Tahquamenon Country, the area around Newberry, is a premiere destination for bird watching in Michigan. Tens of thousands of migrant birds travel through this area every spring and fall. The geology of this territory makes for a natural migrant corridor. Bird watchers have been viewing and documenting birds for years here in this great region. Birding lovers enjoy searching the sky for Spruce Grouse, Rough-legged Hawk, Jaegers, Great Gray Owls, Pileated Woodpeckers, Peregrine Falcons, along with many others. Several spots around us create the Superior Birding Trail.
Anchored by Whitefish Point Bird Observatory (WPBO) in the north and Seney National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR) in the south, this 150-mile trail guides you through rugged and rare ecosystems. WPBO is a global “Important Bird Area" and the number one owl migration location in the world. In Tahquamenon River country, birding stops include climax forests, peat bogs, pothole lakes and jack pine plains. SNWR is 95,000 acres of lakes, wetlands and forests made accessible by driving trails. Safely explore these remote areas with great opportunities for rare sightings.
The Tahquamenon Logging Museum is one mile north of Newberry on the west side of M-123. There is a nature trail and restroom, and a fee to enter buildings. Here, you’ll find water-associated birds including Wood Duck, Sandhill Cranes, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Yellow and Yellow Rumped Warbler. Greatcrested Flycatcher, Yellow Bellied Sapsucker and Hermit Thrush can also be found.
Skyline Road is seven miles north of Newberry on the east side of M-123. It is state land on both sides of Skyline Road 510. This area is noted for Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, Crossbills, and Pine Grosbeaks. Snipe and other water birds can be seen in the large adjacent bog complex. Palm and Yellow Rumped Warblers are often spotted here.
Camp 7 Road is 17 miles north of Newberry on the east side of M-123 — travel 2.4 miles east to enter state land on both sides of the road for two miles. This is one of the first places to see Forest Warblers including Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green and Blackburnian Warblers. Barred owls and Northern Saw-whet Owls are found here.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is 27 miles north of Newberry on the east side of M-123. Other than the famous Upper and Lower Falls, you’ll find nature trails, naturalists, restrooms, a brewery and pub, gift shop and camping (Lower Falls). There is an entrance fee or recreation passport sticker required to enter.
There are a multitude of habitats to explore! The Upper Tahquamenon Falls area offers a glimpse of Michigan's pre-settlement forests. This American beech, sugar maple, eastern hemlock and yellow birch old-growth forest encompasses 1,500 acres. In summer, songs of the Winter Wren, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Least Flycatcher, Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Red Eyed Vireo, wood thrush and veery fill the dense forest. This forest is also home to Barred and Saw-whet Owls, Northern Goshawk, Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, Pileated Woodpecker, Brown Creeper, Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches, Chimney Swift, Scarlet Tanager and Swainson's thrush.
The Lower Falls area offers a variety of birding opportunities, too. Along the "Mainland Trail," a ¾-mile boardwalk through a narrow conifer lowland, river edge songbirds mingle with hardwood dwellers. Summer residents include American Redstart, Northern Water thrush, Mourning Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo and Scarlet Tanager. Bald Eagles fish the rapids below the falls early in the morning. In the evenings, common nighthawks swoop up emerging insects in mid air! Other species common in and around the pool below the Lower Falls include the Red-breasted and Common Mergansers, Great Blue Heron, Spotted Sandpiper, Belted Kingfisher, Osprey and Northern Rough-winged Swallow.
Clark Lake/Tahquamenon Natural Area is just north of the Upper Falls entrance on the west side of M-123. The one-mile, two-track road to Clark Lake follows pine ridges along the edges of black spruce swamps and bogs. Be sure to look for Spruce Grouse along the way. Clark Lake trail is accessed at the end of the road where Palm Warbler, Pine Warbler, White-throated and Lincoln's Sparrows, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Gray Jay and Black-backed Woodpecker may be seen. Sandhill Crane, Brewer's Blackbird, Rusty Blackbird and Connecticut Warblers also nest in this area.
Whitefish Point is just under 10 miles north of Paradise on Whitefish Point Road. Whitefish Point Bird Observatory has an observation platform, trails, naturalists and gift shop. Restrooms and a snack shop are across the parking lot. Of all the destinations on this trail, this is one of the most important spring flight corridors for raptors in North America and is the perfect place to observe migrating birds. Tens of thousands of Sharp Shinned, Cooper's, Rough-legged and Broad-winged Hawks; Peregrine Falcons, Kestrels and Merlins; Golden and Bald Eagles and other raptor species pass here annually during spring migration to their northern breeding grounds, and in the fall to their wintering grounds. The Whitefish Peninsula, a tapered promontory, juts into Lake Superior, welcoming the concentrations of hawks, owls, songbirds and a myriad of waterfowl. Whitefish Point Bird Observatory is a Globally Important Birding Area. Of the 409 species of birds accepted by the Michigan Bird Records Committee, more than 300 have been documented here!
