle of Southeast Michigan Chapter of Wild Ones was a great success. However, many people wanted the list of references that DeLisle posted at the end of his presentation.

Here are the references DeLisle cited:

Nursery catalogs: Prairie Nursery,
Native Connections,

Packard Stephen, and Cornelia Mutel, eds. 1997. The Tallgrass Restoration Handbook for Prairies, Savannas, and Woodlands. This book is the bible of restorationists, but it's accessible to beginners.
Prairies and Savannas of Michigan, Cohen,

Darke, Rick. 2002. The American Woodland Garden: Capturing the Spirit of the Deciduous Forest

Cwikiel, Wilfred. 1996. Living with Michigan's Wetlands: A Landowner's Guide.

Bringing Nature Home by Doug Tallamy and Birdscaping for the Midwest, by Mariette Nowak.

Resources on the web

How to:

Michigan Native Plant Producers:
Michigan Butterfly Association:
Detroit Audubon:
Rain gardens -- SOCWA:'09.pdf
Native Plants at Home:
Michigan Natural Features Inventory:
Native Plant Profiles, University of Michigan Herbarium: or
Native Plants for Pollinators, Ecosystem System Services and Sustainable Sites: native

Let's spread the word about the benefits of planting natives!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Young Birders Club is up and running!

As 2013 begins Michigan Audubon announces the launch of a Michigan Young Birders Club (MYBC). With the assistance of Sarah Toner and advice from the staff at Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO), MYBC joins 12 other state and five regional Young Birder Clubs in the country.

MYBC membership is for youth ages 12 – 18. It is a club run by young birders, for young birders, and focuses on educating young birders about birds and conservation. An Advisory Board, who will decide on the schedule of programs and the division of tasks amongst the members is currently being created. Meeting dates will be announced soon.

Members will create their own online newsletter and administer the club’s social networking sites. Planning a conference with presentations given by members and other young birders will also be on their agenda in the near future. The Club will be overseen by Program Coordinator Wendy Tatar.

MYBC membership is $15 and $10 for additional members of the same family.

For more information or to join, go to

Friday, January 11, 2013

Grosse Pointe Audubon Winter Newsletter

Here is our winter newsletter. Hope to see you at our next meeting on Jan. 28!

Grosse Pointe Audubon Winter 2013 Newsletter by BRapai2213

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New resource for young birders.

This email came over the transom today. All I can say is we old folks wish we could have had something this cool when we were young!

New Young Birders Network Aims to Fledge Teen Birders
Online info hub connects young birders with peers and resources across country

For release: January 8, 2013

Ithaca, NY—Teen birders now have a place to go online to connect with peers and drill down into a wealth of birding resources, as well as explore college and career opportunities. The Young Birders Network (, launched by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Ohio’s Black Swamp Bird Observatory, serves as a hub for the many young birding clubs sprouting up across the country, while providing an online community for teens to share information and learn more about birding. "Teen birders are often unsure of how to turn their hobby into a meaningful career," said Cornell University biology junior Hope Batcheller, who is also a Young Birders Network coordinator. "This site answers many of their frequently asked questions." The Young Birders Network aggregates everything a teen needs to plug into their local birding scene, meet their birding peers, and delve deeper into the world of birding: A directory of young birding clubs, blogs and Facebook groups, events, and conferences across the country; Articles and links to resources about the many ways a passion for birding can turn into a college major and career, from ornithology and conservation biology to art and computer science; and, A custom eBird portal for easy online management of birding checklists and access to all the birding tools eBird offers. Articles on the Young Birders Network home page are written by a mix of middle school and high school students, Cornell University students, and eBird and Black Swamp Observatory professionals, creating a forum for teens to interact with college and adult birders. And for teens who don’t find a birding club near them, the Young Birders Network offers a toolkit for starting their own club. "Since Black Swamp Bird Observatory launched the Ohio Young Birders Club in 2006, much of our efforts have focused on providing information and assistance to other groups interested in starting a similar program for youth," said Kimberly Kaufman, executive director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory. "The opportunity to work with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on the Young Birders Network (YBN) is a dream come true. Our combined knowledge, enthusiasm, and additional resources will allow us to encourage, educate, and empower more young people than we could have ever reached on our own. These are exciting times for anyone with an interest in getting more young people outside and connected with birds!" "I certainly wish I had a central resource hub like this during high school. Until now there was really nowhere to find all this information about young birder happenings in one place," said Batcheller. "I’m excited to share this site with new birders and introduce them to the awesome world of birding and ornithology."

p.s.: Michigan Audubon will soon be announcing that they are joining the Young Birders Network, as it is in the process of forming a group. Expect an official announcement soon.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Jan. 28 meeting

We are still one speaker short of being able to announce our entire winter meeting schedule, but we can say our speaker for our Jan. 28 meeting will be Mary Bohling, an extension educator from Michigan Sea Grant. Bohling will present "Great Lakes Habitat Restoration: Stories from Sea Grant projects in the St. Clair–Detroit System." The Huron-Erie Corridor includes one of the busiest navigation centers in the United States and is an international trade route with Canada and overseas markets. Over $80 billion a year in trade between the U.S. and Canada is carried out across the Huron-Erie Corridor. More than five million people live within an hour’s drive of this corridor. It is also a major source of drinking water for Michigan, Ohio and Ontario.

Habitat in these waters is used by over 65 species of fish, and is home to 16 threatened or endangered fish species. The corridor is also part of the central Great Lakes flyway for millions of migratory waterfowl, and it contains some of the largest and most diverse wetlands remaining in the region.

Conflicting uses of HEC waters for waste disposal, water withdrawals, shoreline development, shipping, recreation, and fishing have resulted in a number of environmental changes to this system. Michigan Sea Grant and its partners have been working to restore wildlife habitat in the corridor. In this presentationBohling, will highlight some of the projects that are leading to wildlife recovery and environmental sustainability of our region.

Don't forget that our January and February meetings are held on the fourth Monday of those two months to avoid conflict with federal holidays. See you on Jan. 28!