"Year of the Bird" Photography Contest


Congratulations to Doug Jackson of Chelsea, MI as winner of the “Year of the Bird” photo Contest

Doug’s photograph of a Scarlet Tanager will grace the cover the Chelsea District Library’s spring newsletter as well as a feature in the Discovery Center and the WNHA website (wnha.org).  

The WNHA started this contest to celebrate a century of wildlife protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  The act created the first protections for over 800 bird species, making it illegal to hunt, pursue, possess, or sell any of the species listed in the act, including possession of their feathers, eggs, and nests.  However, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is more than a US law - it’s a treaty between the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Russia. These protections ensure that migratory birds are protected throughout their entire range.  100 years of protecting birds, restoring habitat, and recovering species is why 2018 is the “Year of the Bird!”

The Scarlet Tanager can be found in the oak forests of the Waterloo Recreation Area, though to find one you’ll need to know where to look (and a pair of binoculars!)  They can typically be found among the leaves and branches of tall trees, where they seek out their diet of insects. Your best chance of seeing one is in the spring, when they’ve just arrived from their winter homes in South America and the trees haven’t developed leaves yet.  

Scarlet Tanager sightings in the Waterloo Rec Area are proof positive there is still plenty to celebrate about the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, even 100 years after it was signed.  Thank you to Doug, our winner, as well as all entrants in the contest.

Dancing Sandhill Crane.jpg

Sandhill crane recovery

Sandhill cranes are synonymous with the Waterloo Recreation Area. A familiar sight and sound in the area, it’s hard to imagine these majestic birds once nearly disappeared from the landscape. According to the Michigan DNR, only nine cranes were found in the nearby Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Michigan Audubon Society Sanctuary in 1949. Today they number in the thousands, and we can largely attribute their recovery to a piece of legislation 100 years old: the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.