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Wisconsin Birding Hotspots

( Click County Name to see where attraction is located )

Statewide Birding Report as of August 28, 2014

Though shorebirds have been migrating for a couple months now, and are past their peak in both numbers and diversity, land bird migration got underway in earnest this week with 18-plus species of warblers reported in the north and 12-plus in the south. Among them were the first bay-breasted, blackpoll, and yellow-rumped warblers from the boreal forest, as well as Swainson's thrush, dark-eyed junco, and various flycatchers. Backyard favorites such as ruby-throated hummingbird, Baltimore oriole, and scarlet tanager were also on the move to tropical wintering grounds. Shrubby and edge-filled woodlots are excellent habitats to scour this time of year, especially when associated with water or fruiting trees and shrubs. Many birders also noted common nighthawks darting overhead at dusk this week. This should continue over the next one to two weeks so keep an eye to the sky for these acrobatic birds as daylight wanes. Likewise, chimney swifts are staging at fall roost sites and concentrations of the birds should be reported to eBird at www.ebird.org/wi. Shorebird migration isn't over and recent rains have replenished a number of sites that were good in mid-summer but had dried out since. Keep an eye out for yellowlegs, pectoral sandpipers, sanderlings, plovers and other late season favorites. Several piping plovers and whimbrels were also seen. In addition, the first parasitic jaeger of the season was reported at its typical Wisconsin Point hotspot in Douglas County. Other rare birds spotted this week include snowy egret and tricolored heron at Horicon Marsh, rufous hummingbird in Dodge County, eared grebe in Lafayette, western grebe in Forest, and up to six white-faced ibis in Winnebago, where the presence of several food-begging juvenile birds is suggestive of the state's first-ever breeding evidence for this western species. Be sure to get out and enjoy the fall migration in the months ahead! - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland

WI DNR in cooperation with the Cornell University ebird.org/content/wi program.
Copyright © 2014 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Used by permission.

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Wisconsin Birding Hotspots

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1000 Islands Environmental Center
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Avon Bottoms
Chequamegon Bay
Chequamegon National Forest
Crex Meadows Wildlife Area
Ellwood H May Environmental Park
Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve
Great Horicon Marsh
Havenwoods State Forest
Hawthorne Hollow Nature Sanctuary & Arboretum
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area
Horicon National Wildlife Refuge
Hunt Hill Nature Center & Audubon Sanctuary
Internationl Crane Foundation
Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy
L H Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve
Mack Wildlife Area
Marsh Haven Nature Center
Navarino State Wildlife Area
Necedah National Wildlife Refuge
Nicolet National Forest
North Lakeland Discovery Center
Oconto Marsh Refuge
Quincy Bluff and Wetlands
Riveredge Nature Center
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
Schmeeckle Reserve
Thunder Marsh Wildlife Area
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge
Wisconsin Point
Woodland Dunes Nature Center

