Among some of Wisconsin’s most unique and nature-focused activities is bird watching. In fact, many researchers and bird enthusiasts actually flock to the state to admire the eclectic mix of bird species that can be observed all across Wisconsin. Here are five of the best birding hotspots to visit.
Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve
The Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve features more than 900 acres of forest, meadows, wetlands and nearly nine miles of hiking trails that are located just north of Green Bay. Bird feeders located behind the West Shores Interpretive Center have been known to host American tree sparrows and a variety of finches. For more information, visit www.browncountywi.gov.
Located in Grantsburg, Crex Meadows is a 30,000-acre complex of wetlands, flowages and forest that lies north of Grantsburg. More than 270 species have been seen in the state-owned wildlife area, including rarities like burrowing owl and western kingbird. For more information, visit www.crexmeadows.org.
Sandhill Wildlife Area
The Sandhill Wildlife Area near Babcock is regarded as the staging hotspot for sandhill cranes in the state. Every day, more than a thousand cranes arrive each evening after feeding in the adjacent fields located throughout central Wisconsin’s Wood County. Visitors can see a variety of ducks, cranes and so much more all via the wildlife area’s observation tower. For more information, visit www.dnr.wisconsin.gov.
Schlitz Audubon Center
Located just 15 minutes north of downtown Milwaukee on the shore of Lake Michigan is the Schlitz Audubon Center—a 185-acre sanctuary that features ponds, woodlands, and prairies, plus nearly six miles of hiking trails. Bird watches can look for redheads, ring-necked ducks, common goldeneyes and western grebe. For more information, visit www.schlitzaudubon.org.
Some of the best birding opportunities in the state occur at this sand spit in March—which serves as a rest stop for songbirds and shorebirds that fly through the area during migration. During prime weather conditions—particularly for the bird watchers, rather than the actual bird—visitors can catch a glimpse of everything from bald eagles and glaucous gulls to raptors and summer shorebirds. For more information, visit www.ci.superior.wi.us/226/Wisconsin-Point.