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self portrait - circa 1996

 

Do we really need three state birds?

Dear Friends:
heated birdbaths attract more birds (in the winter, especially)The campaign over which bird species should be Michigan’s state bird has had some people in a ruff at J.J. Cardinal’s over the past few years, and the issue may soon give many something to grouse about as three bills on the subject go before state Legislature early in 2006.

The American robin, Turdus migratorius, was adopted as our state bird in 1931, but that decision has expired making way for two challengers, Kirtland’s warbler, Dendroica kirtlandii, and black-capped chickadee Parus atricapillus. The arguments for selecting these alternate species are strong. The Kirtland’s warbler, breeds almost exclusively in northern Michigan making it quite unique (see related story back page), but it is only a summer visitor. Black-capped chickadee won our own store poll in 1999 beating out the American robin nearly four to one in popularity. Many folks see the chickadee as a friendly regular at their bird feeders.

To read the individual bills, Michigan Legislature: http://www.legislature.mi.gov

Senate Bill No. 0346: the Kirtland's warbler is the official bird of this state.

House Bill No. 5428: the black-capped chickadee is designated as the official bird of this state.

House Bill No. 5429: the robin is the official migratory bird of this state, and the Kirtland's warbler is the official songbird of this state.

Matthew Gillard, Alpena, House of Representatives, who sponsored bills 5428-29, is reported to have said, “There's no reason we can't recognize more than one bird”.

It is interesting to note that the Michigan Audubon Society, which supported the American robin as the state bird in 1931, now backs the Kirtland's warbler.

On Friday, February 17, 1:00 p.m., children age three and up are invited to participate in a program where they will be introduced to the three birds listed in various bills before the state Legislature who may or may not become one of our next state birds. Program includes coloring project. $2.50 per child, age three and up, and reservations required. Call 810-695-8733 to reserve a seat.

For more information on this topic on the Internet:

Michigan Legislature: http://www.legislature.mi.gov

Michigan Audubon Society: http://www.michiganaudubon.org/

Grand Blanc City School:

http://mswww.grand-blanc.k12.mi.us/warbler/

Louise Dawson

[line drawing by Louise, 1998]   

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12830 S. Saginaw St., Grand Blanc, MI  48439  810-695-8733
revised 02/01/06 illustrations, text & fun © LAD, Inc. 1992-2006
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