Helping birds of a feather to stay together at new refuge

Two avian conservation organizations benefit from Enbridge support

With Feathers, a northern Michigan-based avian rescue organization, recently dedicated its new rehabilitation shed, which will enable the not-for-profit organization to advance its mission to rehabilitate sick and injured birds.

A $5,900 grant from Enbridge helped With Feathers to purchase the shed, which is critical to the organization’s mission. This year alone, the organization has successfully rehabilitated and released more than 170 birds into their natural habitat.

However, not all rescued birds are healthy enough for release. Instead, they live at With Feathers through the remainder of their lifetime. This is the case for a juvenile yellow-crowned night heron named Blue.

According to With Feathers, Blue represents an endangered bird species last documented in the Upper Peninsula more than five decades ago. Blue arrived at With Feathers with a broken wing, limiting his ability to fly long distances. While he never will be able to return to the wild, he plays an important role in helping With Feathers promote wildlife education.

“The beautiful wildlife and waters throughout the State makes Michigan truly a special place,” says Emma Cook, a Michigan-based Enbridge community relations representative. “We all need to do what we can to protect these natural treasures.”

In addition to With Feathers, the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch (MSRW) is proceeding with its conservation and research efforts. With a $25,000 grant from Enbridge, MSRW is placing bands on raptors migrating to the Straits.

The effort is part of MSRW’s research to monitor and count hawks, eagles, falcons, and other raptors, as well as band owls. The research aims to support raptor conservation, according to MSRW.

Over the years, Enbridge has partnered with MSRW to provide space on Enbridge property for survey stations and owl banding. The Straits is the closest path from the Upper Peninsula to the Lower Peninsula, providing the best location for Enbridge’s Line 5 Straits crossing and ideal conditions for raptor migration.

“As someone who tries to get outdoors and enjoy nature every chance I get, it is especially rewarding to have Enbridge, my company, support these two organizations and see their great work in action,” explains Cook.

(TOP PHOTO: The Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch (MSRW) conducts surveying and banding of migratory owls like this northern saw-whet. Saw-whet owls are one of the smallest owl species in North America, with an average weight between two and five ounces.