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WAS monthly events usually are held on the third Wednesday of the month. Programs begin at 7:30 p.m. at the U-M Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor. Free and open to the public. Please note: The Matthaei Botanical Gardens charges for parking at the rate of $1.20 an hour, enforced 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm. Members of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum park for free.

Dead Birds (...for Science!)

icon date2 Wednesday, March 15, 2017
icon timer 07:30pm
icon map marker Matthaei Botanical Gardens

In order to save birds, we need to save their habitats. But birds have wings, can't read maps, and don't stay where they're safe. So how can we create a more bird friendly world beyond parks and refuges? We need to know HOW they die. What kills birds tells us where we can make changes to prevent bird deaths in the future. Join Heidi in exploring the preventable causes of avian mortality that put so much pressure on the birds we know and love, and learn about how valuable dead birds are to science.

This talk primarily focuses on window collisions, window collision prevention, and uncomfortable topics such as wind farms, cats, and where birds go when they die. There is no viewer advisory for the images in this presentation: it is suitable for all audiences.

Heidi Trudell is a relentless advocate for birds. Her passion for preserving incidentally dead birds began in 2003, and her freezer list since then has spanned three states and over 130 species. Heidi has been a librarian, zookeeper, rehabber, bird guide, and nature blogger in Texas ( She tends the Facebook groups “Dead Birds (for Science!)” and “The Auk-ward”. Heidi serves as a coordinator as well as monitor with Washtenaw Safe Passage, and is Chair of the Great Lakes Safe Passage Committee for Detroit Audubon. She currently works at an automotive tech startup in Ypsilanti.

This program is free and open to the public. Membership is not required, though we would welcome your membership to help with our environmental and educational activities. Washtenaw Audubon programs are held at the U-M Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 North Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor.

In addition to the program, hear news of the latest critter sightings and field trips, and enjoy tasty snacks following the program.

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Ben Winger: 21st Century Science with 19th Century Specimens: Next Generation Ornithology at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

icon date2 Wednesday, April 19, 2017
icon timer 07:30pm
icon map marker Matthaei Botanical Gardens

The University of Michigan Museum of Zoology (UMMZ) houses over 200,000 specimens of birds, making it one of the most important ornithological research collections in the world. Many of the specimens were collected almost two centuries ago. Today, technological developments such as genome sequencing enable scientists to use these specimens to unlock secrets of the past as well as make predictions about the future of bird populations. Dr. Winger will discuss several exciting ongoing areas of research that draw insights from the UMMZ’s bird collections. He will also discuss how data from citizen science efforts, such as your contributions to eBird, interface powerfully with historical data from specimens to help us understand migratory birds’ past, present and future.

Ben Winger is Assistant Professor and Curator of Birds in the University of Michigan’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Museum of Zoology. Ben hails from northeast Ohio, where he became enthralled with avian migration at an early age while birding along the south shore of Lake Erie. His interest in birds led to a career of scientific research, focused on topics such as the evolution of bird migration and the process of speciation (how new species form). His fieldwork has taken him throughout the Western Hemisphere, particularly the Andes of Peru and Ecuador. He has a B.A. from Cornell University and a PhD from the University of Chicago.

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