Ultimate Birding in Wisconsin: With Cheese and Beer?

This is the first of what I hope will be 50 articles on birding in each state of the United States. I’m starting with birding in Wisconsin because it’s my home state. I’ve lived here all my life except for a handful of years in Nebraska.

UPDATE: All 50 just isn’t going to happen. There are half a dozen of these articles here for the Midwest. You’ll have to look elsewhere for the other states.

Robin – Wisconsin state bird

Photo Credit

To many people, Wisconsin is primarily known for cheese (also cheeseheads) and beer. (There’s at least one tavern in virtually every town, large and small.) Wisconsin is also known as the Dairy State.

It may come as a surprise to you then that Wisconsin is also a wonderful state for birding. There are hundreds of species located there. Some, such as cranes, even have a special place that you can read about below.

Highlights of our Wisconsin tour will include the following topics and more.

  • The Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail
  • Horicon Marsh
  • International Crane Foundation
  • The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II

If you decide to try birding in Wisconsin, you can find many places to drive or hike – with or without the cheese and beer. If you’re still playing Pokemon Go, I’m sure you can pick up a few new characters along the way too.

You’ll want your binoculars for the birds, not so much for the Pokemon.

Where Is the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail?

A better question might be this: “Where isn’t the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail?”

That’s because it covers special sites all over the state. Every one of the 72 counties, which are divided into 5 geographic regions, are represented in the list of 364 (almost one for every day of the year) waypoints below. There are signs featuring the Sandhill Crane trail logo to mark specific sites along the trail.

Here are all the waypoints by county (listed alphabetically) within each of the five regions along with a link to more details at the main Trail site. Virtually, if not actually, every Wisconsin state park is mentioned in this list.

Clicking the regional heading will take you to a map of that area.

Lake Superior / North Woods

Ashland County
1. Copper Falls State Park, Mellen
2. Day Lake, Clam Lake
3. Fish Creek Slough, Ashland
4. Mineral Lake, Mellen

Barron County
5. Bear Lake Sedge Meadow State Natural Area, Haugen
6. Hemlock Creek Segment-Ice Age Trail, Birchwood
7. Loon Lake State Wildlife Area, Turtle Lake
8. New Auburn State Wildlife Area, New Auburn
9. Yellow River State Fishery Area, Cumberland

Bayfield County
10. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Bayfield
11. Bark Bay Slough State Natural Area, Herbster
12. Big Bay State Park, La Pointe, Madeline Island
13. Marengo Overlook, Grand View/Clam Lake
14. Moquah Barrens Wildlife Area, Iron River
15. Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, Ashland
16. Port Wing Boreal Forest State Natural Area, Port Wing
17. Rock Lake Trail, Cable/Clam Lake

Burnett County
18. Amsterdam Sloughs State Wildlife Area, Siren
19. Big Island Park, Danbury
20. Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area, Grantsburg
21. Brant Brook Pines State Natural Area & Governor Knowles State Forest, Grantsburg
22. Keizer Lake State Wildlife Area, Webster
23. Namekagon Barrens State Wildlife Area, Danbury

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane at Crex Meadows

Photo Credit

Douglas County
24. Belden Swamp State Natural Area, Moose Junction
25. Brule River State Forest, Brule
26. Douglas County State Wildlife Area, Solon Springs
27. Dwight’s Point & Pokegama Wetlands State Natural Area, Superior
28. Gordon Dam Park, Gordon
29. Pattison State Park, Superior
30. Wisconsin Point, Superior

Florence County
31. Fox Maple Woods State Natural Area, Florence
32. Lost Lake Wilderness Area, Florence
33. Spread Eagle Barrens State Natural Area, Florence
34. Whisker Lake Wilderness Area, Florence

Forest County
35. Ed’s Lake National Recreation Trail, Wabeno
36. Franklin and Butternut Lakes Area, Eagle River
37. Giant White Pine Grove State Natural Area, Three Lakes
38. Knowles Creek Impoundment & Interpretive Trail, Wabeno
39. Wabikon and Riley Lakes, Laona

Iron County
40. Carpenter Creek/Saxon Harbor, Hurley
41. Lake Evelyn State Natural Area, Mercer
42. Little Turtle Flowage, Mercer
43. Penokee Iron Range & Gile Flowage, Hurley
44. Turtle Flambeau Flowage Scenic Waters Area, Mercer
45. Underwood State Wildlife Area, Mercer

Langlade County
46. Ackley State Wildlife Area, Merrill
47. Bogus Swamp State Natural Area, Summit Lake
48. Peters Marsh State Wildlife Area, Antigo
49. Veteran’s Memorial Park-Jack Lake, Summit Lake

Lincoln County
50. Council Grounds State Park, Merrill
51. Hiawatha State Trail, Tomahawk (also Oneida Co.)
52. New Wood State Wildlife Area, Merrill
53. Treehaven Environmental Learning Center, Tomahawk

Oneida County
54. Almon Bog Trails at Almon Park / Buck Lake, Rhinelander
55. Bearskin State Trail, Woodruff
56. Plum Creek Forest Resources Trail, Monico
57. Thunder Lake State Wildlife Area, Three Lakes
58. Willow Flowage, Hazelhurst

Polk County
59. D.D. Kennedy Environmental Area/County Park, Balsam Lake
60. Interstate State Park, St. Croix Falls
61. McKenzie Creek State Wildlife Area, Clam Falls
62. York Park, Amery

Price County
63. Blockhouse Lake & Flambeau Trail & Hay Creek Wildlife Area, Park Falls
64. Kimberly-Clark State Wildlife Area, Fifield
65. Popple Creek Trail-Wilson Flowage & Riley Lake Wildlife Area, Fifield
66. Timm’s Hill County Park, Westboro

Rusk County
67. Blue Hills & Moose Ear Creek, Weyerhauser
67. Flambeau Mine Trail, Ladysmith
69. Potato Creek State Wildlife Area, Weyerhauser

Sawyer County
70. Chippewa Flowage, Hayward
71. Flambeau River State Forest
72. Lynch Creek State Wildlife Area, Clam Lake
73. Totagatic Lake State Wildlife Area, Sawyer

Taylor County
74. Chequamegon Waters Flowage, Medford
75. Kidrick Swamp, Westboro
76. Mondeaux Dam Recreation Area, Medford
77. Pershing State Wildlife Area, Gilman
78. Yellow River Ice-walled Lake Plain, Perkinstown

Vilas County
79. Catherine Wolter Wilderness Area, Presque Isle
80. Fallison Lake Nature Trail, Boulder Junction
81. Lumberjack & Escanaba Trails, Boulder Junction
82. Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, Boulder Junction
83. North Lakeland Discovery Center, Manitowish Waters
84. Powell Marsh State Wildlife Area, Manitowish Waters

Washburn County
85. Beaver Brook State Wildlife Area, Spooner
86. Hunt Hill Audubon Nature Center & Sanctuary, Sarona
87. Namekagon Visitor Center, Trego
88. Sawyer Creek State Fisheries Area, Spooner

Mississippi and Chippewa Rivers

Buffalo County
1. Buena Vista Park, Alma
2. Merrick State Park, Fountain City
3. Rieck’s Lake Park, Alma
4. Tiffany State Natural Area, Nelson
5. Whitman Dam State Wildlife Area, Buffalo

Chippewa County
6. Brunet Island State Park, Cornell
7. Chippewa Moraine Ice Age Trail, New Auburn
8. Lake Wissota State Park, Chippewa Falls
9. Old Abe State Trail, Wildflower Trail & Lake Wissota State Park Trails

Crawford County
10. Hogback Prairie State Natural Area, Stueben
11. Kickapoo River State Wildlife Area-Wauzeka Unit, Wauzeka
12. La Riviere Park, Prairie du Chien
13. Lock and Dam 9 and Pool 9, Lynxville / Genoa
14. Rush Creek State Natural Area, Ferryville
15. St. Feriole Island, Prairie du Chien

Swimming Ducks
Swimming Ducks

Photo Credit

Dunn County
16. Caryville Savanna State Natural Area, Eau Claire
17. Dunnville State Wildlife Area, Downsville
18. Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area, Menomonie
19. Lake Menomin & Wolske’s Bay at Lakeside Park & Wakanda Park, Menomonie
20. Red Cedar State Trail, Menomonie

Eau Claire County
21. Augusta State Wildlife Area, Augusta
22. Beaver Creek Reserve, Fall Creek
23. Carson Park, Half Moon Lake & Riverview Park, Eau Claire
24. Chippewa River State Trail-Phoenix Park (Eau Claire Trail Head)
25. Coon Fork Barrens State Natural Area, Augusta
26. Putnam Park State Natural Area, Eau Claire

Grant County
27. Bagley Bottoms Boat Landing, Bagley
28. Blue River Sand Barrens State Natural Area, Blue River
29. Nelson Dewey State Park & Dewey Heights Prairie State Natural Area, Cassville
30. Lower Wisconsin River State Wildlife Area, Bridgeport to Woodman
31. Wyalusing State Park & Wyalusing Walnut Forest State Natural Area, Bagley

