Thursday, September 20, 2007

Detroit River, Lake Erie Metropark Recognized as IBAs

Left to right: Richard Quick (President, Detroit Audubon), Caleb Putnam (Michigan IBA Program coordinator), U.S. Congressman John Dingell, Dr. John Hartig (Manager, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge), Gerry Wykes (Naturalist, Lake Erie Metropark) holding a Sharp-shinned Hawk. Copyright, Lake Erie Metropark 2007.

On Saturday 15 Sept, we held a recognition ceremony for the lower Detroit River and Lake Erie Metropark IBAs, at HawkFest in Brownstown. U.S. Congressman John Dingell attended, as well as representatives of Detroit Audubon, Lake Erie Metropark, and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. The value of these sites to bird conservation was discussed by Caleb Putnam, and each speaker gave his perspective on the IBA designation and what it means to each organization. In addition, over 12,000 Broad-winged Hawks winged their way south overhead throughout the day, mesmerizing attendees.

Friday, September 7, 2007

*Time change* for 15 Sept recognition ceremony

The recognition ceremony on 15 Sept 2007 to recognize the lower Detroit River and Lake Erie Metropark as IBAs has been *CHANGED* to 4 PM, rather than 1PM as initially scheduled. Here is the official announcement:

Public Invited to Sept 15 Ceremony Recognizing the Lower Detroit River and Lake Erie Metropark as Important Bird Areas (IBAs)

BROWNSTOWN MI, The Michigan Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program, Detroit Audubon Society, and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge will hold a formal ceremony to recognize the lower Detroit River and Lake Erie Metropark as IBAs that provide essential habitat for breeding, wintering, and/or migrating birds. The IBA Program is a global effort to conserve habitats for birds and other biodiversity. The ceremony will take place Saturday September 15 at 4:00 PM as part of the Hawkfest at Lake Erie Metropark.

The lower Detroit River, one of the region’s key waterbird stopover sites, is home to large numbers of migrating and wintering Canvasback ducks (representing up to 10% of the estimated global population some years) and Tundra Swans (up to 1,900 individuals), and has supported approximately 275 Common Tern nests in recent years. Lake Erie Metropark is a key bottleneck point for migrating raptors (such as hawks, eagles, falcons, and vultures), annually averaging over 150,000 Broad-winged Hawks and from 7,000 to 9,000 Sharp-shinned Hawks, as they pass southward around Lake Erie. Both sites are considered crucial to the long-term survival of these and other bird species.

The ceremony will be held at Hawkfest that is held during the peak of the autumn raptor migration, and visitors can expect to see many migrating hawks and to observe and photograph up close many live raptors. Speaking at the ceremony will be U.S. Congressman John Dingell, Michigan State Representative Kathleen Law, Lake Erie Metropark staff, and John Hartig, Refuge Manager of the International Wildlife Refuge. There will also be a formal ribbon-cutting, and a sign unveiling. No RSVP is required for these activities.

“This IBA recognition is an excellent example of the partnerships we are establishing to build, monitor, and manage North America’s only international wildlife Refuge,” notes Congressman John Dingell. “This IBA Program will help us set science-based priorities for habitat conservation and provides unique opportunities for participation by volunteers and citizen scientists.”

“This IBA recognition for the lower Detroit River and Lake Erie Metropark provides further evidence of the uniqueness of our Downriver wildlife and habitats,” notes Michigan State Representative Kathleen Law. “We are so fortunate to have these natural resources right in our backyard that provide the foundation for our growing ecotourism economy.”

The IBA Program is a global initiative of BirdLife International. It is administered in the United States by Audubon and in Michigan by a consortium of conservation organizations: Audubon, Michigan Audubon, Detroit Audubon, and the Kalamazoo Nature Center. The program seeks to identify and conserve the world’s most crucial sites for bird conservation.

For more information about the IBA Program:
Caleb G. Putnam
Michigan Important Bird Areas Coordinator

For more information about HawkFest:
Paul Cypher
Southeast Michigan Raptor Research

For more information about the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge:

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Congressman Dingell to speak at 15 Sept IBA Ceremony!

Exciting news- we have received word that Congressman John Dingell of the U.S. House will be speaking at our 15 Sept Recognition Ceremony for the Detroit River and Lake Erie Metropark IBAs! Michigan State Representative Kathleen Law will also be speaking. Many thanks to both for their participation and commitments to wildlife conservation!