1000 Islands Environmental Center
Information: Call 920-766-4733.
This 300-acre refuge along the Fox River in the city of Kaukauna is a Conservancy Zone and is home to nesting eagles, great blue herons, black crowned night herons, owls, bitterns, teal, coots, ducks, mergansers, resident and migratory song birds. The nature center houses a collection of both North American and African/Asian animals. More than 300 specimens are on display. No admission charged. Open Mon-Fri 8-4, and Sat and Sun 10 am-3:30 pm. Naturalist on-duty at the Center 8-4 daily.
Outagamie County
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Information: Call 715-779-3397.
Located in Lake Superior just off the tip of the Bayfield Peninsula. More than 240 species of birds breed and/or migrate through this archipelago of twenty-two pristine islands. Park rangers staff several visitor centers on a daily basis from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Ashland County
Avon Bottoms
Information: Call the DNR wildlife manager at 608-868-7274.
1,600 acres of Wisconsin DNR land along the Sugar River near the town of Avon, (between Beloit and Janesville in south-central Wisconsin). The site is primitive but has a wide range of habitats including prairie, swamp and oak savannah.
Rock County
Chequamegon Bay
Information: Call 715-682-2500 or 800-284-9484.
Located of the south shore of Lake Superior near Ashland, the Chequamegon Bay region has a wide variety of waterfowl habitat concentrated in a small area. Waterfowl, warblers and shorebirds in spring; snowy owls and bohemian waxwings in winter.
Ashland County
Chequamegon National Forest
Information: Call 715-762-2461 or 715-762-5701 (TTY)
The Chequamegon National Forest cover 858,400 acres in northwestern Wisconsin. More than 225 species have been sighted in the Chequamegon, including migrating tundra swans, eagles, osprey, ruby crowned kinglets, indigo buntings and rufous-sided towhees. 200 miles of trails, wildlife viewing platforms, interpretive exhibits and trail guides bring this seasonal display into focus. (Since 1993, Chequamegon and Nicolet National Forest have been managed as one, with headquarters offices in both Park Falls and Rhinelander.)
Ashland County, Bayfield County, Sawyer County, Price County, Taylor County
Crex Meadows Wildlife Area
Information: Call 715-463-2739 or 715-463-2896.
This state owned 30,000-plus acre complex of marsh, woodlands and prairies is located in Burnett County north of Grantsburg at the intersection of County D and F. Crex Meadows features colonies of nesting herons, double-crested cormorants, breeding osprey and sharp-tailed grouse.
Burnett County
Ellwood H May Environmental Park
Information: Call 920-459-3906.
The park is 120 acres with diverse habitats consisting of a restored prairie, wetlands, Pigeon River corridor, coniferous and deciduous forests--with bird watching being one of our top park activities. Our site was recently listed in a survey by the Sheboygan Press as the #1 wildlife viewing location in Sheboygan County.
Sheboygan County
Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve
Information: Call 920-731-6041.
This 775-acre white cedar swamp located on County Highway A north of Appleton offers a variety of woodland species including great horned owls, pileated woodpeckers, yellow-bellied sapsuckers warblers, herons, cranes, Cooper's hawks, harriers, Canada geese, migrating ducks and shorebirds. Naturalist on-duty at the Preserve Center Tues-sat 8-4:30 and Sun 12:30-4:30 pm.
Outagamie County
Great Horicon Marsh
Located northeast of Beaver Dam in Dodge and Fond du Lac Counties, Wisconsin's Great Horicon Marsh is known worldwide for its tremendous spring and fall concentrations of Canada geese with the fall migration being the most spectacular.

The northern two-thirds of the marsh (21,142 acres) is owned by the federal government and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The southern third is owned by the Sate of Wisconsin and managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

A two-hour, rookery tour of Wisconsin's largest heron and egret rookery is offered May-September by Blue Heron Tours of Horicon, phone 920-485-4663.
Dodge County

Havenwoods State Forest
This urban forest is 237 acres of diverse habitats consisting of a restored native prairie, wetlands, deciduous forests -- bird watching is very popular. Sightings include great blue herons, sandhill cranes, kestrels, flycatchers and sandpipers. Also great for dragonflies and butterflies.
Call 414-527-0232. E-mail Judy.Klippel@wi.gov
6141 N Hopkins St, (one block west of Sherman Blvd.) Milwaukee, Milwaukee County

