On Friday, October 10, at the Convis Township Hall (near the communities of Marshall, Bellevue, and Battle Creek, Michigan), we will be hosting Dr. Julie Langenberg, Vice President – Conservation Science at the International Crane Foundation (ICF). Julie will be the keynote speaker for this year’s Birders’ Soiree. The evening is fun and festive and, in addition to Julie’s presentation, will include a binoculars giveaway and silent auction, with proceeds benefiting Baker Sanctuary.
Past presenters have included Richard Crossley and Big Year birder, Greg Miller. The evening is always a good time–light hors d’oeuvres are served alongside locally-made beers and wines (non-alcoholic beverages are also served).
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October through November
Sandhill Crane viewing takes place at locations throughout southern lower Michigan. We recommend visiting Haehnle Sanctuary in Jackson County and the Bernard W. Baker Sanctuary in Calhoun County. Both properties are owned and managed by Michigan Audubon.
Fall Crane Viewing Details:
Crane viewing at the Kiwanis Youth Conservation Area, adjacent to Baker Sanctuary, begins the weekend after CraneFest, October 18 and 19. Crane viewing continues every Saturday and Sunday through November 9. Hours for crane viewing are from 4:00PM – dusk .
- The Sandhill Cranes at Big Marsh Lake (Baker Sanctuary) are usually 100 – 200 yards in the distance. Spectacular views of birds can be had with the naked eye, but binoculars will enhance the viewing experience. Photographers enjoy this site because of the proximity of the viewing station to the birds.
Crane viewing at Michigan Audubon’s Phyllis Haehnle Sanctuary in Jackson County (located across the road from 9011 Seymour Rd., Grass Lake, MI 49240) occurs daily from dawn until dusk. Members of the Haehnle Stewardship Committee of Jackson Audubon will be available on weekends beginning at 4:00 PM in October and the first two weekends in November to assist visitors with finding Sandhill Cranes. The additional opportunity to see an Endangered Whooping Crane may exist at Haehnle Sanctuary.
The Sandhill Cranes at Haehnle Sanctuary are usually a quarter-mile in the distance. Binoculars or a spotting scope are highly recommended for watching the birds are this site.
- On October 18 join members of the Haehnle Stewardship Committee of Jackson Audubon for Cranes, Colors, and Cabernet. This event will include guided hikes of Haehnle Sanctuary, car caravan tours to see Sandhill Cranes feeding, crane natural history lectures, and the evening fly-in of cranes to Mud Lake Marsh. Sandhill Crane Vineyards, 4724 Walz Road, Jackson, will pre-release their 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon just for the day. It will be available for tasting and purchasing just this day and then goes back into storage until its normal January release. The winery will be open until 7:30 PM this day only.
Kiwanis Youth Conservation Area and Baker Sanctuary
The Kiwanis Youth Conservation Area, overlooking Baker Sanctuary, will be open for crane-viewing on the following days:
- October 11 & 12 – CRANEFEST WEEKEND!
- October 18 & 19
- October 25 & 26
- November 1 & 2
- November 8 & 9
Viewing of the Sandhill Cranes from the Kiwanis property takes place between 4PM and dusk. Sorry, the property is not open on weekdays!
The street address for the Kiwanis Youth Conservation Area is:
22300 15 Mile Rd Bellevue, Michigan 49021
The following popular online mapping options show the location of the event site and allow users to get directions by entering the address of your current location:
GOOGLE MAPS – CraneFest
YAHOO! MAPS – CraneFest
MAPQUEST – CraneFest
Phyllis Haehlne Memorial Sanctuary in Jackson County
The sanctuary is open to the public every day from dawn to dusk for crane viewing. However on the weekends a member of the Jackson Audubon Society will be on hand from 4 PM to dusk to assist anyone interested in viewing cranes.
Additionally, the Annual Haehnle Sanctuary Crane Festival also known as Cranes, Colors and Cabernet is schedule for Saturday, October 18th from noon until dusk. One-hour guided tours to the north side of Mud Lake Marsh will be given at 12 (noon) and 2 PM. At 4:30 PM Jackson Audubon members will lead car pool tours around Jackson County to see the cranes up close as they feed in the surrounding farm fields. The car pool will return to Haehnle in time to see the cranes return to Mud Lake Marsh to roost for the evening.
Haehnle Sanctuary is located across the road from 9011 Seymour Rd., Grass Lake, MI 49240