Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Virtual brochure and information for Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, one of many online travel brochures for tourist information in Paradise, MI. Provided by your source for Mackinaw Information and Mackinac Information.
16914 N Whitefish Point Rd
Paradise, MI 49768
Dedicated to the study of conservation of migratory birds. Ranked among the most significant avian migration sites in North America.
BirdLife - IBA - Important Bird Area
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory is a non-profit organization, established in 1979 to document the distribution and abundance of birds in the Great Lakes Region, with an emphasis on migrating birds. This information is used to increase our knowledge of bird migration, encourage public awareness of birds and their environment and further bird conservation.
Located on the shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Whitefish Point is a phenomenal concentration spot for migrating birds. The beaches and dunes support a unique plant community and a variety of unspoiled natural habitats exist nearby.
WPBO conducts annual raptor and waterbird counts along with owl banding and songbird censuses. These long-term projects provide valuable documentation of bird population trends and migration.
Waterbird Count - April 15-May 31, Aug 15-Nov 15 - Begins at surise - 8 hours
Owl Banding - March 15-May 31, July 1-Aug 25, Sept 15-Oct 31 - Dusk-dawn weather permitting
Hawk Count - March 15-May 31 - 8am-4pm
Songbird Census - Aug 26-Nov 15 - 2 hours after sunrise
WPBO conducts avian research on US Fish and Wildlife, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan Audubon properties. Collaboration with these agencies also includes habitat preservation and WPBO acting as steward to over 80 acres of MAS property.
Birds for all seasons
Birding at Whitefish Point and the surrounding area is outstanding, with each season having unique species. Migration brings great bird diversity and the excitement of finding a rarity. Visit www.wpbo.org for the most up to date information on the latest sightings.
Spring - Raptor migration begins in mid-March, with highlights of Bald Eagles and Northern Goshawks. Mid-May peaks with thousands of Sharp-shinned and Broad-winged Hawks. Golden Eagle, Osprey, Rough-legged Hawk, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon and Northern Saw-whet Owls are regularly seen. Perhaps even a Boreal or Great Gray Owl will be discovered.
Mid-April is the start of an impressive waterbird migration of loons, grebes, ducks, shorebirds, gulls and terns, with many rarities found each season.
Songbird migration also begins in April with finches and peaks in May with up to 30 species of warblers. It is a good opportunity to see many species in breeding plumage and hear their songs.
In celebration of migration, Spring Fling is held the last full weekend in April. Tours, programs and owl banding are highlights of the event.
Summer - Mid-June to mid-August is the quietist period for birding at WPBO. Nesting in the area are a number of warbler species, including the much sought Connecticut Warbler, Evening Grosbeak, Black-backed Woodpecker and Spruce Grouse. July is a perfect time to search for a Northern Saw-whet Owl and check for nesting Piping Plovers.
Fall - Mid-August through October is a wonderful time for birding at Whitefish Point. Fall highlights include a spectacular migration of 50-100,000 waterbirds, with occasional single day counts of several thousand loons, grebes, geese and ducks, and a surprise jaeger or unusual gull. Look for Whimbrel, Bairds and Buff-breasted Sandpipers, Red-necked Grebe and scoters along with the Lapland Longspur and pipits on the shore.
August and September are excellent months to test your birding skills by viewing large numbers of fall plumage songbirds. Plus find Brown Creepers, Black-backed Woodpeckers and a vagrant that may make an unexpected visit to the Point. Many species stop to forage before journeying southward.
Winter - Although birds are not abundant at Whitefish Point in the winter, the possibility of finding unusual northern species is relatively good. Search for Great Gray, Northern Hawk and Snowy Owls, Gyrfalcon, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Bohemian Waxwing, Pine Grosbeaks, crossbills and redpolls.
More than Birds
Take a walk on the beach in search of unusual rocks, like beautiful agates. And keep an eye open for moose, bear, deer, wolf and fox that live in the area. Don’t forget to look at the wide variety of wildflowers and plants that grow along the trails and in the sand dunes. The gift shop carries a wide variety of field guide to help you identify the plants, mammals and birds you may see.
Membership and Support
WPBO is funded solely through memberships, donations and grants. Members receive our quarterly newsletter, THE MIGRANT, an invitation to Spring Fling, and discounts at the Owl’s Roost Gift Shop, birding trips and programs.
Education and Special Events
WPBO’s goal is to promote awareness and appreciation of the environment and, in particular, the relationship of birds to the environment.
Walks and programs - Programs at the Point change with the seasons and include bird and nature walks, owl programs, identification classes and special workshops.
Take a walk on the beach and learn about the rocks of Lake Superior. Get tips on hawk or warbler identification. Get a chance to adopt an owl as you learn more about various owl species found at the Point.
Spring Fling - Spring Fling, held the last full weekend in April, is WPBO’s annual celebration of bird migration. Birders, nature lovers and photographers alike will enjoy this weekend. Enjoy walks, field trips, programs and a fun filled banquet.
Field Trips - Birders of all levels will enjoy birding some of Michigan’s best birding hot spots, with a focus on the Upper Peninsula during peak periods. Leaders are experienced, knowledgeable birders.
Owl’s Roost Gift Shop/Nature Center
Visit the Owl’s Roost or on our website for current and ongoing activities. To find out what birds are being seen at the Point, read the WPBO blogs that are maintained daily by our research staff. Also visit our on site gift shop for wonderful bird and nature related items.