Jackson County
32. Bauer Brockway Barrens State Natural Area, Black River Falls
33. Bear Bluff Peatlands, Millston
34. Black River State Forest & Dike 17, Millston
35. Castle Mound Pine Forest State Natural Area, Black River Falls
36. Jay Creek Pine Forest State Natural Area, Millston
37. Wazee Lake Recreation Area, Black River Falls

La Crosse County
38. Goose Island County Park, La Crosse
39. Hixon Forest Nature Center, La Crosse River Marsh, Riverside Park & Myrick Park, La Crosse
40. McGilvray Bridges & Van Loon State Wildlife Area, Onalaska
41. Norskedalen Nature & Heritage Center, Coon Valley
42. Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge – La Crosse District, La Crosse

Pepin County
43. Chippewa River State Trail, Durand / Eau Claire
44. Lower Chippewa River State Natural Area, Pepin
45. Maiden Rock Bluff State Natural Area, Stockholm
46. Nine Mile Island State Natural Area, Durand

Pierce County
47. Freedom Park Learning Center, Prescott
48. Kinnickinnic State Park & Kinnickinnic River Gorge and Delta State Natural Area, River Falls
49. Morgan Coulee Prairie State Natural Area, Maiden Rock
50. Nugget Lake County Park, Plum City
51. Rush River Delta State Natural Area, Maiden Rock
52. Trenton Bluff Prairie State Natural Area, Hager City

St. Croix County
53. Cylon Marsh & Cylon Wildlife Area, Deer Park
54. Eau Galle Lake Recreation Area, Spring Valley
55. Oak Ridge Lake & National Waterfowl Production Area, New Richmond
56. St. Croix Islands State Wildlife Area, Somerset
57. Willow River State Park, Hudson
58. Willow River State Wildlife Area & Three Lakes National Waterfowl Production Area, Hudson

Trempealeau County
59. Great River State Trail, Trempealeau
60. Perrot State Park, Trempealeau
61. Trempealeau Lakes State Fishery Area, Trempealeau
62. Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge, Trempealeau

Vernon County
63. Duck Egg County Forest, Viroqua
64. Genoa National Fish Hatchery, Genoa
65. Kickapoo Valley Reserve, La Farge
66. Old Settler’s Park & Genoa Power Plant, Genoa
67. Wildcat Mountain State Park & Mt. Pisgah Hemlock-Hardwoods State Natural Area, Ontario

Central Sands Prairie

Adams County
1. Colburn State Wildlife Area, Friendship
2. Dells of the Wisconsin River State Natural Area, Wisconsin Dells
3. Quincy Bluff and Wetlands State Natural Area, Friendship
4. Roche-a-Cri State Park and Roche-a-Cri Mound State Natural Area, Friendship

Calumet County
5. Brillion Nature Center, Brillion
6. Brillion State Wildlife Area, Brillion
7. Calumet County Park, Stockbridge
8. High Cliff State Park and High Cliff Escarpment State Natural Area, Sherwood
9. Killsnake State Wildlife Area, Chilton
10. Ledge View County Park and Nature Center, Chilton

Clark County
11. Mead Lake County Parks – North and South, Mead
12. Rock Dam Lake County Park, North Foster
13. Schmidt Maple Woods State Natural Area, Stanley
14. Sportsman Lake State Wildlife Area, Owen

Fond du Lac County
15. Eldorado State Wildlife Area, Eldorado
16. Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit, Ice Age Trail Visitor Center & Haskell Noyes Woods State Natural Area, Campbellsport
17. Marsh Haven Nature Center, Waupun
18. Mullet Creek State Wildlife Area, Fond du Lac
19. Spruce Lake Bog State Natural Area – Northern Unit Kettle Moraine State Forest, Campbellsport

Green Lake County
20. Grand River Marsh State Wildlife Area and Fountain Creek Wet Prairie State Natural Area, Kingston
21. Green Lake Bike Trails, Green Lake
22. Puchyan Prairie State Natural Area, Green Lake
23. White River Marsh State Wildlife Area, Princeton

Juneau County
24. Buckhorn State Park and State Wildlife Area, Necedah
25. Cranberry Creek Mound Group State Natural Area, Necedah
26. Elroy-Sparta State Trail, Elroy
27. Mill Bluff State Park, Camp Douglas
28. Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, Necedah

Marathon County
29. Big Eau Pleine County Park and Dells of the Eau Claire River State Natural Area, Wausau
30. Big Eau Pleine Woods State Natural Area, Mosinee
31. Bluegill Bay County Park, Wausau
32. George W. Mead State Wildlife Area, Milladore
33. Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau
34. Nine-Mile County Forest, Wausau
35. Rib Mountain State Park, Wausau

