Bay Hosts Public Lecture: “Planting a future for birds: The Escanaba Migratory Bird Enhancement Initiative (EMBEI)”


Photo Caption: Joe Kaplan director of Common Coast Research & Conservation

Bay College’s Math Science Division presents a special colloquia by Joe Kaplan titled " Planting a future for birds: The Escanaba Migratory Bird Enhancement Initiative (EMBEI).”  The free presentation will be at 4PM on Thursday, December 1st in room 125 of the Math Science Building.   The presentation can be seen live via iTV at 3PM central time in room 107 of Bay College’s West Campus in Iron Mountain.  Joe Kaplan is a director of Common Coast Research & Conservation, a non-profit dedicated to the study and protection of Great Lakes migratory birds.  Joe lives in Delta County and since 2012 has coordinated the Escanaba Migratory Bird Enhancement Initiative (EMBEI) a community-based partnership to create and protect stopover habitat for migrant birds in Portage Bay on Lake Michigan.

Millions of North American songbirds traverse the Western Hemisphere during their annual spring and fall migrations. The Great Lakes present a formidable challenge to birds navigating these huge inland seas, and consequently shoreline areas that congregate birds often provide critical resources enabling them to continue their long journeys.  As numerous songbird species have experienced precipitous declines over the past half-century, their conservation - including the identification and protection of stopover areas utilized during migration - has become a top priority for many state and federal agencies and non-profit organizations. Delta County is situated in the Upper Peninsula at the top of Lake Michigan, and forms part of a land bridge to the south shore of Lake Superior. Recent fieldwork in the county has garnered the attention of the birding community, as surprising numbers of migrants have been documented in Escanaba, Gladstone, and the Stonington and Garden Peninsulas.

 Escanaba, the third largest city in the Upper Peninsula, is positioned prominently on Little Bay de Noc, and has recorded over 260 bird species within City limits. Several city-owned properties offer excellent potential as stopover sites for migratory birds. In addition to well-known species such as Bald Eagle and Sandhill Crane the City's forests and marshes support a diversity of flycatchers, orioles, warblers, sparrows, bitterns, terns, shorebirds, and ducks. Additionally, Escanaba is one of last places in the Upper Peninsula that still supports breeding Purple Martins.

In his talk, Joe will report on the results of efforts to enhance bird habitat within the City of Escanaba through the planting of native species, control of invasive species, and the placement of nest boxes for cavity nesting birds.  Bay College is a participating member of the EMBEI partnership and contributes through the propagation of native plants in the on-campus greenhouse and through the conversation of lawn areas to native grasslands and demonstration prairies.  
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