The Sunset Coast Birding Trail invites you to join in a Spring Migration Celebration.

Several birding related activities are schedule from May 19- May 25 in Antrim, Charlevoix and Emmet counties to celebrate spring bird migration.  Activities include a Birding 101 program, a live raptor show, several bird walks at well-known birding locations and botany hikes. This is a great time of year to see and learn more about migrating songbirds and experience several beautiful areas in northern Michigan.  All programs are free and open to the public, although registration is appreciated.  Scroll down to see a list of events and for registration.

Schedule of Events


Waldron Fen

May 19 @ 8:30 am – 10:30 am

Kenyon Stebbins, former Petoskey Audubon president, will host a leisurely walk at this beautiful preserve.  This hidden jewel is located near the east end of Pickerel Lake, not far from Alanson.  Meet at the parking lot off of the north-south section of Banwell Rd. along the east edge of the preserve.

We’ll explore the loop trail for migrating and resident birds, and enjoy a variety of habitats including wetlands, grasslands, and pine woods.  Allow 2-3 hours and dress for the weather.  Optional brunch in Alanson after.

Rain date will be May 20 @ 8:30 am -10:30 am.

For additional details visit: https://sunsetcoastbirdingtrail.org/event/waldron-fen/

Birding 101

May 20 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Have you wanted to learn how to become a “birder” but have never really known where to start?  This is your chance to learn introductory birding skills in the classroom. Petoskey Regional Audubon Society President Darrell Lawson will teach an introduction to birding class at the Boyne District Library and then, weather permitting, the group will head to a nearby park to listen and look for migrating and resident birds. We will cover field guide choose and use a field guide, how to select and then get the best performance from your binoculars, tips for learning bird vocalizations, and identification pitfalls and how to avoid them.  Bring your own binoculars if you have them, but loaner binoculars will be made available if you do not.

For additional details visit: https://sunsetcoastbirdingtrail.org/event/birding-101/

Birding The Oden Fish Hatchery

May 21 @ 8:00 am – 10:00 am

Explore the trails at the Oden Fish Hatchery in search of migrating and nesting birds. We will bird the evergreen and deciduous woodlands, as well
as ponds, wetland habitats, and open areas near the hatchery buildings. Most trails are flat and broad. Allow 2- 3 hours but participants are free to
leave at any time.

For additional details visit: https://sunsetcoastbirdingtrail.org/event/birding-the-oden-fish-hatchery/


Wings of Wonder – Live Raptors!

May 21 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Sunset Coast Birding Trail is pleased to present a live raptor program by Rebecca Lessard of Wings of Wonder on Monday, May 21 at 7pm in the Boyne District Library.

The event is family friendly, free and open to the public. The Boyne District Library is located at 201 E. Main St., Boyne City. A $5 donation per person is encouraged.

Live raptors will accompany this program so audience members have the opportunity for a close up look at these magnificent birds. A hands-on display of raptor artifacts including wings, talons, feathers, pellets, and photos are also available at each presentation.

Wings of Wonder is a raptor sanctuary and rehabilitation center in Empire, Michigan, dedicated to educating, rehabilitating and increasing overall public awareness about wildlife, ecology and environmental issues as they relate to raptors.

For additional details visit: https://sunsetcoastbirdingtrail.org/event/wings-of-wonder/

Pond Hill Farm Bird Walk

May 22 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Pond Hill Farm is located approx. 5 miles northwest of Harbor Springs on M-119.  The leisurely-paced walks on flat farm lanes will last about 2 hours, but participants are free to come and go as their schedules allow. We’ll be sharing the wonders of spring migration throughout the month, a great reason to get outdoors on a spring morning and enjoy the season’s changes up close.   Bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them, and dress for the weather, and wear sturdy shoes that you don’t mind getting wet and/or muddy.  Participants will receive a checklist of Emmet County birds, and loaner binoculars will be available.

For additional details visit: https://sunsetcoastbirdingtrail.org/event/pond-hill-farm-bird-walk/

Birds and Blooms Hike at Grass River Natural Area

May 22 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Go for a relaxing stroll on the trails with GRNA docent Julie Hurd to find and identify the beautiful and unique wildflowers at Grass River.  Along the way we will listen and look for the birds that call Grass River home.  Donations requested.

