best spots for bird watching in east lansing mi

East Lansing’s Top Bird Watching Hotspots MI

Bird-watching is a fast-growing hobby in the United States, and Michigan is a birding paradise with its diverse range of bird species. If you’re looking for the best spots for bird watching in East Lansing, MI, you’re in luck. East Lansing offers several top bird-watching hotspots where you can observe a variety of bird species in serene natural settings.

Whether you’re a seasoned birder or just starting out, these birding hotspots in East Lansing will not disappoint. From migratory birds to raptors and waterfowl, there’s something for every bird enthusiast. Join us as we explore the top bird-watching locations in East Lansing and discover the incredible bird species that call this area home.

Brockway Mountain Drive, Copper Harbor, MI

Brockway Mountain Drive, located in the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula near Copper Harbor, Michigan, is a must-visit destination for bird-watching enthusiasts. This scenic drive offers breathtaking views of the surrounding water and majestic forested landscapes, making it an ideal spot to connect with nature and observe a variety of bird species in their natural habitat.

One of the highlights of Brockway Mountain Drive is its reputation as a birding hotspot during the migration period from March 15 to June 15. During this time, bird counters have documented an impressive array of bird species, including 15 types of hawks. Visitors may also have the opportunity to spot falcons, owls, turkey vultures, and eagles soaring through the skies. These magnificent raptors provide a thrilling sight for bird enthusiasts, showcasing their impressive flying abilities and hunting techniques.

In addition to the raptors, there are several other commonly observed bird species along Brockway Mountain Drive. Keep your eyes peeled for the vibrant cedar waxwing, the charming snow bunting, the elusive cackling goose, the lively American pipit, and the distinctive rusty blackbird. These fascinating avian creatures contribute to the rich biodiversity found in Copper Harbor, delighting visitors with their unique behaviors and beautiful plumage.

Bird Species Image
Turkey Vultures
Cedar Waxwing
Snow Bunting
Cackling Goose
American Pipit
Rusty Blackbird

Seney National Wildlife Refuge, Seney, MI

Seney National Wildlife Refuge, located in Seney, Michigan, offers excellent opportunities for bird watching. The refuge spans over 95,000 acres and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including over 200 bird species. Birders can explore the refuge through the Marshland Wildlife Drive or the Pine Ridge Nature Trail, each offering unique birding experiences.

The Marshland Wildlife Drive allows birders to observe birds from the comfort of their cars. This 7.6-mile scenic drive takes visitors through various habitats, including marshes, wetlands, and forests. Along the way, birders can spot a variety of waterfowl and raptors, making it an ideal spot to observe trumpeter swans, common loons, bald eagles, ospreys, and sandhill cranes. The peaceful ambiance of the drive enhances the bird-watching experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Seney National Wildlife Refuge.

For birders who prefer walking, the Pine Ridge Nature Trail is an excellent alternative. This 1.2-mile trail winds through the refuge’s upland forests, providing opportunities to spot a variety of bird species along the way. Visitors may encounter woodpeckers, warblers, sparrows, and other songbirds as they explore the trail. The tranquil surroundings and the vibrant bird life make the Pine Ridge Nature Trail a must-visit destination for birders in Seney.

Bird Species at Seney National Wildlife Refuge

Bird Species Commonly Seen At Seney National Wildlife Refuge
Trumpeter Swan A majestic waterfowl species known for its resonant call and graceful presence.
Common Loon A striking bird with a haunting call, often seen diving underwater for prey.
Bald Eagle An iconic raptor symbolizing strength and freedom, frequently spotted soaring above the refuge.
Osprey A fish-eating bird of prey known for its exceptional hunting skills and impressive aerial displays.
Sandhill Crane A tall, elegant bird with a distinctive call, observed in wetland and grassland habitats.

Aside from bird watching, Seney National Wildlife Refuge offers various outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. Hiking trails, such as the Manistique River Trail and Pine Ridge Nature Trail, provide opportunities to explore the picturesque landscapes and observe the diverse flora and fauna. The refuge also offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months, allowing birders to experience the beauty of Seney in a unique way.

Whether you’re a seasoned birder or new to the hobby, Seney National Wildlife Refuge is a paradise for bird watching. Its breathtaking scenery, abundant bird species, and tranquil atmosphere make it a top destination for birders seeking to connect with nature and witness the wonders of bird life in Seney, Michigan.

Hartwick Pines State Park, Grayling, MI

Hartwick Pines State Park, located in Grayling, Michigan, is a hidden gem for bird watching. With 7 ½ miles of trails through forests of beech, maple, and oak, visitors can witness a variety of bird species. Some of the commonly observed birds in this park include Blackburnian and Black-throated Green warblers, Evening and Rose-breasted grosbeaks, Red-eyed Vireos, American Goldfinches, and Pine Siskins.

With over 200 species of birds present, both novice and expert birders can enjoy the rich bird life in Hartwick Pines State Park.

Commonly Observed Bird Species in Hartwick Pines State Park

Bird Species Description
Blackburnian Warbler A small songbird with vibrant orange throat and black and white plumage.
Black-throated Green Warbler A medium-sized warbler with bright yellow-green back, black throat, and white belly.
Evening Grosbeak A stocky finch with a bright yellow body, black wings, and a large pale bill.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak A striking black and white bird with a vibrant rose-red patch on its breast.
Red-eyed Vireo A small songbird with olive-green upperparts and a distinctive red eye.
American Goldfinch A small finch with bright yellow plumage and a black cap in males.
Pine Siskin A small finch with streaked brown and yellow plumage and a sharply pointed bill.

