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Home Features 'Kids tent', bird tours, vendors, classes, highlight Kirtland' Warbler Festival

‘Kids tent’, bird tours, vendors, classes, highlight Kirtland’ Warbler Festival

ROSCOMMONGÇê- The familiar sound of the Kirtland’ Warbler, ‘chip-chip-chip-too-too-weet-weet,’ can be heard echoing across Northeast Michigan over the month of June as the once-elusive bird searches for a mate.

This year’ ‘Warbler Weekend,’ which includes the Kirtland’ Warbler Festival June 2 and the Kirtland’ Warbler Alliance ‘Home Opener’ June 1, takes on even greater meaning this year: It marks the first time in history that the species’ recovery has been deemed successful enough to propose removing it from the Endangered Species List.

“The Kirtland’ Warbler is a great conservation recovery success story, highlighting the power of organizations, people and industry to join together to recover an endangered species,” said a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson. “With the ongoing commitment from federal, state and private conservation partners to keep working together, the Kirtland’s Warbler will always be a part of the Michigan landscape and beyond.”

Warbler Alliance Home Opener

The Kirtland’ Warbler Home Opener event hosted by the Kirtland’ Warbler Alliance at Kirtland Community College’ Four Mile Road Campus from 6:30-9 p.m. The campus is located at 4800 W. 4 Mile Road in Grayling.

The event will feature Keith Creagh, the director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Tracy Grazia, wildlife program manager for the Eastern Region of the U.S. Forest Service and Charlie Wooley, assistant regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Tickets are $25 and can be reserved by phone at (989) 448-2293 ext. 21, or by emailing info@huronpines.org.

The Kirtland’ Warbler population has come a long way since being the first bird to be placed on the Endangered Species List in 1973. The proposed delisting is recognition of over 50 years of commitment to Kirtland’ Warbler conservation among government agencies, non-governmental organizations and individuals. It also signifies a changing focus in Kirtland’ Warbler conservation from recovery to long-term sustainability.

‘The members of the Kirtland’ Warbler Alliance always look forward to our annual Home Opener event,’ said Jerry Rucker, the organization’ chairman. ‘This year’ event is even more special because of the proposed delisting. It gives us a chance to look back at the achievements of the past half-century, but it also gives us a chance to talk about future goals and how we will achieve them.

‘Over the past two years, we’ve been working with our agency partners to build a strong future for the Kirtland’ Warbler on plans that will continue conservation efforts in smarter, more efficient ways. It’ great to have a chance to explain those goals and strategies to the community,’ Rucker said.

The 2018 Kirtland Warbler’ Festival is scheduled June 2 at the gazebo in Downtown Roscommon.

Schedule of events for the day includes:

  • 6:30 a.m. – Registration table opens
  • 7-10 a.m. – AuSable Creamery provides coffee and muffins for field trip participants and vendors
  • 7:30-9:30 a.m. – First Warbler field trip
  • 10 a.m. – Festival opens. One highlight of the festival is the ‘Kid’ Tent.’ There, youngsters will be able to build a bird house, take a nature quiz, become part of the Loon Association, ‘Nature Discovery,’ face painting and much more.
  • 10 a.m. – Students art show in gym
  • 10 a.m. to noon – Second Warbler field trip
  • 11 a.m. – Kickoff of AuSable Birding Trail
  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Lunch counter by AuSable Creamery. Sack lunches for $7.50 (sandwich, chips, cookie and water).
  • 11:15 a.m. – Creepy Clyde (Master of Ceremonies)
  • 12:30-1:15 p.m. – Warbler’ World: Kirtland’ Warbler 101 (breeding range maintenance and Cowbird research). Speakers are Chris Mensing and Jason Hartman.
  • 1:25-2:10 p.m. – Warbler’ World: Wintering range, migration research and delisting. Speakers are Chris Mensing and Dave Ewert.
  • 2:20-3:20 p.m. – Jim McGrath: Nature Discovery (Turtles, frogs and snakes of Michigan)
  • 3 p.m. – ‘No purchase necessary’ drawing for Wingspan Optics Binoculars. Sign up at registration desk.
  • 3:30-4:30 p.m. – Joe Rogers: Raptors

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