Summer Lecture Series

Spring 2011

The Beaver Island Association will offer three presentations this year in a summer education series that is being revived with encouragement from over 70% of members who responded to our survey last fall.

On Thursday, July 7, Dr. Nancy Seefelt of the CMU Biology Department will give a talk about her research on migrating song-birds on Beaver Island. Dr. See-felt will discuss the stopover ecol-ogy of warblers, thrushes, vireos, and other small migratory birds that pause on Beaver to eat insects before continuing north. Everyone who spends spring on the island knows about the hoards of midges (sometimes mistaken for mosqui-toes) that form what look like plumes of smoke over areas like East Side Drive. These tiny in-sects, which do not bite, are in-credibly important to these migrat-ing songbirds as a source of fat and protein. Beaver’s unique location in the middle of Lake Michigan makes it a perfect rest stop for small migratory birds, who rely on the calories they gain from midges to continue their journey. Come hear Dr. Seefelt present her data about what songbirds Beaver at-tracts and how they use the island as a stopover habitat. Peaine Township Hall, 7:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, July 13, Kay Charter of Saving Birds Through Habitat, a popular presenter at last summer’s forest symposium, will explain “How to Grow a Bird Feeder.” Few people are aware that virtually all our migrating birds have been losing ground for decades, with populations of some species declining by up to 90% in the past four decades. Most people believe they help birds by offering seeds and suet from hanging or post-mounted bird feeders. But such well meaning efforts do little for birds like warblers, vireos and tanagers. Most birds must have insects at some time in their lives; many depend largely or entirely on insect food; and 97% of all terre-strial avian nestlings require in-sects to develop. Charter will dis-cuss the challenges for our marvel-ous migrants and offer valuable suggestions on how to provide ge-nuine assistance by improving nat-ural habitat on your property not just for birds, but for other at-risk wildlife as well. At Beaver Island Community Center at 7 p.m.

On Monday, July 25, just be-fore this year’s Baroque on Beaver concerts, Dr. Ed Leuck of the De-partment of Biology of Centenary College of Louisiana will discussnative plants of Beaver Island as alternatives to cultivars and grassy lawns. The co-author of Plants of Beaver Island and longtime sum-mer resident of the island, Dr. Leuck will give advice on what native plants work best in what type of habitat, how and when to plant them, and how to maintain them after planting. He will also discuss some of the more common invasive plants on the island and how to keep them from spreading. With extensive knowledge of BI flora, he will help identify plants on your property and tell you how to manage them: great information for everyone who’s ever wondered, “What’s that plant, and should I keep it or kill it?” Peaine Town-ship Hall, 7:30 p.m.

All these presentations will be open to the public free of charge and everyone interested in nature and wildlife on Beaver Island is invited to attend. Please plan to do so . . . and talk them up with your friends and neighbors.