A Birder's Guide to Michigan (2004)

A Birder's Guide to Michigan
Allen T. Chartier & Jerry Ziarno, eds.
American Birding Association (2004)
(800) 634-7736

Many birders come to Michigan with the intention of adding Kirtland's Warbler to their life lists - but the state should by no means be dismissed as a "one species wonder." Surrounded by four Great Lakes, Michigan boasts 3,000 miles of shoreline. