Holiday BC Newsletter • December, 2017

Thanksgiving Grace By Sheila Daly and Kitty Madden
As we gather in the harvest of another year,
We give thanks for the cycle of the day
that provides a feast of sunrises and sunsets,
time for work, and time for rest.
May the movement of the sun and moon
remind us to count our rich blessings.We give thanks for the cycle of growing,
from planting to harvest,
that provides us with work of our hands
and food for our families.
May the mystery of the seasons
that bloom full and lay fallow in their own time,
remind us to plant our spirits in rich soil,
and to trust in the miracle of the harvest.We give thanks for the cycle of life,
that miraculous gift,
marked by milestones and memories,
the mundane and momentous.
May the babies who are born today
remind us of the promise of all new beginnings,
and the great encircling that awaits us at each ending.We give thanks for circles of family and friends,
for loving companions dear in our hearts
and those with whom we now join hands.
May all who share our joy,
remind us of those for whom giving thanks is a struggle,
and as we receive love, may we radiate it out
in ever-widening circles of care and compassion.We give thanks for the grace to count our blessings,
and we trust that our gratitude
will be translated into the desire
to be a blessing to others.



At The Bird Center   926 Mary Street
Come out to support the Bird Center and songbirds before the holidays!  This event will be right at the Bird Center in downtown Ann Arbor!
Join us as we host an event collaborating with local award winning artist Tim Marsh.  Tim has a huge heart and supports many wildlife causes. He would like to help support the Center. Tim will be selling beautiful prints of his paintings, bookmarks and magnets. His art is primarily of animals and nature. Tim is generously donating a percentage directly to the center from the sales made at this event.
Their are so many wonderful pieces to choose from, so come out and choose some holidays gifts and support the Center at the same time!
You can check out his beautiful work here:
Carol sent this along. She said this sounds like fun!!
Opportunity for free two-week stay in historic lighthouse keeper’s quarters.
.Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program offers special vacation and service opportunity
As the calendar reaches December, it’s not uncommon for people to start thinking about their travel plans for the approaching year. For those seeking uncommon travel experiences, the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program offers the opportunity for a free two-week stay in historic lighthouse keepers’ quarters while helping to promote the history and preservation of the site. The application period to participate in the program in 2018 is now open.In 2018, the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program offers combined vacation and service opportunities for adults from May 16 to Oct. 16. Those selected to be volunteer lighthouse keepers receive lodging in the restored keepers’ quarters next to the 1876 Tawas Point Lighthouse in Tawas Point State Park. In exchange, participants provide roughly 35 hours of services each week in and around the historic lighthouse that attracts visitors from all over the world.”The Tawas area is known as Michigan’s Cape Cod,” said Hillary Pine, Tawas Point Lighthouse historian. “It’s a lovely area favored by bird-watchers, anglers, history enthusiasts and others. We make sure our volunteer lighthouse keepers have plenty of time to enjoy Lake Huron, Tawas Bay and other recreational opportunities.”Keeper duties include greeting visitors, giving tours, providing information about the lighthouse, and routine cleaning and maintenance. Keepers stay in the second story of the keepers’ quarters attached to the lighthouse. Accommodations include two bedrooms sleeping up to four adults and modern kitchen, bath and laundry facilities. Keepers must commit to a two-week stay at the lighthouse. Pine said the lighthouse keeper program looks for teams of two, three or four adults – especially those with knowledge of lighthouse lore or Great Lakes maritime history – but that there is no requirement for such a background.”We give our volunteer lighthouse keepers historical information and on-site orientation to help prepare them for their experience,” Pine said. “They take great pride in helping to promote and preserve the lighthouse – and who wouldn’t love waking up to the beautiful view of the bay that they enjoy every day?
For more information about program, send e-mail to
 The application period is open through Feb. 2, 2018.      989-348-2537
Tawas Point Lighthouse is a nationally accredited museum located 2.5 miles southeast of East Tawas, in Tawas Point State Park
Carol writes:
“Just got a nice email from former staff member Will O Neill who is in veterinary school at Oregon State.  Sarah Lowe Wetzel, also one of our former interns is studying Veterinary Oncology at Oregon State!’           CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR GRADUATE STUDENTS.
                              WE’RE PROUD OF YOU!!!
How to Welcome Winter Birds
Fall may mean migration, but one bird’s north is just another bird’s south. 
  Myrtle song1Sad that some of your favorite birds are going south for the winter?
Don’t worry-others are coming to take their places. As birds that breed in the lower 48 states head to Central and South America, those from the boreal forests of Canada and Alaska are also heading south in search of warmer climes. One study found that in California’s Central Valley, there are just as many different bird species around in the winter as in the summer.
While there isn’t good data showing whether this seasonal trade-off is just as balanced in other locales, “winter visitors” can be found all over the country, says Jeff Wells, Science and Policy Director for the Boreal Songbird Initiative. “There’s this massive sea of a billion or more birds that come down into the U.S. and become, often, the common birds of backyards and parks and lakes and ponds,” says Wells. “Yet we don’t think so much about where they’re coming from and what their needs are.”
Helping these winter visitors out could help sustain their populations in both their wintering and summering grounds. Birds have the same needs-food, water, shelter-in winter as they do any other time. Winter habitat has also been shown to affect breeding success, according to studies on tropical-wintering birds, and the same could be true for the boreal birds wintering here, says Kristen Dybala, who led the California study. If the birds don’t find quality habitats with good food, their health suffers, Dybala explains, and it may take them longer to gather the energy to migrate back to their breeding grounds. When they finally arrive, the best breeding spots might be taken. “Each stage of the annual cycle kind of depends on the previous one,” says Dybala. Basically, it’s a snowball effect.
While conservationists tend to pay the most attention to habitats during breeding season, “there’s this whole other season that we haven’t been paying nearly as much attention to, and there may be opportunities to do a better job providing higher-quality habitat during the winter,” Dybala says.
So what can you do to welcome the boreal birds to your backyard this winter? Here are some tips from Stephen Kress, who directs Audubon’s Project Puffin.
Create a songbird border of native trees and shrubs to shelter your yard from the wind. Choose berry-producing landscape plants, such as juniper trees and shrubs like dogwood, serviceberry, and viburnum; many boreal birds, such as the Cedar Waxwing, the Yellow-rumped Warbler, and several sparrow species, eat berries during the winter. Fall is the perfect time to plant, says Kress-though be sure to put wire-mesh cages around the new plants to protect them from mice, deer, and rabbits.
Make a brush pile in the corner of the yard to shelter the birds from predators and storms and to provide night roosting places. Put logs and larger branches on the bottom and layer smaller branches on top.
Rake leaves up under trees and shrubs-and leave them there. The resulting mulch will make a lush environment for the insects and spiders that these birds, such as the Savannah Sparrow and Golden-crowned Sparrow, like to eat.
Turn part of your lawn into a mini-meadow by letting it grow up in grass and weeds. (Mow it once a year, in late summer.) Seed-eating boreal visitors, including several sparrow species and the Dark-eyed Junco, will benefit from your letting things go literally to seed. “In general, overly tidy gardeners are poor bird gardeners,” Kress writes in The Audubon Guide To Attracting Birds.
For other tips on how to make your property hospitable to birds, check out How To Make Your Yard Bird-FriendlyMake Migration-Friendly Window Decorations, and, of course, Kress’s book.
To everyone of the Bird Center family and friends I wish you a holiday season with quiet time to read a favorite book or look through family scrapbooks
noisy with the laughter of friends and family, peace & reflection.