Ad for Birding 101, highlighting details that are covered in the following article

Michigan Sea Grant’s popular “Michigan Birding 101” program is returning on Wednesdays, August 30 and September 6, 2023, at 7:00-8:15 p.m. The two free online sessions will provide a fall birding refresher and tips for making autumn backyards into bird-friendly habitats. Find registration details.

With multiple passionate birders on staff, Michigan Sea Grant provides high-quality educational programs for new and experienced birders. The beloved Michigan Birding 101 online series covers foundational topics like choosing and using binoculars and guidebooks, best locations for spotting seasonal migrations, adding bird-friendly plants and yard features, and more. Watch session recordings from 2021.

Countless birds rely on the Great Lakes for habitat, food, migration corridors, and other critical functions. As COVID-19 restrictions limited recreational options, many Michiganders began turning toward new outdoor hobbies, including bird-watching. Birding is an easy, affordable way to enjoy backyard critters, explore local natural areas, or travel farther afield in search of key species. The hobby can bring tourism dollars to communities near major migratory pathways or unique habitats, and a passion for birds can inspire wildlife- and eco-friendly choices at home. Peer-reviewed research also shows that birding boosts mental and physical health and encourages meaningful social interactions.

Michigan Birding 101 is hosted by bird enthusiasts Elliot Nelson and Cindy Hudson. Their Spring 2023 series attracted a record-setting 750 registrants, and a recent follow-up survey showed a significant increase in the number of participants now enjoying birding as a hobby. Respondents also reported new bird conservation practices in their own yards, such as better management of feeding areas, keeping cats indoors, adding native plants, and reducing pesticide use. These steps are crucial to making sure Michigan’s resident and migratory birds are able to survive and thrive. 

Whether you’re new to birding, want to refresh your knowledge, or hope to lure friends into joining your next early-morning bird hike, be sure to join the Michigan Birding 101 fall refresher course:

  • August 30, 7:00-8:15 p.m.: Fall Refresher. Join us as we talk about fall bird ID basics, an overview of fall migration, and places to go see fall migration spectacles in Michigan.
  • September 6, 7:00-8:15 p.m.: Backyard Fall Bird ID and Habitat. Join us as we review backyard bird ID, how to handle confusing fall plumage changes, and how to create a happy and healthy backyard habitat for your autumn bird visitors.

Register online to get the Zoom link and to receive recordings of completed sessions.