Detroit Bird City is a program that Detroit Audubon’s Conservation Committee started in partnership with the City of Detroit, local community members, and others, to restore native bird habitat in disused city parks. The program is based on a strategy outlined in the City of Detroit’s 2017 Parks and Recreation Improvement Plan, where 19 city properties were designated to be transformed into “intentional meadows.” Detroit Bird City’s plan is to create meadows in five of those properties, the first was planted in Spring 2019 and the remainder are scheduled to be completed in Spring 2020.
The initial Detroit Bird City meadow is in Callahan Park, a two acre parcel on Detroit’s east side. This former dumping ground that consisted mainly of overgrown turf grass is now a beautiful wildflower meadows planted with 39 different kinds of flowers and 6 varieties of native grasses. Since the meadow has bloomed, several bird species have been spotted there, including the Indigo Bunting, American Goldfinch, Catbird, native sparrows and the Ring-necked Pheasant. Many Monarch butterflies have been observed at the site as well.
The Callahan community strongly supports the project and has been active in design, implementation and maintenance of the meadow. Local residents worked on the park cleanup, built a bulletin board for the park, participated in bird walks and constructed a bug hotel to provide shelter for insects.
We are planning to install the other four meadows in the spring of 2020 and are currently engaged with community members who live near those spaces and are making plans to start site prep for the next round of planting.