Published: Feb. 24, 2016

W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary educates on snowy owls and purple martins

Contact(s): Sarah Carroll Kellogg Biological Station office: 269-671-2015

Brenda and Rich Keith from the Kalamazoo River Valley Bird Observatory will speak on bird banding from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on March 1 at the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary to learn about snowy owls in Michigan.

Project Snowstorm, the snowy owl monitoring project, was started in winter 2013-14 after a large increase of snowy owls in the northern United States from the Canadian Arctic.

This collaboration among scientists is catching snowy owls and outfitting them with solar powered GPS – GSM transmitters to analyze the owls’ activity. A slideshow will be shown with information on the research and data collected through banding snowy owls.

The cost for members is $5 for adults, $4 for students or seniors and $3 for children. The cost for non-members is $7 for adults, $6 for students or seniors and $5 for children. Pre-registration with payment is appreciated, but not required. Reservations can be made online.

The purple martin is a swallow species that has adapted to depend almost exclusively on man-made birdhouses for survival in the eastern U.S.

Penny Briscoe will host the workshop, “How to be a Good Purple Martin Landlord” from 9 a.m. to noon on March 5 in the Sanctuary Auditorium. Briscoe is a local expert with more than 25 years’ experience as a martin landlord and citizen scientist.

The workshop will discuss how to acquire and install suitable housing, prepare nests for spring arrival and perform regular nest checks to ensure survival of young birds. The workshop includes a hands-on nest-building portion at the Sanctuary’s Purple Martin gourd rack.

Admission for the event is $25 for sanctuary members and $35 for non-members, and includes information packets. Pre-registration is required by Feb. 26. Call (269) 671-2510 to register, or register online.

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