Tahquamenon River Mouth is five miles south of Paradise on M-123. You have access to a boat launch, pit toilet and campground here. There are also several habitats for a variety of birds. In the winter, featured birds are Bald Eagles, Bohemian Waxwings and Northern Hawk Owls. In migration and summer, featured birds are LeContes Sparrow, Winter Wren and Merlin.
Hulbert Bog/Basnau Road is 19 miles east of the intersection of M-123 and M-28. South of Newberry, turn right on Basnau Road, drive 1/2 mile east and find state land on both sides of the road. There is an accessible portion of a large bog complex from Basnau Road. Winter visitors hope to see the Boreal Chickadee, Gray Jay, Northern Hawk Owl and Great Gray Owl starting in November. Pine Grosbeak, Pine Siskins and Redpolls are seen here. Woodpeckers and Nuthatches are common, too!
Erickson Center for the Arts Nature Trail is 22 miles southwest of Newberry. To get there, take M-28 west to County Road 135/ Manistique Lake Road through Curtis on Main Street to the top of the hill and turn right on Saw-Wa-Quato Street. This nature trail has restrooms in the Art Center only during business hours, a boat launch and pit toilet at the end of the road.
The woodland nature trail brings possibilities of Black-throated Green Warblers, Black-throated Blue Warblers, American Redstarts, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Hermit Thrush and Veery. In the summer, Manistique Lakes have Common Loons, Great Blue Herons, Forster Terns and Ring Billed Gulls. Many warblers, vireos and orioles are found at the nearby boat launches at the north and south lakes.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge is 32 miles from Newberry. To get there, take M-28 west to M-77 south and drive 4.8 miles to the refuge entrance. They have a visitor center, nature trails, restrooms, driving loops, guided seasonal tours, gift shop and nature programs.
This is a great place for a driving tour. Migrants begin to move in as soon as the ice melts in April. Hooded Mergansers display here and Trumpeter Swans nest here. Many species of birds inhabit the upland and wetland interface. The pool is a great place to find migrating shorebirds in early spring or in August. Migrating Warblers and Vireos are found here both during spring and fall migration. Wigeons, Gadwalls and Goldeneyes migrate through Seney. Many waterfowl and wading species nest here, too. Osprey and bald eagle are common sights at Seney, as well as Caspian, Common and Black Terns. Guided hikes will show you Yellon Rail. In the winter, look for wintering owls, Black-backed Woodpeckers, Gray Jays and Boreal Chickadees.
The Tahquamenon River area north of McMillan is 13.5 miles from Newberry. To get there, take M-28 west to County Road 415 and travel north 1.5 miles to the river. You’ll see a parking lot and boat launch. Several flycatchers are seen here including the Alder, Least, Yellow-bellied and Olive-sided flycatcher. Yellow Warbler and Common Yellowthroat are frequently spotted, too. Swainson's Thrush are found in adjacent uplands. Crossbills, Redpolls, Nuthatches and Chickadees can be seen here in the winter.
Kak's Lake is seven miles from Newberry. Take M-28 west, go south on M-117 and take the first right into the parking lot where there is a pit toilet and boat launch. This is a good place to view eagles that visit quite often. Short-eared Owls have been seen in the nearby Alder/Sedge complex. Spotted Sandpipers often nest on the western shore. Many warblers are seen around this lake in the conifer and shrub edge. The Northern Saw-whet Owl has been seen here around December. Many migrating species stop off here!
From downtown Newberry, take west McMillan Avenue which becomes Dollarville Road/ County Road 405 for 1.8 miles, turn right onto Natalee Road and go 1.7 miles to the end. There is a parking lot, pit toilet, campground and boat launch. The Dollarville Flooding offers a mix of lowland aspen, spruce and open water marsh. Nashville, Magnolia and Chestnut-sided Warbler, Common Yellow-throat and American Redstart are often seen here. Waterfowl and shorebirds include American Bittern, Sora, Pied Billed Grebe, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Blue Winged and Green Winged Teal and others. Sedge Wrens and Savannah Sparrows can be found here, too, and Merlins, Bald eagles and Osprey often nest here.
From downtown Newberry, go 1.5 miles south on M-123 and turn right on Hamilton Lake Road. This nature trail is walkable from town. The Trails take visitors through several habitats. Wood and Hermit Thrush are heard here. Woodland Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Several warblers (including Ovenbird, Yellow Rumped, American Redstart, Black-Throated Green, Black-Throated Blue and Nashville), Wood ducks, Mallards and Osprey all nest here.
As you can see, the choices are endless when it comes to bird watching in Tahquamenon Country regardless of when you visit! Plan your trip today to experience these species in person.