Greetings from the Kalamazoo Valley Bird Observatory (KVBO) at the Kalamazoo Nature Center! We hope this letter finds you healthy and safe. We are certainly living in unusual and challenging times.
We are sad to announce that the annual Berrien County Birdathon will not take place this year due to the COVID-19 crisis. Yet, I take comfort knowing that spring migration happens regardless of what affects humankind at this time. I hope you take similar comfort from the many wonders that our natural world provides in the spring season.
We do have good news, however. KNC’s Catbirders Team will still conduct a modified event, with safety foremost in mind. Todd Alfes, John Brenneman, Brenda Keith, and I will survey separately this year, dividing and conquering Kalamazoo County. With fewer concentration spots for migrating birds (as compared to Berrien County), we will cover as much of the county as possible in order to find our typical 100+ species.
It is important to know that our work at the KVBO continues. Spring banding is underway, and Cerulean Warbler banding will begin soon. Tick collection for MSU’s Lyme disease study is in its 24th year at the KVBO. Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) breeding bird banding will begin May 31, and fall banding will begin on August 25, as it has for 47 years. Additional Motus receiving stations are being built to improve our wildlife tracking capability, and we are studying Yellow Warblers as a part of climate change vulnerability research.
Your support makes this work possible. Even in these challenging times, we hope our modified Birdathon efforts will generate $15,000 - roughly 15% of KVBO’S annual operating budget. Your gift, large or small, will help sustain KVBO research and produce data that guides land management decisions at KNC. Your donation provides for the supplies, equipment, facilities, and staff that are critical to the KVBO’s operations.
Thank you for supporting the important research conducted by the KVBO! We look forward to sharing our modified Birdathon results with you in June.