Rib Mountain
Rib Mountain

Photo Credit

Marquette County
36. Comstock Bog Meadow State Natural Area, Montello
37. Germania Marsh State Wildlife Area, Montello
38. Mecan River State Fishery and Wildlife Area, Coloma
39. Muir Park State Natural Area, Montello
40. Observatory Hill State Natural Area, Montello

Menominee County
41. Menominee County Indian Reservation

Monroe County
42. Big Creek State Fishery Area, Cataract
43. Fort McCoy (Military Reservation) Barrens State Natural Area, Sparta
44. La Crosse River State Fishery Area, Angelo
45. La Crosse River Trail Prairie State Natural Area, Sparta
46. Meadow Valley State Wildlife Area, Tomah

Outagamie County
47. Bubolz Nature Preserve, Appleton
48. Mack State Wildlife Area and DOT Mitigation Site, Shiocton
49. Outagamie County State Wildlife Area, Shiocton
50. Wolf River Bottoms State Wildlife Area, Shiocton

Portage County
51. Buena Vista Grasslands, Bancroft
52. Dewey Marsh State Natural Area, Stevens Point
53. Iverson Park, Stevens Point
54. Richard A. Hemp State Fishery Area, Nelsonville
55. Schmeeckle Reserve, Stevens Point

Shawano County
56. Jung Hemlock-Beech Forest State Natural Area, Gresham
57. Mountain-Bay State Trail, Shawano
58. Navarino State Wildlife Area and Nature Center, Shiocton
59. Shawano Lake and County Park, Shawano

Waupaca County
60. Hartman Creek State Park and Emmons Creek Fishery Area, Waupaca
61. Keller Whitcomb Creek Woods State Natural Area, Iola
62. Mukwa State Wildlife Area, New London
63. Myklebust Lake State Natural Area, Iola
64. Waupaca County Sturgeon Trail, New London

Waushara County
65. Greenwood State Wildlife Area, Hancock
66. Karner Blue Meadow State Natural Area, Wild Rose
67. Mecan Springs and River State Fishery Area, Coloma
68. Mount Morris Hills Park, Mount Morris
69. Poygan State Wildlife Area, Poy Sippi
70. Wild Rose Fish Hatchery, Wild Rose

Winnebago County
71. Oshkosh-Larsen Trail Prairies, Allenville
72. Rat River State Wildlife Area, Winchester
73. Rush Lake State Natural Area, Ripon
74. Wolf River State Wildlife Area, Winchester

Wood County
75. Paul Olson State Wildlife Area, Rudolph
76. Powers Bluff Maple Woods State Natural Area, Arpin
77. Sandhill State Wildlife Area, Babcock
78. Wood County Wildlife Area, Babcock

Lake Michigan

Brown County
1. Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve & Fort Howard Paper Foundation Wildlife Area, Suamico
2. Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Green Bay
3. Bay Shore County Park, Green Bay
4. Cofrin Arboretum UW Green Bay, Green Bay
5. Lily Lake County Park, Green Bay
6. Reforestation Camp, Green Bay

Door County
7. Ahnapee State Trail, Algoma to Sturgeon Bay
8. Ellison Bluff County Park & State Natural Area, Ellison Bay
9. Jackson Harbor Town Park, Washington Island
10. Newport State Park, Ellison Bay
11. Potawatomi State Park, Sturgeon Bay
12. Peninsula State Park & Weborg Point, Fish Creek / Ephraim
13. The Ridges Sanctuary & State Natural Area, Baileys Harbor
14. Whitefish Dunes State Park, State Natural Area & Cave Point County Park, Jacksonport

Kenosha County
15. Bong State Recreation Area, Kansasville
16. Bristol Woods County Park & Pringle Nature Center, Bristol
17. Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area, Kenosha
18. New Munster State Wildlife Area, Twin Lakes
19. Petrified Springs County Park & Hawthorne Hollow Arboretum, Kenosha

Kewaunee County
20. Algoma Harbor, Algoma
21. Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility, Kewaunee
22. Bruemmer County Park, Kewaunee
23. C. D. Buzz Besadny State Wildlife Area, Kewaunee
24. Kewaunee Harbor & Marsh Walk, Kewaunee

Manitowoc County
25. Cherney Maribel Caves County Park & State Natural Area, Maribel
26. Collins Marsh State Wildlife Area, Collins
27. Fischer Creek Conservation Area, Cleveland
28. Point Beach State Forest, Two Rivers
29. Two Rivers Harbor & Neshotah Park, Two Rivers
30. Woodland Dunes Nature Center & State Natural Area, Two Rivers

