Spring birding tours on tap in Michigan

Trumpeter swans are one of the many species that might be spotted during the spring birding tours at Michigan’s Wetland Wonders. (Michigan DNR photo)

Nothing says spring like the “conk-a-ree” call of a red-winged blackbird or the raucous sounds of a sandhill crane.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources invites birdwatchers and other nature enthusiasts to celebrate spring and explore Michigan’s wetlands with a birding tour at one of the Wetland Wonders or Signature Wetlands around the state.

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. The tours – led by DNR Wildlife Division staff members, as well as volunteers from Ducks Unlimited and Audubon Clubs – may include a “sneak peek” driving tour into refuge areas that normally are closed.

The birding tours:

  • March 25 at 9 a.m. – St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area
    3857 Columbine Road on Harsens Island, 810-748-9504
  • April 1 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 1 at 9 a.m. – Shiawassee River State Game Area
    225 East Spruce St. in St. Charles, 989-865-6211
  • April 1 at 9 a.m. – Muskegon County Wastewater Facility
    Meet at the Muskegon State Game Area Office, 7600 E. Messinger Road in Twin Lake, 231-788-5055
  • April 8 at 10 a.m. – Fish Point State Game Area
    7750 Ringle Road in Unionville, 989-674-2511
  • April 8 at 9 a.m. – Pointe Mouillee State Game Area
    37025 Mouillee Road in Rockwood, 734-379-9692
  • April 8 at 9 a.m. – Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area
    1570 Tower Beach Road, Pinconning, 989-697-5101
  • April 15 at 9 a.m. – Houghton Lake Flats State Wildlife Management Area
    Meet at the gazebo, north of M-55 on Old 27, one-quarter mile east of U.S. 127 in Roscommon County, 231-775-9727, ext. 6032
  • April 29 at 8 a.m. – Fennville Farm Unit of the Allegan State Game Area
    6013 118th Ave. in Fennville, 269-673-2430

For questions about the birding tours, contact the appropriate office at the phone number listed above. 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.

Michigan’s Wetland Wonders are the seven premier Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas in the state: Fennville Farm Unit at the Allegan State Game Area (Allegan County), Fish Point State Wildlife Area (Tuscola County), St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area on Harsens Island (St. Clair County), Muskegon County Wastewater Facility (Muskegon County), Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area (Bay County), Pointe Mouillee State Game Area (Monroe and Wayne counties) and Shiawassee River State Game Area (Saginaw County). To learn more about Michigan’s Wetland Wonders, visit mi.gov/wetlandwonders.

Michigan’s Signature Wetlands are extensively managed wetland habitats with excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing, hunting and other wildlife-based recreation.

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