Birding Update Newswire! October 2022

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October 22nd, 2022

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2022 CraneFest Bus Tour

CraneFest Bus Tour 2022 - Thumbnail

Click the image above or the link below to watch the video.

On October 9, 2022, Ottawa County Parks led a tour bus trip to CraneFest at the Kiwanis Youth Conservation Area near Bellevue, Michigan. CraneFest is a celebration of Sandhill Cranes and their annual southward migration each fall. In their 27th year hosting the event, the Kiwanis Club of Battle Creek organized an Artist Village, live animals, non-profit information tables, food truck, children’s activities, and guided nature hikes. The highlight was to witness the spectacle of the evening crane flight as they gather by the thousands at Big Marsh Lake to roost. We'd love for you to join us next year!

VIDEO:  CraneFest Bus Tour - 2023

Crane Viewing

CraneFest Bus Tour Report

Ottawa County Park's first Bus Tour event happened on 10/9/22.  Participants rode a Cardinal Tour Bus from Hemlock Crossing to Bellevue, Michigan to participate in CraneFest.  Activities varied from a live raptor show and live reptiles to food, merchandise, art and information vendors.  Participants were also led on bird walks with Naturalist and birder Curtis Dykstra.  See what birds they found by clicking the eBird Trip Report linked below.

eBird Trip Report

The day was capped off with watching the evening Sandhill Crane flight as they come to roost in Big Marsh Lake.  Watch the video above for to get a better feel for what the festival is like.  Mark your calendars for for CraneFest next year:  October 14-14, 2023!

Birding Programs & Events

Owashtanong Islands Audubon Society and the Muskegon Nature Club host...

Hawaiian Birds with Lonny Garris

Lonny Garris

Tuesday, November 15, 2022, at 6:30 p.m

Covenant Life Church, 101 Columbus Avenue, Grand Haven, MI

Lonny is an avid birder and OAIS board member. Lonny traveled to Maui, Hawaii September 2020 to celebrate his wife's birthday and bird as much as she would let him. Join him as he talks about his experience traveling to Hawaii during the pandemic while sharing his birding experiences in the paradise of Hawaii.

Social Time from 6-6:30, Program 6:30-7:30pm

*OIAS Meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month

Visit to learn more!

Holland Audubon CLub

The Holland Audubon Club hosts...

Michigan Big Year! with Terry Grabill

Terry Grabill

*Tuesday, November 15, 2022, at 7:00 p.m

HOPE CHURCH, 77 West 11th Street, Holland, MI

Terry Grabill is a West Michigan birder who made a Michigan Big Year run in 2021.  On his way to recording 323 species for the year, he logged an obscene number of miles, had some great adventures, and met some amazing people along the way.  Terry's talk will describe Tales from the Road of his Mitten Big Year.

Meeting at 7pm, program to follow shortly after till 8:30pm

Visit to learn more!

*typically HAC meets on the 1st Tuesday of the month but due to election day on 11/8, the meeting this month is on the 2nd Tuesday

Holland Audubon Club - JR Audubon

Holland Junior Audubon!

We are looking for the next generation of Holland Audubon members. Do you know any 7-15 yr olds that would enjoy being a part of the Holland Junior Audubon?

Meeting:  October 29, 2022; 10am-12pm

Degraaf Nature Center, 600 Graafschap Rd, Holland, MI

Contact for more information

Upcoming Ottawa County Parks Birding Programs & Outings

Programs can be found ONLINE!


Fall Bird Walks:

  • 11/2/22 - Riley Trails - 10am - 12pm
  • 11/16/22 - Crockery Creek - 10am - 12pm

10/29/22 - Waterfowl Field Trips - Witness the spectacle of waterfowl migration!

*Registration & Fee Required

Part 1 - Lakeshore Waterfowl will start at Holland State Park and explore areas near Holland and the lower Macatawa River. 8-11am

Part 2 – Wastewater Waterfowl will visit one of Michigan’s premier waterfowl birding locations at the Muskegon Wastewater facility. 1-4pm

12/8/22 - 2023 Mug Reveal Event - In-person at the Nature Center & Livestreamed!

12/10/22 - Coffee with the Birds - In-person at the Nature Center & Livestreamed!

More information on the two December programs to come in the near future!

Mug Club Photo Contest

2022 Photo Contest ENTRIES DUE OCTOBER 31st!

Red-headed Woodpecker - Doug Kuiper

Have you taken a bird photo in Ottawa County in 2022* that would look great on our 2023 Mug Club limited edition mug?    We want to see it!

How to Enter 

Click the link below, fill out your contact info and upload your photos! 

Entries are due on October 31st, 2022.

The winning photo and 2023 mug will be revealed in late November or no later than the first Coffee with the Birds event on December 10. 

*Photo taken from 11/1/21 through 10/31/22 will be accepted.

2022 Mug Club Member Mug

2022 Mug Club Memberships will be available for sale for $25 on or after the Mug Reveal Event on December 8th. Mug Club members receive a limited edition mug and fun birding perks throughout the year.

Pictured: 2021 Photo Contest Winner: Red-headed Woodpecker by Doug Kuiper 

If you have questions, please let us know! 

2023 Mug Reveal Event

Put this event on your calendar today!  It's sure to be a fun time of celebration, fellowship, birding stories, prizes and more.   More details to come!