Marinette County
31. Bloch Oxbow State Natural Area, Peshtigo
32. Dunbar Barrens State Natural Area, Dunbar
33. Governor Thompson State Park, Crivitz
34. Peshtigo Harbor Unit-Green Bay West Shore State Wildlife Area, Peshtigo
35. Seagull Bar State Natural Area, Marinette

Milwaukee County
36. Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin, Milwaukee
37. Havenwoods State Forest, Milwaukee
38. Lakeshore State Park, Milwaukee
39. Milwaukee Lake Shore Parks, Milwaukee
40. Schlitz Audubon Nature Center & Doctor’s Park, Milwaukee
41. Southern Milwaukee County Parks, Milwaukee
42. Urban Ecology Center & Milwaukee River Parks, Milwaukee
43. Whitnall Park & Wehr Nature Center, Milwaukee

Oconto County
44. Machickanee Unit – Oconto County Forest, Oconto Falls
45. Oconto Harbor, Oconto Marsh/Rush Point – Green Bay West Shores State Wildlife Areas, Oconto
46. Pensaukee Unit – Green Bay West Shores State Wildlife Area, Pensaukee
47. Peshtigo Brook State Wildlife Area, Peshtigo
48. Snow Falls Creek State Natural Area, Lakewood

Ozaukee County
49. Harrington Beach State Park, Belgium
50. Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve & Ulao Waterfowl Production Area, Grafton
51. Ozaukee Interurban Trail, Mequon / Thiensville to Belgium
52. Riveredge Nature Center, Newburg
53. Schwengel Waterfowl Production Area, Belgium

Racine County
54. Honey Creek State Wildlife Area, Burlington
55. Racine Harbor Park & Lakefront, Racine
56. Sanders Park Hardwoods State Natural Area, Racine
57. Tichigan State Wildlife Area, Waterford
58. Wind Point Lighthouse, Wind Point & Shoop Park, Racine

Wind Point Lighthouse
Wind Point Lighthouse

Photo Credit

Sheboygan County
59. Evergreen Park, Sheboygan
60. Kettle Moraine State Forest & Kettle Moraine Red Oaks State Natural Area, Greenbush
61. Kohler Andrae State Park & Kohler Park Dunes State Natural Area, Sheboygan
62. Maywood – Ellwood H. May Environmental Park, Sheboygan
63. Sheboygan Marsh State Wildlife Area & Sheboygan County Park, Elkhart Lake
64. North Point Park, Sheboygan

Southern Savanna

Columbia County
1. French Creek State Wildlife Area, Portage
2. Grassy Lake State Wildlife Area, Rio
3. Leopold Wetland Management District, Portage
4. Pine Island State Wildlife Area, Portage
5. MacKenzie Environmental Education Center, Poynette
6. Madison Audubon Goose Pond Sanctuary, Erstad Prairie and Schoenberg Marsh Waterfowl Production Area, Arlington

Dane County
7. Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Monona
8. Black Hawk Unit of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, Sauk City
9. Capital Springs Recreation Area, Lussier Family Heritage Center, Lake Farm Park and Nine Springs E-Way, Madison
10. Cave of the Mounds National Natural Landmark, Blue Mounds
11. Governor Nelson State Park, Waunakee
12. Lakeshore Nature Preserve, Madison
13. Pheasant Branch Conservancy, Middleton
14. Pleasant Valley Conservancy State Natural Area, Black Earth
15. University of Wisconsin Arboretum, Madison

Dodge County
16. Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area and International Education Center, Horicon
17. Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, Horicon
18. Shaw Marsh State Wildlife Area, Beaver Dam
19. Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area – Northern Unit, Theresa

Pelicans at Horicon

Photo Credit

Green County
20. Brooklyn State Wildlife Area, Belleville
21. Browntown-Cadiz Springs State Recreation Area, Browntown
22. Marbleseed Prairie Unit of York Prairie State Natural Area, New Glarus
23. Muralt Bluff Prairie State Natural Area, Albany
24. New Glarus Woods State Park, New Glarus
25. Sugar River and Badger State Trail, Belleville

Iowa County
26. Avoca Prairie and Savanna State Natural Area, Avoca
27. Barneveld Prairie, Barneveld
28. Barneveld Prairie – Thomas Pasture Tract, Barneveld
29. Governor Dodge State Park and Pine Cliff State Natural Area, Dodgeville
30. Lower Wisconsin State Riverway – Helena Unit, Spring Green
31. Military Ridge State Trail and Shake Rag Trail, Dodgeville
32. Mounds View Grassland, Mt. Horeb
33. Tower Hill State Park, Spring Green

