Michigan is an absolute birders' paradise. Our huge tracts of hardwoods are home to many upland game birds, diurnal raptors, and cavity nesters; our marshes support many waterfowl species and passerines; and our beaches invite many shorebirds and waders. Michigan's diverse habitat is home to roughly 414 species of avifauna. Michigan also has more public/state owned land than any other state in the U.S. so that adds up to many places to bird:
- Michigan has 90 state parks, six state forests, three national forests and three national parks.
- Michigan has more freshwater coastline than any other state.
- Stand anywhere in Michigan and you are within 85 miles of one of the Great Lakes. (The Great Lakes account for one-fifth of the world's surface freshwater supply.) You are never more than six miles from a lake or stream in Michigan.
Nearly the entire world population of Kirtland's Warbler nests in Michigan's jack pine forests.
Birds you can see here include:
Areas of Interest
The Upper Peninsula is a place truly rich in bird life, with a good mix of boreal birds as well as many species at the northern or eastern extremes of their ranges. Following are a few sites in the UP well worth visiting for any serious birder.
- Sault Ste. Marie on the Canadian border is one of the best spots in the lower 48 to see far northern species like the Gyrfalcon, Snowy Owl, and Northern Hawk-Owl.
- Whitefish Point is located in the northeastern UP. It is the best spot in the Upper midwest for viewing migration. In the spring huge flocks of raptors and waterfowl pass by here. Rarities such as the Boreal Owl and jaegers are occassionally seen as well.
- Seney National Wildlife Refuge is in the eastern UP. Consisting of large amounts of wetlands such as ponds, bogs, and Sedge Meadows, Seney is a haven for birds. Here Bald Eagle, Osprey and loons seem almost common. Much sought after species such as Le Conte's Sparrow and Yellow Rail occur here as well.
- The endangered Kirtland's Warbler, a bird that formally only inhabited the Lower Peninsula is now found in the UP as well. Although still rare, there are now a few Jack Pine forests near Gwinn and Rapid River that have hosted a few of the warblers for a few years now.
- One site not covered in a lot of books is the city of Marquette. In the summer Merlin and other birds of prey like Northern Goshawk breed here and in the winter rare gulls and owls can be seen in the lower harbor.
quoted from: Birding in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
During the autumn months, the skies over southeast Michigan are alive with tens of thousands of hawks, eagles, falcons, and other birds of prey.
In the fall of 1983, the Lake Erie Metropark Hawk Watch began recording this fall hawk migration over Lake Erie Metropark and Pointe Mouillee State Game Area. Incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1998 under a new name, Southeastern Michigan Raptor Research (SMRR) continues to monitor one of the largest hawk migration corridors in the western hemisphere. (quoted from:) Southeastern Michigan Raptor Research Website
Here are a few links to our favorite local areas:
- Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area
- Tawas Point State Park
- Tuttle Marsh Wildlife Area
- Rifle River Recreation Area
and here are some others listed by county:
- Alcona County: Negwegon State Park
- Allegan County: Outdoor Discovery Center
- Alpena County: Squaw Bay
- Antrim County: Jordan Valley, Grass River Natural Area
- Bay County: Bay City State Park, Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area
- Berrien County: Grand Mere State Park
- Charlevoix County: Sportsman's Park, East Jordan Settling Ponds, Fisherman's Island State Park
- Chippewa County: Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, Hulbert Bog
- Emmet County: Wilderness State Park, Walloon Lake
- Gratiot County: Maple River SGA
- Ionia County: Lakewood Wastewater Ponds, Ionia Recreation Area
- Iosco County: Tawas Point State Park
- Jackson County: Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center
- Kalkaska County: Skegemog Pathway
- Leelanau County: Suttons Bay Village W.T.P, Leelanau State Park
- Manistee County: Arcadia Marsh, Red Bridge Area MNF
- Marquette County: Presque Isle Bog Walk
- Mason County: Ludington Wastewater Facility
- Midland County: Chippewa Nature Center, Kawkawlin River Flooding
- Monroe County: Pointe Mouillee
- Muskegon County: Muskegon Wastewater Facility
- Oakland County: Heritage Park, Kensington Metro Park, W.B. Woods Nature Preserve, Douglas Evans Nature Preserve
- Oceana County: Pentwater River and Channel
- Ottawa County: DeGraaf Nature Center, Window-on-the-Waterfront
- Presque Isle County: Thompson Harbor State Park, Ocqueoc Falls Pathway, P.H. Hoeft State Park, NettieBay Lodge, Black Mountain Forest R.A.
- Roscommon County: Higgins/Houghton Lake area
- Saginaw County: Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
- Schoolcraft County: Seney National Wildlife Refuge
- Washtenaw County: Mallets Creek, Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center, Nichols Arboretum
- Wayne County: Crosswinds Marsh
Content and images originally posted by Steve
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