Birding in Crawford County, Michigan
Photo of Kirtland's Warbler by Ron Austing.
Essential Michigan Birding Sites
Welcome to the Grayling and Crawford County Region!
If you're thinking about visiting and birding in northern lower Michigan in the near future, then Grayling and the Crawford County area is the place to go! I hope to highlight some of the more interesting and unique birding opportunities available here, and if you're willing, I'll tell you about some of my own adventures and notes. This site is rather small, but given time it will grow! Stick around, I'm sure you will find something to enjoy!
Visit Northern Michigan Birding
Be sure to visit Northern Michigan Birding, Keith Saylor's wonderful birding site dedicated to birders in northern and central Michigan. There, you will find an exclusive message board where you can read and post everything related to birds and habitats specific to this part of Michigan. Then, once you're finished checking the message board, click on over to the NMB Bird Identification Training Center to quiz yourself on everything from shorebirds to warblers. Finally, click over to the NMB Chat Room so that you can chat and receive the latest NMB news and updates. Keith's site is excellent and a great resource for anyone interested in finding birds in northern Michigan!
A Celebration of Nature!
The Kirtland's Warbler Festival is coming to the campus of Kirtland Community Collge, located 8 miles north of St. Helen at 10775 N. St. Helen Road in Roscommon County. The festival celebrates the return of the Kirtland's warbler from the Bahamas to the its nesting site here in the Jack Pine Country of northern Michigan! Admission is free and includes wildlife presentations, tours, photograph exhibits, children's activities, a juried fine arts exhibit, and more! Fun for the whole family! For more info, call (517) 275-5121, extension 347.
Free Guided Tours to Kirtland's Warbler Nesting Areas
From mid-May to early July, you can take a free guided tour of the Kirtlands' warbler nesting area located either in Grayling or Mio. Tours to the nesting areas depart from the Grayling Holiday Inn and the U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Office in Mio and may not be offered every day of the week. Click here for schedules and further information.
Kirtland's Warblers at a Record High!
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan's 1998 population of the endangered Kirtland's warbler is the highest recorded since the first census was done in 1951. Biologists, volunteers, and researchers counted 805 singing males during the official 1998 census period completed in mid-June, compared to 733 in 1997 and to the previous high of 766 in 1995. Low numbers were counted in 1987 and 1974, when only 167 singing males were found.
The census was started in 1951, repeated in 1961, and has been done annually since 1971. Wildlife bilogists and foresters from state and federal agencies conduct a combination of clearcutting, burning, seeding, and replanting to mimic the effects of wildfire in regenerating young Jack Pine stands, the warbler's breeding habitat. "The number of Kirtland's warblers counted in areas specifically planted for warbler nesting habitat has continued to increase over the past several years; planted areas had over 76 percent of the population this year," said Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Jerry Weinrich of the Roscommon Lower Peninsula Field Headquarters. "Additional new habitat will become available each year for the next several years, so there is reason to be optimistic that the warblers will continue to increase over the next few years."
Source: Ornithological Newsletter, August 1998, edited by Cheryl L. Trine, published by the American Ornithologists' Union.
Area and Regional Links
Updated Saturday, July 21, 2001 and created on Monday, May 4,1998.
The URL for this page is http://www-personal.umich.edu/~abean/birding/.
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Please send comments and suggestions to Alan Bean.