Jefferson County
34. Dorothy Carnes County Park and Rose Lake State Natural Area, Fort Atkinson
35. Glacial Drumlin State Trail – Jefferson County, Cottage Grove
36. Hoard Historical Museum, Fort Atkinson
37. Jefferson Marsh State Wildlife Area and Jefferson Tamarack Swamp State Natural Area, Jefferson
38. Lake Mills State Wildlife Area and Zeloski Marsh Unit, Lake Mills

Lafayette County
39. Belmont Prairie State Natural Area, Belmont
40. Pecatonica State Trail and Cheese Country Trails, Mineral Point
41. Yellowstone Lake State Park and Yellowstone Savanna State Natural Area, Blanchardville
42. Yellowstone State Wildlife Area, Blanchardville

Richland County
43. Ash Creek Community Forest, Richland Center
44. Lower Wisconsin State Riverway – Knapp Creek, Blue River and Lone Rock Units, Lone Rock
45. Pier Natural Bridge County Park, Rockbridge
46. Pine River County Trail, Richland Center

Rock County
47. Avon Bottoms State Wildlife and State Natural Area, Beloit
48. Big Hill Park, Beloit
49. Cook Memorial Arboretum, Janesville
50. Rock River Prairie State Natural Area, Beloit
51. Storrs Lake and Lima Marsh State Wildlife Areas, Milton

Sauk County
52. Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, Baraboo
53. Bakken’s Pond State Natural Area, Spring Green
54. International Crane Foundation, Baraboo
55. Riverland Conservancy – Merrimac Preserve, Merrimac
56. Spring Green Preserve State Natural Area, Spring Green

Walworth County
57. Big Foot Beach State Park, Lake Geneva
58. Kettle Moraine Oak Opening State Natural Area, Palmyra
59. Turtle Creek State Wildlife Area, Delavan
60. White River State Trail – Aldo Leopold Legacy Trail, Elkhorn

Washington County
61. Allenton and Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area, Allenton
62. Jackson Marsh State Wildlife Area and State Natural Area, Jackson
63. Lac Lawrann Conservancy, West Bend
64. Lizard Mound County Park, West Bend
65. Milwaukee River Floodplain Forest State Natural Area, Kewaskum

Waukesha County
66. Kettle Moraine State Forest – Lapham Peak Unit, Delafield
67. Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit, Scuppernong River Habitat Area and Scuppernong Prairie State Natural Area, Eagle
68. Lulu Lake Preserve and State Natural Area, Troy Center
69. Nashotah County Park, Nashotah
70. Old World Wisconsin, Eagle
71. Retzer Nature Center, Waukesha

Lapham Peak tower
Lapham Peak tower

Photo Credit

Popular Wisconsin Birding Sites

Here is a list of some of the better-known bird watching sites in the state. Operating hours for those areas that have them were accurate, as far as I know, at the time of this writing. You’ll want to double-check them before heading out to a given area.

1000 Islands Environmental Center
Location: Kaukauna along the Fox River
Size: 300 acres
Birds: eagles, great blue herons, black crowned night herons, owls, bitterns, teal, coots, ducks, mergansers, resident and migratory song birds
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00-4:00, Saturday and Sunday 10:00-3:30
Admission: Free
Website: 1000 Islands Environmental Center

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Location: In Lake Superior off the Bayfield Peninsula
Size: 22 islands
Birds: 240+ species
Hours: Memorial Day through Labor Day
Admission: n/a
Additional details from the National Park Service: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Avon Bottoms Wildlife Area
Location: Sugar River near Avon (between Beloit and Janesville)
Size: 1600 acres
Birds: n/a
Hours: n/a
Admission: n/a
Additional details from the Wisconsin DNR: Avon Bottoms Wildlife Area

Chequamegon Bay
Location: South shore of Lake Superior near Ashland
Size: n/a
Birds: waterfowl, warblers, shorebirds, snowy owls, bohemian waxwings
Hours: n/a
Admission: n/a

Chequamegon National Forest
Location: Northwest Wisconsin
Size: 858,400 acres
Birds: 225+ species – tundra swans, eagles, osprey, ruby crowned kinglets, indigo buntings, rufous-sided towhees
Hours: n/a
Admission: State Park vehicle admission sticker
Additional details from the USDA Forest Service: Chequamegon National Forest

Crex Meadows Wildlife Area
Location: Burnett County north of Grantsburg
Size: 30,000+ acres
Birds: herons, double-crested cormorants, breeding osprey, sharp-tailed grouse
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00-4:30, Saturday and Sunday 10:00-4:00 for the visitor center; wildlife areas are open all the time
Admission: n/a
Website: Crex Meadows Wildlife Area

