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Robin to be Replaced as State Bird?

Andrew Norton

With all the work that must be done to shore up the Michigan economy and balance the 2006 budget our state lawmakers seem to think they need to take the time to decide on a new state bird. The robin was adopted as our state bird in 1931 by a resolution that supposedly expired decades ago. Sen. Patty Birkholzk, R-Saugatuck, introduced a bill to replace the robin with the Kirtland's warbler. According to the bill, the Kirtland's warbler would make a better state bird as Michigan is the main North American home of the bird. Connecticut and Wisconsin already claim the robin as their state bird in addition to Michigan. No other state has the Kirtland's warbler as their state bird.

Now another bird, the chickadee, has been raised as a possibility by Rep. Matt Gillard, D-Alpena. Gillard has introduced a bill to make the chickadee Michigan's state bird. However, the chickadee isn't found only in Michigan nor would Michigan be the only state with that as our state bird. Maine and Massachusetts already claim the chickadee as their state bird.

All of our state promotional items and textbooks would need to be replaced less they be outdated and wrong if we were to replace the robin with one of the two challengers. According to Birkholz, the resolution to adopt the robin as our “best known and best loved” bird expired a few years after it's adoption and was not renewed.

My thought is this – even if the resolution was not renewed to keep the robin our state bird do we really need to waste time and taxpayer money changing it? I don't think changing our state bird will improve our economy, fund our schools, or create new jobs. Just my $.02.