By Annie Perry, MNA Intern
On January 15, MNA Regional Stewardship Organizer Matt Schultz led a group of 18 people on a hike at Lefglen Nature Sanctuary in Jackson County. While on the hike, the group spotted a juvenile northern goshawk, a bird typically found in northern North America and Eurasia.
None of the hikers were able to get a picture, but Schultz said in an email that several experienced birdwatchers were convinced it was a northern goshawk. They identified the bird by its white eye stripe, accipiter shape, large size, and its long, banded tail.
Though northern goshawks live farther north, finding them in Michigan isn’t entirely unusual. Northern goshawks will fly to the Great Plains and Midwest in the winter if prey levels fall in their native forests. They are an irruptive species—a species that irregularly migrates to another area for reasons including availability of food, suitability of climate and amount of predatory activity. Unlike traditional migrations, irruptive migrations may occur one year, then not again for many years.
MNA has other hikes and winter activities planned this season to help you keep winter restlessness at bay. Be sure to check out one of our upcoming events in your area, and maybe you’ll get lucky and see another neat species like the northern goshawk!
- Saturday, January 26 – Cross Country Ski: Eagle Harbor Red Pine Dunes, Dean Webster Memorial, and Cy Clark Memorial Nature Sanctuary, near Eagle Harbor
- Saturday, January 26 – Volunteer Day: Palmer Memorial Nature Sanctuary, near Schoolcraft
- Monday, January 28 – Volunteer Day: Goose Creek Grasslands Nature Sanctuary, near Cement City
- Thursday, January 31 – Volunteer Day: Bullard Lake Fen Plant Preserve, near 23 and M-59 in Hartland
- Saturday, February 2 – Field Trip: Five Lakes Muskegon Nature Sanctuary, near Muskegon
- Saturday, February 2 – Snow Shoe Hike: Gratiot Lake Overlook Nature Sanctuary, near Copper Harbor
- Saturday, February 23 – Snow Shoe Hike: Rooks Memorial Nature Sanctuary, near Copper Harbor
- Sunday, March 3 – Show Shoe Hike: Robert T. Brown Plant Preserve, near Painesdale
Keep checking MNA’s events calendar for an updated list of our winter events!