Attention birders: Nothing says spring like the “conk-a-ree” call of a red-winged blackbird or the raucous sounds of a sandhill crane, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources invites wildlife lovers to celebrate spring and explore Michigan’s Wetland Wonders with birding tours at several locations around the state.
If you’ll be a first-timer on these tours, prepare for plenty of company. Birding, as it’s called, is one of the fastest-growing hobbies in North America, with some 60 million Americans identifying themselves as bird-watchers.
Highlights of the birding tours may include diving and dabbling ducks in full breeding plumage, trumpeter and tundra swans, osprey, bald eagles, sandhill cranes and many others. DNR wildlife biologists and technicians and volunteers from Ducks Unlimited and Audubon clubs will lead the tours, which may include a “sneak peek” driving tour into refuge areas that normally are closed.
Upcoming birding tour dates and locations include:
• March 26 at 9 a.m. – St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area, 3857 Columbine Road, Harsens Island; 810-748-9504
• April 2 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. – Fish Point State Game Area, 7750 Ringle Road, Unionville; 989-674-2511
• April 2 at 9 a.m. – Maple River State Game Area, southwest corner of South Baldwin and Crapo roads in Washington Township, east of U.S. 127; 616-446-0555
• April 9 at 9 a.m. – Pointe Mouillee State Game Area, 37025 Mouillee Road, Rockwood; 734-379-9692
• April 9 at 9 a.m. – Muskegon County Wastewater Facility, 7600 East Messinger Road, Twin Lake; 231-788-5055
• April 16 at 9 a.m. – Shiawassee River State Game Area, 225 East Spruce St., St. Charles; 989-865-6211
• April 23 at 9 a.m. – Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area, 1570 Tower Beach Road, Pinconning; 989-697-5101
• April 23 at 9 a.m. – Manistee Marsh at the Manistee River State Game Area, on M-55, one-quarter mile southeast of U.S. 31 in Manistee County; 231-775-9727, ext. 6032
• April 23 at 9 a.m. – Houghton Lake Flats State Wildlife Management Area, north of M-55 on Old 27, one-quarter mile east of U.S. 127 in Roscommon County; 231-775-9727, ext. 6032
• April 30 at 9 a.m. – Fennville Farm Unit of the Allegan State Game Area, 6013 118th Ave., Fennville; 269-673-2430
For questions about any of the birding tours, please call the number, listed above, for the tour you are interested in.
Most tours will meet at the area’s headquarters building. Please dress for the weather and bring binoculars. Spotting scopes also are helpful for long-range viewing. The ground may be quite muddy and wet, so plan to wear boots.
These birding tours are part of the Michigan Waterfowl Legacy, a 10-year, cooperative partnership to restore, conserve and celebrate Michigan’s waterfowl, wetland and waterfowl hunting community. The initiative is a “call to action” to honor yesterday, engage today and build for tomorrow.
To learn more about Michigan’s Wetland Wonders, visit Michigan.gov/wetlandwonders