Devil’s Lake State Park
Location: South of Baraboo
Size: 9200 acres
Birds: Wood Duck, Wild Turkey, Broad-winged Hawk, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Black-billed Cuckoo, Barred Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Acadian Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, Wood Thrush, Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, Blue-winged Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, Ruffed Grouse, Winter Wren, Veery, Worm-eating Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Canada Warbler
Hours: 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Admission: State Park vehicle admission sticker
Additional details from the Wisconsin DNR: Devil’s Lake State Park

Ellwood H. May Environmental Park
Location: Sheboygan
Size: 135 acres
Birds: warblers, sparrows, American Woodcocks, red-tailed hawk
Hours: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Admission: Free
Website: Maywood

Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve
Location: County Highway A north of Appleton
Size: 775 acres
Birds: great horned owls, pileated woodpeckers, yellow-bellied sapsuckers warblers, herons, cranes, Cooper’s hawks, harriers, Canada geese, migrating ducks and shorebirds
Hours: Tuesday to Friday 8:00-4:30, Saturday 11:00-4:00, Sunday 12:30-4:00 for the building; trails open during daylight hours
Admission: Free
Website: Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve

Great Horicon Marsh
Location: Northeast of Beaver Dam
Size: 30,000+ acres
Birds: 300+ species
Hours: n/a
Admission: n/a
Additional details from the Wisconsin DNR: Horicon Marsh

Harrington Beach State Park
Location: Belgium
Size: 700 acres
Birds: ducks, shorebirds, gulls, terns, White-winged Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Harlequin Duck, Glaucous Gull, Osprey, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Alder Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Sedge Wren, Mourning Warbler, Henslow’s Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Dickcissel, Bobolink
Hours: 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Admission: State Park vehicle admission sticker
Additional details from the Wisconsin DNR: Harrington Beach State Park

Havenwoods State Forest
Location: Milwaukee
Size: 237 acres
Birds: great blue herons, sandhill cranes, kestrels, flycatchers, sandpipers
Hours: n/a
Admission: State Park vehicle admission sticker
Additional details from the Wisconsin DNR: Havenwoods State Forest

Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary & Arboretum
Location: Kenosha
Size: 50+ acres
Birds: warblers, herons, owls, hawks, ducks, pheasants
Hours: 8:00-5:00
Admission: Free
Website: Hawthorn Hollow

Hunt Hill Nature Center & Audubon Sanctuary
Location: Between Spooner and Rice Lake
Size: 500 acres
Birds: osprey, loons
Hours: 9:00-4:00
Admission: Varies by program
Website: Hunt Hill

International Crane Foundation
Location: Baraboo
Size: 225 acres
Birds: All 15 species of cranes
Hours: 9:00-5:00
Admission: $9.50 (or less)
Website: International Crane Foundation

Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy
Location: Williams Bay
Size: 230 acres
Birds: coots, grebes, many species of ducks and Canada geese
Hours: n/a
Admission: n/a

L. H. Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve
Location: Green Bay
Size: 925 acres
Birds: Waterfowl, wetland birds
Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00-4:00, Saturday and Sunday Noon-4:00
Admission: n/a
Additional information: Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve

Mack Wildlife Area
Location: Black Creek
Size: 1829 acres
Birds: swans, Canada geese, ducks, shorebirds
Hours: n/a
Admission: State Park vehicle admission sticker
Additional details from the Wisconsin DNR: Mack Wildlife Area

Marsh Haven Nature Center
Location: Waupun (north end of Horicon Marsh)
Size: 38 acres
Birds: See Horicon Marsh above
Hours: Monday to Friday Noon-4:00, Saturday and Sunday 9:00-5:00
Admission: $2 – adult, $1 – child
Website: Marsh Haven Nature Center

Navarino State Wildlife Area
Location: South of Shawano
Size: 15,000 acres
Birds: sandhill cranes, black terns, wood ducks, mallards, yellow-headed blackbirds
Hours: n/a
Admission: State Park vehicle admission sticker
Additional details from the Wisconsin DNR: Navarino State Wildlife Area

Necedah National Wildlife Refuge
Location: Necedah
Size: 43,000+ acres
Birds: sandhill cranes, waterfowl, bald eagles, golden eagles, wild turkeys, shorebirds, songbirds
Hours: n/a
Admission: n/a
Additional details from the Fish and Wildlife Service: Necedah National Wildlife Refuge

Seen at Necedah
Seen at Necedah

Photo Credit

Nicolet National Forest
Location: Northeast Wisconsin
Size: 661,400 acres
Birds: 235+ species
Hours: n/a
Admission: n/a
Additional details: Nicolet National Forest

North Lakeland Discovery Center
Location: Manitowish Waters
Size: 63 acres
Birds: Sharp-shinned Hawk, Chipping Sparrow, Pine Warbler, Trumpeter Swan, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Hours: n/a
Admission: n/a
Website: North Lakeland Discovery Center

