More than 45 million Americans enjoy birdwatching according to a survey produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Along with other wildlife watchers, birdwatchers contribute nearly $80 billion to the U.S. economy annually.
For those traveling to the eastern Upper Peninsula in search of birds the new Silver Creek Birding Trail is expected to open to the public in the next few months.
Silver Creek Birding Trail is located on state land northwest of Newberry in Luce County. Centered around Silver Creek Pond, the 9-mile birding trail features nine posted stops along the road, with short hiking trails at four of the markers.
The trail highlights the temperate and boreal forests of the Upper Peninsula and features both mature and regenerating forest, as well as bogs, clearings and ponds.
Visitors can expect to see a wide range of birds along the trail, such as American redstarts, winter wrens, blue-headed vireos, hooded mergansers, magnolia warblers, and much more.
With the growing popularity of birdwatching as a pastime, birding trails are developing around the state.
“Michigan’s a great place for birding,” said Pam Grassmick, project coordinator for the Beaver Island Birding Trail. “It’s getting to be known as a great birding destination, especially for rare and unique birds like piping plover and Kirtland’s warbler.”
The Beaver Island Birding Trail features 35 sites, some of them intended for observation from the road and others with walkable trails, and offers opportunities to see an array of migrating and resident birds.
“The island is situated in a major flyway, so we get many birds passing through, but some stay to nest,” Grassmick said.
The Beaver Island Birding Trail encompasses more than 12,000 acres of public land.
Visiting birders can explore the trail on their own or attend the island’s annual Warblers on the Water event, coming up May 24th through the 26th. The event includes guided birding trips and presentations.
“It’s great to watch someone experience their first bald eagle or snowy owl sighting,” Holly Vaughn, DNR wildlife communications coordinator, said. “Plus, the ducks look spectacular in their spring finery. It’s a really good time for everyone.”
Learn more about birding and other wildlife watching opportunities at Michigan.gov/MiWildlifeViewing.