Monday, March 9, 2009

Michigan Audubon Conference & Worried about Loons


My beloved Loon parents on Big Bradford Lake in Waters, Michigan.

I'm back from the Michigan Audubon Conference and have had time to think about what I experienced and learned this past weekend. I spoke about Birding & Blogging and reviewed how to set up a blog, blogger etiquette and how blogging can help the birds. All my attendees filled out review forms on me (hopefully no one wrote "thinks she's funny but she's not!") and I was told I got high marks so I was very appreciative!

2nd thing - after attending a presentation on Loons, I am even more worried about their future. Added to the list of loss of habitat affecting these poor Loons, now they have to contend with Avian botulism which is occuring in our Great Lakes. In 2007 - botulism killed an estimated 7,500 migrating and native bird population including many Loons. The theory is that botulism occurs when the zebra mussels filter the water allowing more light to grow cladaphora algae which increases the outbreaks. The birds are affected by eating these infected fish and mussels.

Loons only have 2 loon chicks per year - they are lucky if one survives. Can you imagine the devastation that Botulism could have on our Loon population? I left the conference thinking I need to do more. There are so many opportunities we bird and nature bloggers have to get the message out there - share and exchange information - and help the creatures we care so much about.

29 comments:

Hi ! I'm Cindy said...

I'm glad this conference was helpful to you...

You know, you just think birds will always just "be". It actually brought me to attention after I started reading this blog... They can't just "be" when man steps in and breaks their world apart. I've always kept my birds fed in the winter and given them shelter on my little piece of land...but that's just my little piece of the world!

I know zebra mussels have brought much trouble to the great lakes, what is really being done about them? and is there a way to reverse the affects they have left in the lakes?

Kallen305 said...

It absolutely breaks my heart to read this. Is there anything that can be done to prevent some of this?

I knew you would do well at the conference!

Mildred said...

I know you were well received at the conference. This is disturbing info about the loons.

Willard said...

I'm glad the conference went well for you. It is sad that so many problems face wildlife, but it is good to be aware of the issues, discuss them, and help in any way possible.

I hope the loons are not decimated by this disease.

Also, I enjoyed the photos you posted since my last visit on both of your blogs. Excellent work!

Chris said...

Hi Shelley,
I knew you will do good at the conference. I'm also sorry about the disease on loon. You know almost all animals are affected by habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and disease right now. It is up to us to try to stop that!!

bennie and patsy said...

Happy all went well and sorry to hear that about the Loons. Just hope they can do something about the zebra mussels in time to save more birds.
Patsy

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Glad you had an interesting time.Unfortunaely not all the news sounds so good.
Blessings,Ruth

fishing guy said...

Shelly: It would be a real shame to loose this neat bird. We don't have them in Ohio but I would love to see them in person.

Deb said...

So glad you had a great time at the Conference! I knew you would do well :-)Sharing information through our blogs like you have today about the Loons is one of the reasons I love blogging so much. Looking forward to reading more about the Michigan Audubon Conference. Thanks for sharing Shelley.

Deborah Godin said...

I heard about how devastating that outbreak was. ANd any bird with such a low reproducing rate will have trouble coping. I fear we are moving towards loss of species diversity at a rate that can't be stopped.

Sharon said...

We all need to be more informed on this subject. Once you see and hear aloon you never forget.I miss them as I have not seen any since I left Minnesota. I am so glad you did great at the conference. Sharon

Vickie said...

Glad your conference went well and I'm sure your evals were great. Unhappy to hear about the threat to the loons. I hope creative resolutions for imbalance are discovered soon. I'm thankful the loons have watchful stewards like you.

ramblingwoods.com said...

Glad that you were appreciate at the conference..Yes..I was talking to someone from the DEC and they were talking about the loons and botulism. It is heartbreaking...

Eve said...

Hi Shelley,
Glad you had a good conference. It is hard to hear about the loons but I knew this was happening. Hopefully it will run it's course and slow down a bit. I don't know too much about that but know many birds have been lost. The ships brought in the pest and now what do we do...bring in another organism that will fight the mussels. It's hard to know.
On a good note my friend spotted loons at her home on Lake Ontario, they're out there and lets hope they do well.

