By Howard Meyerson
Call Detroit Michigan what you will: Motor City, Hockey Town, Tiger Town or Motown. Increasingly, it is becoming a Bird Town. Greening efforts all across its urban landscape, from tree plantings in parks and overgrown lots to urban gardens and wetland restorations—all are improving living conditions for birds.
“Detroit is a hotbed for birding,” notes Greg Norwood, biologist for the Detroit International Wildlife Refuge (DRIWR) which encompasses 10,577 acres of quality habitat along the Detroit River and western Lake Erie. Those include coastal marshes, islands, wetlands and shoreline parks. “This is an internationally recognized good birding area because of its geography. We have a world renowned hawk migration and a really significant waterfowl migration here.”
Established in 2001 and managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service, DRIWR it is the only international wildlife refuge in North America. Its purpose is preserving habitat that otherwise would be lost, including stopover habitat for migrating birds and waterfowl. Several hundred thousand Broad-winged Hawks and Turkey Vultures come through each fall headed south. Giant flocks of Tundra Swans, Redhead Ducks, Scaup and Canvasbacks also move through during their west-to-east migration between nesting areas on the North American prairies and wintering grounds on the Atlantic seaboard. Continue reading