Lake St. Clair Metropark, Harrison Twp, MI

Lake St. Clair Metropark, located in Harrison Township, Michigan, is a haven for migrating birds. This picturesque park offers a serene environment for birders to observe a diverse range of avian species while also enjoying various recreational activities.

During their annual migrations, Lake St. Clair Metropark provides a vital resting place for numerous bird species. Visitors can witness the graceful flight of Canada Geese and the captivating presence of Mute Swans as they make their stop at the park. Additionally, the park welcomes Mourning Doves, their gentle coos filling the air, while White-throated Sparrows and Red-bellied Woodpeckers add their colorful presence to the birding experience.

Aside from birding, Lake St. Clair Metropark offers a plethora of recreational activities for nature enthusiasts. Visitors can explore the park’s extensive network of biking and hiking trails, taking in the beautiful scenery while engaging in physical exercise. For those seeking a respite from the summer heat, the park’s sandy beach and welcoming waters provide the perfect opportunity for swimming and relaxation.

Bird Species Features
Canada Geese Migratory birds, known for distinctive honking calls
Mute Swans Elegant birds with graceful white feathers
Mourning Doves Soft, mournful coos and aerial acrobatics
White-throated Sparrows Distinctive white throat markings and melodious songs
Red-bellied Woodpeckers Vibrant red crown and a unique call that echoes through the woods

Whether it’s an avid birder or someone simply seeking a peaceful getaway, Lake St. Clair Metropark offers the perfect blend of natural beauty, birding opportunities, and recreational fun. Explore the park’s abundant avian life and immerse yourself in the tranquility of this exceptional birding destination in Harrison Township.

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, Saginaw, MI

Located in Saginaw, Michigan, the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is a nature lover’s paradise. Spanning over 10,000 acres, this wildlife refuge is a designated “Important Bird Area” and attracts a wide variety of bird species, making it a must-visit destination for birding enthusiasts.

The refuge offers diverse habitats, including wetlands, marshes, woodlands, and meadows, that provide ideal conditions for migratory waterfowl and other bird species. Bird watchers can expect to spot a range of birds, including waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, songbirds, and raptors.

One of the highlights of birding in Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is the opportunity to witness the spectacular migrations of wood ducks and bald eagles during the spring and fall seasons. These majestic birds create a captivating sight as they navigate the refuge’s beautiful surroundings.

Bird Species in Shiawassee Refuge:

  • Waterfowl
  • Shorebirds
  • Wading Birds
  • Songbirds
  • Raptors

With its diverse bird species, stunning natural landscapes, and the peaceful ambiance of the refuge, Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge offers an unforgettable birding experience in Saginaw, Michigan.

Sunset Coast Birding Trail, Charlevoix, MI

The Sunset Coast Birding Trail, encompassing Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet counties in Michigan, is a top spot for birding enthusiasts. With 35 primary sites featuring diverse bird species, birders can observe a wide range of birds in this picturesque region.

Charlevoix, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, offers a variety of habitats such as wetlands, forests, and shoreline areas, attracting numerous bird species throughout the year. From migratory waterfowl to woodland warblers, there is something for every birding enthusiast to enjoy in Charlevoix.

Some of the bird species that can be spotted along the Sunset Coast Birding Trail include:

Bird Species Image
Wood Ducks
American Wigeons
Northern Pintails
Green-winged Teals
Sedge Wrens
Sandhill Cranes

Visiting the Sunset Coast Birding Trail not only allows birders to observe a diverse array of bird species, but it also supports local communities in promoting economic development and environmental stewardship. By appreciating the natural beauty and wildlife of Charlevoix, birding enthusiasts contribute to the conservation efforts of this stunning region.


Bird watching in East Lansing, Michigan offers a rewarding experience for birders of all levels. The diverse range of bird species and the serene natural settings make these top bird-watching hotspots in East Lansing MI an ideal destination for birding enthusiasts. Whether it’s observing hawks at Brockway Mountain Drive or spotting waterfowl at Seney National Wildlife Refuge, there are plenty of opportunities to encounter various bird species. By exploring the best spots for bird watching in East Lansing MI, visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of nature and appreciate the wonders of bird life.

With its rich bird population and picturesque landscapes, Michigan is a haven for bird watchers. From the breathtaking views at Brockway Mountain Drive to the abundant wildlife at Seney National Wildlife Refuge, birding hotspots in Michigan offer endless opportunities for birding enthusiasts to explore and appreciate the beauty of bird diversity. Whether you’re a seasoned birder or a beginner, these top bird watching spots are sure to provide unforgettable experiences and cherished memories.

As a comprehensive bird watching guide, this article has highlighted some of the best birding hotspots in Michigan, including East Lansing’s top bird watching spots. By visiting these locations, birders can witness a variety of bird species in their natural habitats and gain a deeper understanding of the avian world. Whether you’re interested in migratory birds, waterfowl, raptors, or songbirds, Michigan’s diverse ecosystems offer something for everyone.

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