Oconto Marsh Refuge
Location: Oconto
Size: 4000 acres
Birds: Forster’s terns, eagles, raptors, herons, cranes, yellow-headed blackbird
Hours: n/a
Admission: n/a

Quincy Bluff and Wetlands State Natural Area
Location: Adams
Size: 1705 acres
Birds: northern harrier hawks, turkey vultures, sandhill cranes
Hours: n/a
Admission: n/a
Additional details from the Wisconsin DNR: Quincy Bluff and Wetlands State Natural Area

Riveredge Nature Center
Location: Between Saukville and West Bend
Size: 350 acres
Birds: 67 species
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00-5:00, Saturday 9:00-5:00, Sunday Noon-4:00
Admission: $4.00 or less
Website: Riveredge Nature Center

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
Location: Bayside (north of Milwaukee)
Size: 225 acres
Birds: 250 species
Hours: Closed Mondays
Admission: n/a
Website: Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

Schmeeckle Reserve
Location: Stevens Point
Size: 280 acres
Birds: n/a
Hours: 8:00-5:00
Admission: n/a
Website: Schmeeckle Reserve

Thunder Marsh Wildlife Area
Location: Three Lakes
Size: 3000 acres
Birds: ruby crowned kinglets, yellow rails, hooded mergansers, kingfishers
Hours: n/a
Admission: n/a

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge
Location: Wabasha, MN to Rock Island, IL
Size: 200,000 acres
Birds: tundra swans, ducks, geese, warblers, vireos, thrushes, sparrows, raptors, herons, bald eagles
Hours: n/a
Admission: n/a
Additional information: Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge, Wyalusing State Park

Wind Point
Location: North of Racine
Size: n/a
Birds: scoters, Long-tailed Duck, mergansers, Red-throated Loon, Common Loon, Red Phalarope, jaegers, gulls such as Thayer’s, Lesser Black-backed, and Glaucous, Purple Sandpiper, White-eyed Vireo, Connecticut Warbler
Hours: n/a
Admission: n/a
Website: Wind Point (Town)

Wisconsin Point
Location: Superior
Size: 3 miles long
Birds: piping plover, parasitic jaeger, Cassin’s kingbird
Hours: n/a
Admission: n/a

Woodland Dunes Nature Center
Location: Two Rivers
Size: 1300 acres
Birds: warblers
Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00-4:00, Saturday 9:00-Noon
Admission: n/a
Website: Woodland Dunes Nature Center

Yellowstone Lake State Park
Location: Southeast of Mineral Point
Size: 1000 acres
Birds: Common Loon, grebes, Double-crested Cormorant, American White Pelican, Osprey, gulls, terns, Bald Eagle, Sora, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Marsh Wren, Wood Duck, Wild Turkey, Barred Owl, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Willow Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Sedge Wren, Blue-winged Warbler, Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow, Dickcissel, and Bobolink
Hours: 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Admission: State Park vehicle admission sticker
Additional details from the Wisconsin DNR: Yellowstone Lake State Park

You’ve noticed that there are a number of Wisconsin state parks in these lists. You might be interested in my personal roamings through them described at State Parks Journey.

People Looking for Wisconsin Birds

Wisconsin Bird Network – The Wisconsin Bird Network (aka WISBIRDN) is a discussion list focused on Wisconsin birds and birding. You’ll find subjects such as reporting rare bird sightings, trip reports, requests for information, research, and more.

Wisconsin Birding Facebook Group – Join this group to share your love of Wisconsin birds. Discover news about sightings, see photographs, learn about bird identification, and the like.

Wisconsin Young Birders Club – The Wisconsin Young Birders Club promotes birding among the next generation of Wisconsin bird enthusiasts. Youthful members of the community learn about bird life and may even go on an occasional field trip.

Bird Clubs and Nature Centers – There are dozens of nature centers and over 30 bird clubs all around the state of Wisconsin. See if there is one in the area in which you live or plan to visit.

The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II

It seems unusual (to me) to use the word atlas instead of survey here, but that’s what they call it. Here’s what the atlas is according to the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology.

The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II is a comprehensive field survey that documents the distribution and abundance of birds breeding in an area. The information will allow us to see changes in bird populations since the last survey and to measure future changes. These insights help us identify the conservation needs of breeding birds and try to meet those needs.

This second atlas runs from 2015 to 2019, updates and expands on the findings of the first atlas (conducted from 1995 to 2000), and provides critical data for conservation of birds for years to come.

Bird Watching in States Near Wisconsin

If you can’t make it all the way to Wisconsin, maybe you can try some birding in one of these other Midwestern states.

Gary Sonnenberg

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