Songbird Protection Coalition

Action Alert 9-26-17

URGENT: Your calls are needed TODAY to protect Michigan’s sandhill cranes from recreational hunting!

A House Resolution, HR 154, has just been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives that urges the state’s Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to authorize an open season on sandhill cranes. While this is a non-binding resolution, it signals to the NRC that powerful lobbying interests support the opening of annual statewide sandhill crane hunting seasons. HR 154 was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee, which could take it up for consideration at any time.

We must act now! Please make a brief, polite call to the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Gary Howell, at (517) 373-1800, to say that you would like the committee to vote NO on HR 154. You can say, “My name is _____________, and I am a Michigan resident. I would like the House Natural Resources Committee to vote NO on HR 154, which urges the opening of a recreational hunting season on sandhill cranes. Hunting sandhill cranes would serve no wildlife management purpose, will not protect agriculture crops, and could jeopardize the recovery of these iconic birds in our state.”

Other talking points:

·         The recreational hunting of sandhill cranes will not “protect crops” and is not backed by sound science. Non-lethal methods and products already exist to protect certain crops planted near prime wetland habitat from coming into
conflict with sandhill cranes, and Michigan farmers can obtain permits to lethally remove individual sandhill cranes when necessary.

·         The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has acknowledged a lack of sound scientific evidence that recreational hunting or other lethal means of removing sandhill cranes from nesting habitats near certain crops actually works to reduce conflict. More effective, non-lethal means are available.

·         Sandhill cranes are a vulnerable and recovering species at the northernmost breeding range of the Eastern Population, and were nearly wiped out in Michigan by the mid-20th century due to hunting and loss of habitat. Because of sound, scientific non-game conservation policy, Michigan’s breeding population of sandhill cranes has begun to stabilize and level out; opening up sandhill cranes to recreational hunting again could
jeopardize that stability  and progress that took several decades to accomplish. 

·         Sandhill cranes are worth much more to Michiganders alive than dead. Birdwatching is a major economic driver across the state, and each year thousands of visitors flock to “CraneFest,” a sandhill crane festival in southern Michigan, to view and enjoy this iconic species. What’s more, a new survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that
wildlife watchers outspend hunters nationwide by nearly 3 to 1. 

·         More
talking points and to learn more about sandhill cranes.

Thank you for making the call to protect Michigan’s sandhill cranes!