Hawthorne Hollow Nature Sanctuary & Arboretum
Information: Call 262-552-8196.
Forty acres of woodland, prarie and a 12-acre arboretum in a natural "hollow" accented by bluffs, Pike Creek, and a small fen (swamp) located at 880 Green Bay Road in Kenosha. See a variety of exotic trees, shrubs and birds including warblers, herons, owls, hawks, ducks and pheasants.
Kenosha County
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area
Information: Call 920-387-7860.
The state-owned southern third of the march is open to the public. Canoe rentals are available nearby. A 1-1/2 mile hiking trail loop affords opportunities for bird observation. Other marsh-associated birds and mammals are common. Naturalist programs offered spring and fall.
Dodge County
Horicon National Wildlife Refuge
Information: Call 920-387-2658.
More than 300 species of birds have been sighted on the march. This federally-managed portion includes a 6-mile trail system open year-round for hiking, wildlife observation and cross-country skiing in winter; and a 3.2 mile auto tour route open April 15 to September 15. Stop at the Visitor Center to see the new exhibits, shop at Coots Corner, pick up free posters, maps and information. Accessible for persons with disabilities.
Dodge County
Hunt Hill Nature Center & Audubon Sanctuary
Information: Call 715-635-6543.
A 500-acre wildlife sanctuary with wooded, glacial hills, three clear lakes, old-growth forest, prarie and northern bogs. Located ten miles south of Spooner; twenty miles north of Rice Lake. See nesting osprey and loons as well as many other species. Guided walks, cabin rental and environmental programs. Center open daily, 9-5.
Washburn County
International Crane Foundation
Information: Call 608-356-9462.
Dedicated to the protection and preservation of cranes and their wetland homes, the Foundation has the most complete collection of the fifteen crane species in the world. Newly-hatched chicks, breeding pod, habitat tours, video presentation, gift shop, self-guided and guided tours offered May 1-October 31.
E11376 Shady Lane Rd, Baraboo, Sauk County
Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy
Information: Call the Fontana Public Library, at 414-275-5107.
A 230-acre natural area near Williams Bay on the northwest shore of Geneva Lake. See migrating waterfowl including coots, grebes, many species of ducks and Canada geese.
Walworth County
L H Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve
Information: Call 920-448-4466.
A 925-acre wildlife management area located 3 miles north of Green Bay. Six miles of hiking and ski trails tour the preserve which is located on the west shore of Green Bay. It features waterfowl and wetland birds. Facilities include a nature center with restrooms and outdoor picnic areas. Trails open daily sunrise to sunset, year-round. Interpretive Center open Mon-Fri 9 am-4 pm, Sat and Sun noon-4 pm.
Brown County
Mack Wildlife Area
Located 2-1/2 miles west of Black Creek on Hwy 54 and Bishkoff road. The 1,829-acre Mack State Wildlife Area is one of several public areas totaling more than 10,000 acres in northwest Outagamie County. the newly-created 500-acre wildlife observation area is one of the few areas in the state where migrating swans can be seen along with Canada geese, ducks and shore birds.
Outagamie County
Marsh Haven Nature Center
Information: Call 920-386-2182.
Located on Highway 49 just east of Waupun, this 38-acre parcel on the northern edge of the marsh is dedicated to research, rehabilitation and education. Observation tower, picnic shelter, amphitheater, nature center with museum displays and exhibits, trail system, pond, and a gift shop. Adjacent to the Wild Goose State Trail.
Dodge County
Navarino State Wildlife Area
Information: Call 715-526-4226.
Located about thirty miles west of Green Bay and seven miles south of Shawano, this wetlands area was once part of a glacial lake bed formed 12,000 years ago. Birds include a resident population of sandhill cranes, black terns, wood ducks, mallards and yellow-headed blackbirds.
Shawano County
Necedah National Wildlife Refuge
Information: Call 608-565-2551.
The refuge is located in Juneau County near Necedah in the state's sand counties. Visit the area to see the sandhill crane and waterfowl concentrations in fall, both bald and golden eagles, as well as wild turkeys in winter, and shorebirds and songbirds in spring.
Juneau County
Nicolet National Forest
Information: Call 715-362-1300 or 715-362-1383 (TTY).
Covering 661,400 acres in northeastern Wisconsin, the Nicolet National Forest provides abundant habitat for a wide variety of species. In just one area alone, the annual bird survey has counted approximately 235 different species in the northern most part of Oconto County. Rare species in the forest include the boreal chickadee, gray jay, northern tree-toed woodpecker, spruce grouse and sandhill crane. The abundance of lakes attracts bald eagles, common loons and ospreys. (Since 1993, Nicolet and Chequamegon National Forest have been managed as one, with headquarters offices in both Park Falls and Rhinelander.)
