Maher Sanctuary News

Recent Findings at Maher Sanctuary

Doug Klein did some birding at Maher Sanctuary the morning of September 9, 2018 and ran into a small wave of birds that included Red and White-breasted nuthatches, titmice and chickadees, a Wilson’s Warbler, two Red-eyed Vireos, a pair of Black and White Warblers, three or four redstarts and a Bay-breasted Warbler. The Wilson’s was new for the eBird list for Maher, bringing the sanctuary total up to 121 species. He also had an immature Red-headed Woodpecker.

Field Trip Report from Maher Audubon Sanctuary

by Chris Baer

Saturday, October 27, 2018, found nine GRAC members walking the trails at Maher Sanctuary. The light rain soon stopped as we approached the marle pond where the water lilies showed their green, smiling faces. Red-winged blackbirds were evident all morning singing from the cattail marsh and west near Caine Creek.

The cattail marsh was tall with vegetation including its namesake, plus New England aster and thimble weed. The thimble weed seed-heads were puffing out, appearing as cotton balls along the edge of the boardwalk. Blue jays and cardinals made themselves known as we approached the edge of the woods and upland areas where the boardwalk ends and the trail begins. At the artesian rivulet bridge, we started to hear bluebirds calling and found them in the oak savannah at the tops of the trees. Without the sun shining it was difficult to determine male from female. Goldfinches also made an appearance high up along this part of the trail as well as a few chickadees.

The trail part of the loop was in fine shape and as we walked little “windows” would open to our right with views of cattail marsh and patches of shrubby cinquefoil. As we walked into what used to be a small prairie remnant, robins began flying over in twos, threes and more headed north. This went on for several minutes. We had a short discussion on whether they were flying in the wrong direction. Scolding robins had been with us for most of the walk as we interrupted their feeding on the variety of foods in the sanctuary.

Not far from the Bridge to Nowhere we were visited by a pair of fox sparrows which was particularly delightful: fat striped cheeping birds of brushy habitat. We ended our stroll with expansive views of Caine Creek and crossed a bridge over the artesian rivulet for the last time.

Some of us extended our bird search at the Michigan Nature Association Dolan Preserve along nearby Coldwater Creek off of Baker Street where we saw more fox sparrows and tweedling yellow-rumped warblers.

Trail walkers included: Jeni and Shawn Taheri, Jan Lewis, Jim and Norine Shea, Ruth Fridsma, Sheryl and Keith Helmus. Thanks to Ruth Fridsma for meeting fellow birders at the Arby’s carpooling location.

Maher Details

Questions and information about the Maher sanctuary can be E-mailed to

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Location Map

The Maher Sanctuary is located on the southwest corner of Woodschool Rd. and 108th St. on the border of Kent and Barry Counties.



From Grand Rapids take I-96 east to Lowell. Exit at the Lowell exit and take Alden Nash Ave. south to 100th St. Proceed east 1/2 mile on 100th to Baker Ave. Turn right and go one mile south on Baker, which becomes Woodschool at 108th St. This is the Barry County line. The Maher Sanctuary is located on the southwest corner of Woodschool and 108th. Turn right on 108th and look for the parking area on the left (south) side of the road about 1/4 mile west of Woodschool.