For additional details visit: https://sunsetcoastbirdingtrail.org/event/birds-and-blooms-hike-at-grass-river-natural-area/

Botany Hike at Antrim Creek Natural Area

May 23 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Join Angie Lucas, staff ecologist at the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy on a botanical hike along the trails at Antrim Creek Natural Area on Wednesday May 23rd at 1pm-3pm.  This floristically diverse Natural Area is owned and managed by Antrim County, and is home to unique flora of Great Lakes shoreline and wooded dune and swale habitat.  This moderate hike will be  held rain or shine.

For additional details visit: https://sunsetcoastbirdingtrail.org/event/botany-hike-at-antrim-creek-natural-area/

Evening Birding at the Lawson’s

May 23 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Join Petoskey Regional Audubon Society president Darrell Lawson at his parents’ property near Charlevoix for recurring evenings of birding at the Lawson’s.  The Lawson’s and the surround area features a wide range of habitats that attract a large diversity of bird species as they both migrate through and settle down for the nesting season.  Expect to see Hawks, Falcons, Warblers, Blackbirds, Ducks, Geese, Vireos, Sparrows, and many more.  A few highlight species that the property hosted in the last couple of springs include: Sora, American Bittern, Red-headed Woodpecker, Summer Tanager, Northern Mockingbird, Clay-colored Sparrow, Canada Warbler, and more…

This event is also a potluck, so bring a dish to pass, something to grill, and whatever drinks you enjoy.  In addition, bring a folding chair for dinner/feeder watching, binoculars, a spotting scope if you have one, and a field guide.  Loaner binoculars will be made available to those who need them.   The land can be kind of swampy during this time of the year, so waterproof footwear is also highly recommended.

For additional details visit: https://sunsetcoastbirdingtrail.org/event/evening-birding-at-the-lawsons/

Spring Lake Park Bird Walk

May 24 @ 7:30 am – 9:30 am

Meet at the gazebo, and we’ll walk the flat trails, boardwalk, and paved rail trail along Mud Lake to Round Lake. Loaner binoculars will be available.  The leisurely-paced walks will last about 2 hours, but participants are free to come and go as their schedules allow. We’ll be sharing the wonders of spring migration, a great reason to get outdoors on a spring morning and enjoy the season’s changes up close.   Bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them, and dress for the weather.  Participants will receive a checklist of Emmet County birds, and loaner binoculars will be available.

For additional details visit: https://sunsetcoastbirdingtrail.org/event/spring-lake-park-bird-walk/

Bird Hike at the Rogers Family Homestead Preserve

May 24 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

The Rogers Family Homestead Preserve, along the Jordan River, offers a strong mixture of habitat that is sought after by both migrating and breeding birds.  Darrell Lawson, current president of PRAS, will be on hand to identify the birds that we see and hear and to answer any questions that may come up.  Meet at the parking area on the south end of the preserve off of Roger’s Road.  Plan for a gentle, slow paced hike for approximately two hours.  For those who wish, we will plan on dinner at a restaurant in East Jordan afterwards.  Loaner binoculars will be made available.

For additional details visit: https://sunsetcoastbirdingtrail.org/event/bird-hike-at-the-rogers-family-homestead-preserve/

Bird Sitting at the Ransom Nature Preserve

May 25 @ 8:00 am – 10:00 am

This hilltop preserve with splendid views offers a delightful mixture of habitats, which allows it to support a wide diversity of bird species. Scarlet Tanagers and Indigo Buntings have been regular in the past.  Great-crested Flycatcher nested at this location in recent years.  Rose-breasted grosbeak, various woodpeckers, various sparrows and even some warblers are all possibilities.  Plan to spend approximately an hour and a half watching birds in the canopy from near the parking area.  Feel free to bring a camp chair.  Loaner binoculars will be available.  A scope will be on hand to bring birds in closer.

For additional details visit: https://sunsetcoastbirdingtrail.org/event/sitting-at-the-ransom-nature-preserve/


While signing up for individual events is not required, we do appreciate knowing where you are coming from.  Please take a moment to fill out the form below.  Thank you!

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