Inaugural Ann Redelfs Bird Count Honors a Life Lost Too Soon

The Ann Redelfs Bird Count is Happening Sept. 1 - 10 on the Grounds of Glensheen Mansion in Duluth

DULUTH, Minn – This year’s fall bird migration comes with a special meaning for one group of avid bird counters in the Northland.

Dozens will be turning their eyes to the sky with a special message for a friend who impacted so many and was taken too soon.

“It’s not the best day for birding, but they will come with it being fall,” said Barbara Akre, count participant.

Birds of a feather truly do flock together.

“We want to honor her,” said Cheryl Reiten, count participant. “Ann Redelfs was an amazing person.”

Many fine folks are soaring into September as they remember a life lost too soon.

The grounds of Glensheen Mansion, setting the stage for the inaugural Ann Redelfs Bird Count.

“She was so kind to me and so interested in me. I had no idea that she had this whole other life,” said Reiten.

Ann passed away on April 18, 2020. The sudden loss, striking those she impacted with great sadness.

“She had so many friends that were birders and were hikers, and many of them are elderly. They wanted to do something special, so we talked to Glensheen and they said, ‘let’s do a bird count,’ and we loved the idea,” said Reiten.

As the fall migration gets underway, the honorary ten-day event invites those who knew Ann, and those who didn’t to connect and converse while enjoying feathered friends, and the great outdoors.  

“We’re seeing chickadees, wrens, and sparrows,” said Reiten.

Both Reiten and Akre encourage everyone to come to participate in the ten-day event.

“The grounds, paths, and woods are so beautiful,” said Akre.

Having previously taught a class at UMD, Akre knows a thing or two about birding for beginners.

“Fall birding is a little bit more challenging. Colors change on the birds and they’re more difficult to spot,” said Akre.

With thick foliage and steady winds, those participating in the bird count will be busy documenting while keeping Ann’s passion alive.

“It’s right down on the lake which is what funnels the birds by Duluth and so it’s a good place to be,” said Akre.

The peace and tranquility on the grounds of Glensheen, providing the perfect place to rejuvenate.

“To honor Ann, we know for sure we’re going to plant a tree in her name on her birthday,” said Reiten.

From new trees to migration totals, both Reiten and Akre know their friend is smiling down as her legacy lives on.

“She was much more I understand than just a birder. She was highly interested in conserving natural resources and supporting efforts to mitigate climate change,” said Akre. “I learned a lot about her through this event, and that in itself was fun.”

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson will declare Ann’s birthday, Sept. 13, as Ann Redelfs Day.

If you would like to take part in the fall bird count in honor of Ann, the grounds of Glensheen will be free for you to enter.

The event runs 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. until Thursday, Sept. 10.

Additional Information:

Entries should include: 

A) Name. Address, phone number, email is optional  

B) Glensheen Station (1-13)

C) Time of day and date

D) Bird sighted

E) Comments

Visitors can drop off their list at the Glensheen Carriage House or email it to Francis Heid, francisheidjr@gmail.com.

On Sept. 13, the results of the bird count will be posted at Glensheen and on the Spirit of Ann Redelfs (SOAR) Facebook page.

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