We were contacted by researchers at Vanderbilt University asking for help identifying birders of all levels who will participate in online surveys supporting research on the minds and brains of birders. Follow the links in this article for more information and to participate in the research.

Guatemala (5th International Trip)
Friday 25 March 2016--Saturday 02 April 2016

There are over 30 species of birds found only in the central highlands of northern Central America (primarily Guatemala, but also a little in Mexico and Honduras) such as the beautiful Pink-headed Warbler, unusually unique Horned Guan and the striking Azure-rumped Tanager.

2015 marked my second year as Compiler for the North American Migratory Count (NAMC) known in Washtenaw County as the May Count. I assumed this task from Roger Wykes, who managed it with style for over a dozen years. He assisted me again this year (Thank you, Roger!!) by helping me compile statistics before submitting my report to the state compiler, and by giving me a grand tour of Lodi Township, which I inherited this spring as an Area Leader. This survey is traditionally conducted across North America on the second Saturday in May, this year May 9th.

The annual Stinchfield Woods Breeding Bird Census took place on a perfectly pleasantly cool, calm, and mostly cloudy Sunday, June 20, 2015, from 7 to 11:30 am. Special thanks go to our big crew of 17 volunteer counters: Barbara, Brandon, Dan, David A, David L, Elle, Fred, George, John, Juliet, Karen, Linda, Maggie, Marcella, Roger, Toni, and Vedran. Special thanks to School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) staff who gave us access to the Woods.

The Board of Directors of the Washtenaw Audubon Society is proposing a handful of minor amendments to the Constitution & Bylaws of the organization. We intend to ask members to vote on the proposed amendments at the program meeting on June 17, 2015. A favorable vote of at least 2/3 of the members present at the meeting is required for the amendments to be adopted.

Mark your calendars (or set your DVRs) for May 20th at 8pm for the premiere of The Sagebrush Sea. Produced by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, The Sagebrush Sea explores many hidden aspects of the great sagebrush plains of the West, including fabulous footage of the Greater Sage Grouse. The film's premiere is this week on Nature | PBS. You can watch a full trailer for it here

Our group of about twenty birders enjoyed a warm spring morning birding Nichols Arboretum. We had a good look at a lone Fox Sparrow (thanks to a tip from Brandon who joined us in mid-trip), several Yellow-bellied sapsuckers on the west north-south trail, and a Brown creeper here and there. Joe caught sight of a Winter wren zipping atop and through downed trees. Both Kinglets were singing and numerous as the morning warmed up. Juliet spotted the Peregrine falcon and got a few others on it. We heard a singing Hermit thrush at the Warbler Hotspot, later saw two at the "second inlet" on the south side of Dow Prairie.

Four official teams with a total of 19 birders participated in today's One-Road Challenge, searching for birds on one Washtenaw County road of their choosing this morning until 11 AM. As a bonus for getting up and out, birders had excellent views of the partial eclipse.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas Bird Count season we experienced what appears to be the 'new normal'. After some average late fall weather in October and early November our area was hit with an impressive cold snap in the middle of that month – at this time of year lows in the single digits are not quite something we are accustomed to (yet), not even in our hardy neck of the woods. Then milder fall-like weather returned and all ice on ponds and lakes thawed out to reveal an abundance of open water.

On Saturday, December 6, Washtenaw Audubon escorted more than 20 enthusiastic birders to the largest landfill facility in the county, and one of the largest in southeast Michigan. Now owned by Advanced Disposal and occupying most of a square mile tucked into the extreme northeast corner of the county, this landfill is a magnet for gulls patrolling the region for some calories.