Red winged blackbird




2018 Berrien County Birdathon Report

Last spring's weather conditions set up perfect timing for the Berrien County Birdathon on May 19, with the Fernwood team identifying 107 different bird species as they raised $2000 to support our Environmental Studies Programs for area schools, which reach almost 4000 students every year. Highlights included 21 species of warblers - the worm-eating warbler at Warren Dunes was an unexpected species, with Cape May and blackpoll warblers heard at many places throughout the day. A very wet and bedraggled whip-poor-will was discovered snoozing on a branch at Warren Dunes, so many teams were able to enjoy that. Baltimore orioles were abundant and singing everywhere, which was fun - but at the end of the day we had to work hard to find a common grackle! Our stop at New Buffalo beach was a treat as we had great looks at a variety of shorebirds and terns. This annual event is vital as a fundraiser for Fernwood–thank you to all who donated!
2018 Fernwood Bluebird Trail Report

Winding through the Arboretum and prairie,eleven nest boxes along Fernwood's bluebird trail fledged 48 chicks last summer, down for the second year in a row. Despite a significant increase in the number of eggs laid, many eggs or chicks simply disappeared from the nest, suggesting predation by house wrens and/or house sparrows. For the first time, we had not one nesting attempt by tree swallows (2015 was the last year with any successful tree swallow nests). Given that our habitat hasn't changed that much since 2015, we speculate that this is an indication of the declining tree swallow populations across the U.S. and corresponds with Cornell Lab of Ornithology Breeding Bird Survey datat documenting that their populations have declined 49% between 1966 and 2014.    

With a lack of natural nesting cavities and competition from starlings and English sparrows for those holes, providing a nest box can be very helpful to your neighborhood bluebirds. Many thanks to our 11 dedicated volunteers who helped maintain and monitor our boxes. 

Give the Gift of Birds and Help Support Fernwood!


Know someone who enjoys birds at their backyard feeders? Or perhaps someone who is a serious birder, hitting local hotspots every weekend? Give them the gift of birds all year long and support Fernwood at the same time. 

When you place a new one-year subscription to Bird Watcher's Digest magazine or their other publications, Fernwood receives 50% of the subscription price. Mention Fernwood when placing an order at 800.879.2473 or subscribe at This great publication covers bird identification, feeding, behavior, gardening, and much more. It makes a great gift for the bird-lover on your list!