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Bird watching (or bird watching as it’s commonly called) isn’t a new hobby. Humans have pursued bird watching for more than a century, and its appeal is growing. Today, there are more than 15 million bird watchers in the United States, with significant growth over the past few years.
So the need to find the best birding spots is increasing, but Michigan residents and visitors will be spoiled for choice this summer. The summer bird watching time in this area is June and July, which corresponds to the nesting and breeding season. August is the start of the fall migration season. So, here are our top spots for summer birding in Michigan.
If you’re new to bird watching, this is a great place to start! Beaver Island, the largest island in Lake Michigan, is a great place for bird watching all year round. You’ll be able to spot its own resident species, including chickadees, woodpeckers and grouse. In summer, many migratory birds stay to nest during the summer breeding season. Because the island is so large, there are multiple trails and even boat tours, giving you plenty of options for viewing spots in different habitats.
Novice birders may appreciate the handy map that gives the location of viewpoints that combine road observation points and trails. There are also detailed descriptions of what you can see on each site.
In summer, the meadows flanking the driveway on the east side of the Big Bend are especially good for spotting meadow birds such as the Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and several species of sparrows that prefer to forage for insects here. Another summertime favorite is Cable’s Creek Road, also known as Warbler Lane because it attracts many different species of warblers that will nest during the summer months.
If you need or want to spot birds from your vehicle, head to Seney National Wildlife Refuge. Start at the visitor center, where there are helpful staff who can explain where the best attractions are. Then, check out the observation deck, where in summer you can watch osprey nest. Adults typically return to the same nesting sites each year. If you’re lucky, you might even see one in the nest.
Then, head to Marshland Wildlife Drive, where you’re likely to spot a variety of trumpeter swans, common loons, sandhill cranes and even bald eagles.
If you decide to get out of the car and hike around the shelter, be aware that you’ll need to protect yourself from the biting insects that are also very active this time of year. Watch out for black flies, deer flies, ticks and mosquitos.
Hartwick Pines State Park has 49 acres of native pine forest and 21 miles of trails. There’s also a visitor center and logging museum if you want to take a break outdoors. However, the real draw of this birding spot is that you can spot one of the rarest birds in the world. Once endangered, the Kirtland warbler is listed on the National List of Threatened Species despite a recent upturn in fortunes. These prized birds are sometimes called jack pine warblers because they breed almost exclusively in jack pine forests.
As this warbler is highly protected, you cannot see it yourself. However, in early and mid-summer, you can join a 20-person guided tour to the protected pine barrens. The success rate for spotting this very special bird is high, but of course there are no guarantees.
Lake Huron It is the second largest of the five Great Lakes, covering an area of 23,000 square miles. The stunning Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Refuge is part of the Saginaw Bay coastline. Here you will find a wide variety of birds. These include the smallest brine, which is one of the smallest herons in North America, and the American brine. You can also expect to see Caspian and Foster terns, Sura and Virginia terns, common moor pheasants and black-crowned night herons.
During the summer months, you’ll also see breeding colonies of yellow-headed blackbirds, which are usually found further east. There is even a nesting pair of bald eagles in the area.
If you love the sound of birdsong, this is one of the best places for bird watching. Many of them nest in marshes, including song sparrows and marsh sparrows (which look similar), marsh and sedge wrens, warblers and the common yellowthroat (a small bird with a bright yellow breast). Migratory and waterfowl can also be seen in summer.
This may seem like the last place on your mind, and the last place you want to go bird watching, but think again! The Muskegon County Wastewater Treatment System is a well-recognized place in Michigan to spot some fantastic birds. It is one of the largest (if not the largest) wastewater treatment facilities in the United States, with 11,000 acres of sedimentation ponds. These are surrounded by open fields, making them ideal habitats for many waterfowl. You can expect to see plenty of herons, ducks, shorebirds and gulls, so you won’t waste this visit. During the summer months, you can also rarely see eared planthoppers.
If you decide to venture into the nearby fields, you will be in the habitat of the Rough-legged Eagle, Black-bellied Plover, American Golden Plover, Horned Skylark, American Pipit and Lappish Long-spined Plover. If you’re lucky, you might spot a golden eagle or bald eagle feeding on the area’s abundant waterfowl. Please note that you must obtain permission from the Administration Building prior to entering the facility, but you can arrange these in advance by phone.
The Allegan State Game Area is well known for catching glimpses of migrating birds in the spring and fall, but it also has a lot to offer summer birders.
This is a large natural area of over 50,000 acres, offering deciduous forest and farmland habitats, but also swamps and swamps.all of these, together with
The riparian woodlands that border the Kalamazoo River provide a diverse environment that offers a wealth of birding opportunities and locations.
In the summer, you can use hiking trails to reach these sites, or go bird watching on the Kalamazoo River by canoe. Nonetheless, please respect the sections that are closed to tourists to protect wildlife.
Summer offers you a great variety of birds. You’ll see native warblers and large numbers of yellow-billed cuckoos that thrive along the river. You may also spot Acadian flycatchers, blue-gray gnats, red-eyed purple buntings, sky-blue warblers, redstarts and more.
Otis Farm Bird Sanctuary is adjacent to the Barry State Game Area, which is an important breeding habitat for some species. Why not access both? The Barrie State Game Area consists of 2,000 acres, mostly mature oak-hickory forests. However, the Otis Farm Preserve is much smaller at only 128 acres. Despite its small size, it has a rich variety of habitats, including marshes, rolling fields, mature forests, pothole swamps, and some springs.
So, what are you looking forward to seeing in the summer? Keep an eye out for red-headed woodpeckers, woodpeckers and grasshopper sparrows. You’re also more likely to see warblers, Henslow sparrows and sandhill cranes. There are also some birds of prey that visit this habitat. If you’re lucky, you might spot a bald eagle or an osprey.
Bird Watching in Michigan
So, as you can see, Michigan has many spectacular birding locations that can be enjoyed outside of the main fall and spring migration seasons. This is largely due to a series of protected areas and a wide variety of protected habitats. There’s something for both beginners and seasoned birders alike, and you can spot our feathered friends from a car, on foot, or even from a canoe!
Ten Birding Hotspots in Michigan – Birdwatcher’s Digest Visited August 2022
Birding Trails in Michigan – Michigan Audubon Network August 2022
Bird watching is a popular outdoor pastime – US State Parks
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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