Top 5 Birding Trails in Wisconsin

By John Hill
Special to

Wisconsin is a spectacular place to bird-watch, from loons on a northern lake in summer to bald eagles above the Wisconsin River in winter, to the great spring and fall migrations of swans, cranes, geese and others. More than 300 species have been sighted at the U.S. Coast Guard impoundment on the shores of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee.

Here are five great places to train your binoculars on the skies:

Horicon National Wildlife Refuge – Mayville

The largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States brings in 268 species of waterfowl, including once-scarce American white pelicans. Some 100,000 to 200,000 Canada geese stop here each fall.

Wyalusing State Park – Bagley

This park at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers is a great place to see migrating birds of the Mississippi flyway. Bald eagles soar over the rivers. It also attracts birds normally found much farther south, like the cerulean warbler and Acadian flycatcher.

Devil’s Lake State Park – Baraboo

The thick forest and ravines of this state park and preserves in the Baraboo Hills are nesting areas for 105 species. A total of 220 species have been recorded here, among them 14 species of warblers -- including the rare worm-eating warbler -- barred owls, ruffed grouse, and four species of woodpeckers.

Harrington Beach State Park – Belgium

This park with a mile of Lake Michigan shoreline has attracted 257 different species. When the wind is right, it’s an excellent place to watch migrating hawks, falcons, and other raptors in the fall.

George W. Mead Wildlife Area – Milladore

This site near Milladore mixes hardwood forest and open marsh. Birders have counted 267 bird species here. It’s one of the best places in the state to see the greater prairie chicken.

For more information on birding sites, check out the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail.

This entry was posted in Things to Do Outdoor Fun Birding