News & Research

House Bill 6382 aims to change Michigan's state bird from the Robin to the Kirtland's Warbler

KIWA - Kim Boss

Will Michigan replace the Robin with a species more unique to this state?  House Bill 6382 seeks to do this!  Find out more below.

Article/Video:  FoxUP TV 6

Rep. Markkanen submits bill to change Michigan state bird

Article:  WOOD TV 8

Rockin’ Robin: House bill aims to give Michigan a new state bird

Photo by Kim Bos, 2021 Photo Contest Entry

10 Fun Facts About the Yellow-rumped Warbler

YRWA - Lucas Timmer

Article:  National Audubon

If you’re looking for a gateway warbler, it doesn’t get much better than the Yellow-rumped.  Whether you’re already familiar with this species or just dipping your toes into the world of warblers, there’s plenty to know—and love—about this tough little bird.

10 Fun Facts About the Yellow-rumped Warbler

Video:  Ovenbirder98

Yellow-rumpled Warbler - Michigan’s Earliest Spring Warbler

Photo by Lucas Timmer, 2021 Photo Contest Entry

Witness to Extinction: Sheila Conant Has Seen Seven Now-Extinct Birds in the Wild

Illustrations by John Gerrard Keuleman

Article:  American Bird Conservancy

Biologist Sheila Conant was asked to write about what it feels like to have seen now-extinct bird species in the wild.  Hear her speak about her experiences in Hawai‘i with the endangered turning to the extinct.

Witness to Extinction: Sheila Conant Has Seen Seven Now-Extinct Birds in the Wild

Illustrations by John Gerrard Keuleman

Why it's perfectly normal to see baby puffins thrown off cliffs in Iceland each year

Puffling Season - Kyana Sue Powers

Article:  NPR

Watching thousands of baby puffins being tossed off a cliff is perfectly normal for the people of Iceland's Westman Islands.  This yearly tradition is what's known as "puffling season" and the practice is a crucial, life-saving endeavor.

Why it's perfectly normal to see baby puffins thrown off cliffs in Iceland each year

Photo by Kyana Sue Powers

*If you have an interesting bird-related article or video to share, let us know! 

Email it to us at and put "Bird News" in the subject line.

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Submit your sightings, photos and videos and I'll share them in these Newswire emails.  See below for information on how to submit your sightings! 

Ottawa County Parks Bird Outings

Raptor Watch Mount Pisgah

Fall Bird Walks:

- 9/18/22 - Raptor Watch @ Mount Pisgah

- 9/21/22 - Paw Paw East

- 10/5/22 - Stearns Creek

- 10/1/22 - Lake Watch Birding - Holland State Park & Mount Pisgah

- 10/19/22 - Grand River Park

Common Tern - Jeanne Stoddard

Common Tern & Yellow Warbler

Photographed on 9/3 as a part of the Shorebird Field Trip.

Jeanne Stoddard

Holland State Park

YEWA - Jeanne Stoddard

Yellow Warbler photo by Jeanne Stoddard

Whooping Crane - Scott Schmidt

Whooping Cranes

"Pond birds" we saw in Wisconsin.  Also saw 2 more at Horicon Marsh Wildlife Area

Scott & Susan Schmidt

Baraboo, Wisconsin

*Scott and Susan Schmidt visited the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin where they saw these Whooping Cranes as well as representatives of every crane species found around the world!  If you are interested in visiting, click the link above.  Additionally, if you missed the CraneFest Bus Tour on 10/9, you may be interested in the

Great Midwest Crane Fest

Nov. 10 - 12 in Baraboo, WI

You can find out more and Register here!


Sandhill Crane Lays on Ground - Question Answered by Crane expert Anne Lacy!

Scott & Susan Schmidt witnessed some odd Sandhill Crane behavior in spring of 2021.  They asked crane expert Anne Lacy for an explanation.  See the question and reply below, as well as photos!


There were a group of 4 sandhill cranes in our yard along the grand river in Spring Lake, Michigan in April 2021. He walked normal and looked ok and then he laid down for around 5 minutes. Did again later as well.

We have not been able to get explanation from anyone to date and would appreciate any thoughts you might have to what we saw.

Scott Schmidt

Hi Scott;

The best – maybe only- explanation for the laying-down behavior is territory defense. Weird but there it is. The entire sequence you captured (maybe even the copulation) featured nearly constant territorial behaviors between the two pairs. It was hard to tell who it was that actually laid down (resident or interloper), but that would be part of the ritualized behaviors. Other crane species that we have here at the Foundation sometimes exhibit the laying down as well.

So there you go! I imagine your cranes may have joined up with other cranes someplace close in anticipation of migrating, so look for that type of thing again next spring!

Anne Lacy

Senior Manager – North America Programs  


Sandhill Cranes on the ground - Scott Schmidt

Photos by Scott & Susan Schmidt


Click on the "Google Forms" link below to fill out where, when and what birds you saw.  As an additional option at the end of the form, you'll have opportunity to upload any bird photos or videos you'd like to share! Please limit photos/videos to 3 per monthly newsletter and they must be <10MB each.  Thank you!

*NOTE:  You must be signed into a Google account to upload files.  If you don't have a Google account, email your submissions to with "Bird Share" in the subject line.

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*Any information or photos shared will be used in future Birding Update Newswire! emails.


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