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Jake Musser's ornithology internship at Gratiot Lake was mentored by Mike Scheiwe of Headwaters. Over a three year period, Jake and Mike studied the birds at Gratiot Lake. On August 13, 2001, Mary Lizzadro hosted an engaging presentation in which Jake and Mike discussed their research.

A number of GLC members, Headwaters educators and student interns, and local Audubon Society members attended.

Gratiot Lake Conservancy
Bird Study

In his slide show, Jake noted both the great variety of warblers nesting near the lake and the many species which migrate through the area. He and Mike captured, recorded data from, banded, and released over 100 warblers at the lake during the 3 years.


Throughout this research Jake relied upon several birder texts to identify the birds captured, and he kept his own meticulously crafted records and drawings of the birds studied.


Often brightly colored warblers flit about so quickly it is difficult to spot them. Their sighting represents a delightful challenge to those who love watching birds.

Jake showed the mist nets and described the techniques used to safely capture and band the birds.

These small, insect eating birds migrate to Mexico and Central America for the winter and their number and diversity here is a barometer of the watershed’s health and an indicator of conditions in the south where they winter.

Mike and Jake’s most exciting discovery was finding a nest of a black throated blue warbler hidden in vegetation a few feet above the ground. It contained four spotted eggs and Mike and Jake observed the adult warblers coming and going from the nest. According to local bird expert, Dr. Lawrence Binford, this was the first nest of this species documented in the Keweenaw.

Video Clips from Jake's Presentation and Slideshow

(Warning: The size and quality of these videos from 2001 are not good, but they do give a good idea of the work being done and of the expertise of the young presenter.)

In this streaming video clip of Jake's slideshow, he talks about how to identify the birds captured.

Start Video

In this streaming video clip of Jake's slideshow, he talks about the nets used to capture warblers.

Start Video

Contact Bonnie Hay at Director@GratiotLakeConservancy.org
to arrange for a copy of the full video of Jake's slideshow.

Contact GLC Program Director: director@gratiotlakeconservancy.org
(Please put "Gratiot Lake" in subject line.)