The Birdlady said...

More and more of these stories, and they just break my heart. Have you read "Silence of the Songbirds?"

Tom said...

I was at your session on blogs at the conference and appreciate how complete and detailed you were. I have run a simple blog on baseball, but now have started a new one using pictures and hyperlinks, etc. My latest post is on the conference at:

http://oakopeningsandobservations.blogspot.com/

Just wanted to say thanks for the information.

trumpeterswansociety said...

I'm impressed that your readers care deeply and follow your concern for conservation. We need more like you! I admired your February posting on Trumpeter Swans as well and wanted to ask if you are out this month to keep us posted if you see any Trumpters with neck collars or wing tags. www.trumpterswansociety.org. Note the color, any number and describe the flock (#, # of white (adult) birds and number of gray (yearling) birds. We hope to keep track as birds wintering in new areas return to their northern realms. We have a Blog as well trumpterswansociety.org and welcome your readers participation. Keep us posted as you do so well in this Blog and thank you.
Peg Abbott
The Trumpeter Swan Society

Leedra said...

Knew you would do great at the conference. Your humor is always just right, so I am sure that was a plus.

So many birds and wildlife are constantly in danger. We all need to be aware and do our part to help.

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Lynne said...

Glad the conference went well. I knew you would be well received. Keep us informed about what we need to know regarding the loons and boutlism.

Daisy said...

Hi Shelley! I'm glad to hear the conference went well for you and that you were well received. I'm not surprised! I fully expected them to love you the way all of us who visit here do. :D

Natural Moments said...

We will soon all be elbowing each other to get room to leave a comment on your blog after your conference.

Kelly said...

...that is so scary to hear about the loons and botulism. Their environment is so fragile...
Also, congrats on your success. I'm sure it's a blast (and inspiring) to attend one of your classes!

Olde Tyme Marketplace said...

Sure wish I could have been at that conference. I knew you would be great. I hate to hear the news about avain botulism. Zebra mussles have wrecked havoc on so many issues. I am going to do a little reading up on what is being done about this issue. I can't imagine living in a world without birds!
I LOVED the fat redpoll by the way! Oh...I have a titmouse who loves peanuts! He hogs um all day long! That would be a great picture for you!
You are too funny!
Smiles,
Beth

HANNIBAL said...

Glad all went well for you at the conference! I knew it would!

Awareness is key for the future of the loons and all other wildlife and you are doing a great job at spreading the awareness!

I

troutbirder said...

It is so discouraging. I sit here each spring and wonder where the songbirds have gone as well.

Shellmo said...

Thank your everyone for your comments! I definitely have the nicest blogger friends! Some of you asked what we could do to help the Loons / other birds affected by botulism. There needs to be better management & stricter regulations of the ships that enter the great lakes as they are the ones depositing these mussels here. Additionally, reporting any sick bird or washed up bird on the shore so that it can be removed so the botulism doesn't continue to spread. Additionally - donating to organizations dedicated to protecting our birds and cleaning up our great lakes. I am donating a portion of all sales from Shelley's nature store to the Michigan Loon preservation and am searching for a great lakes organization to send $ to as well. Lastly - i think blogging helps - many of you already do this - bringing awareness about conditions affecting our birds and habitat. I recently saw a flurry of posts on the housefinch eye disease and I thought it was great how everyone was informed and instructed on how to clean the feeders, etc.
Thank you again for visiting me - I appreciate it more than you can imagine!! :-)

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Shell, YAY!!! You had a great time at the conference. I knew you would shine. You have a vibrant and beautifully quirky personality.

Zebra mussels are a mess on the Great Lakes. I pray this issue finds a solution soon. How awful for the loons and ducks, etc.

Hugs, JJ...I have more good news and will post about it soon. :D

Sandy said...

Well I didn't know about all that, very interesting. Glad to read your update about your talk...I bet you did great and the feedback will be good.

RuthieJ said...

I'm glad your talk at the conference went well Shelley.

That's sad about the loons declining populations. Do you think the problem is just on the big (Great) lakes or inland lakes like we have here in Minnesota as well?