Florence County, Forest County, Langlade County, Oconto County, Oneida County, Vilas County
North Lakeland Discovery Center
Information: Call 715-543-2085.
Our Nature Center manages 63 acres and over 20 miles of trails within the Northern Highland State Forest in Vilas County (Northern Wisconsin). Our Center also has a very active bird club with over 60 members and regular birding outings.
Vilas County
Oconto Marsh Refuge
Information: Call 920-834-2255.
The Oconto Marsh Refuge is located just north of the City of Oconto on the west shore of Green Bay. Covering 4,000 acres, the march is one of the last remaining Great Lakes' wetlands. It is accessible by car on paved roads that make watching Forester Terns, eagles, raptors, herons, cranes and other marsh denizens both rewarding and comfortable. The march encompasses a state waterfowl sanctuary and a breeding fround for the yellow-headed blackbird.
Oconto County
Quincy Bluff and Wetlands
Information: Call the Madison office of the Nature Conservancy at 608-251-8140.
A 1,705-acre preserve located in Adams County owned by the non-profit The Nature Conservancy. The terrain is varied with bluffs, buttes and mesas. Pine forest and sedge meadows give way to tamarack swamps, bogs and wetlands. Bird species include northern tarrier hawks, turkey vultures and sandhill cranes.
Adams County
Riveredge Nature Center
Information: Call 262-675-6888. Milwaukee metro call 262-375-2715.
A 350-acre sanctuary located thirty miles north of Milwaukee between Saukville and West Bend. The Center is a breeding habitat for 67 species of birds with twelve miles of trails through prairies and woodlands along the Milwaukee River. Environmental Center open Monday-Friday from 8-5; Saturday and Sunday from noon-4.
Ozaukee County
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
Information: Call 414-352-2880.
A 225-acre sanctuary located just 20 minutes north of downtown Milwaukee on Lake Michigan, (exit I-43 at Brown Deer road, east). Located along the Lake Michigan migratory corridor, 250 species of birds have been recorded within the Center. Two ponds, ravines, woodlands and prairies provide habitat for hawks, ducks, owls, warblers, finches, falcons and many others. Interpretive Center open daily, except Mondays.
Milwaukee County
Schmeeckle Reserve
Information: Call, 715-346-4992.
Located on the north end of the UW-Stevens Point campus, this 217-acre reserve is a field station for the College of Natural Resources. The reserve's varied habitat is excellent for songbirds. Five miles of nature trails connect to 24 miles of trails in the city's greenway. The visitor's center houses the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame. Center hours are 10-5 Mon-Fri; noon-5 Sat and Sun.
Portage County
Thunder Marsh Wildlife Area
Information: Call 715-365-2632.
Located just off of Hwy 45, three miles north of Three Lakes, this 3,000-acre wildlife offers a rare opportunity to observe the birds of a spruce and tamarack forest, as well as many species of marsh birds and waterfowl. Resident birds include ruby crowned kinglets, yellow rails, hooded mergansers and kingfishers.
Oneida County
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge
The "Upper Miss" refuge extends nearly 260 miles and contains more than 200,000 acres of fish and wildlife habitat along the Mississippi River from Wabasha, Minnesota to Rock Island, Illinois. The refuge is the home or nesting area of some 270 species of birds. The Mississippi River Flyway is a major migration route that hosts spectacular seasonal flights of waterfowl including tundra swans, ducks and geese. The refuge offers a ready food supply to migrating warblers, vireos, thrushes and sparrows as well as raptors, herons and resident bald eagles. The La Crosse District of the refuge encompasses Pools 7 and 8 of the Mississippi River. Popular viewing spots along Wisconsin's portion of the refuge include Wyalusing State Park near Prairie du Chien, Lake Onalaska, the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge, and Lake Pepin near Stockholm.
Crawford County, Vernon County, La Crosse County, Trempealeau County, Buffalo County
Wisconsin Point
Information: Call 715-394-0270.
At the extreme west end of Lake Superior, this long sand spit protects the city of Superior's harbor. The Point's location at the intersection of marsh, lake and woodland makes it one of the best migrant bird areas in the state in spring (May) and fall (September). The Point is one of the best locations in the state to observe extreme rarities such as the piping plover, parasitic jaeger and Cassin's kingbird.
Douglas County
Woodland Dunes Nature Center
Information: Call 920-793-4007.
Located on Hwy 310 just west of Two Rivers, this 991-acre reserve offers a variety of birding opportunities including ten species of warblers in summer. The Center includes marsh, meadow, forest, swamp and prairie habitats, as well as 6 miles of nature trails. The Visitor Center is normally open 8-3 weekends and 8-11 on Saturdays, but call ahead for confirmation.
Manitowoc County

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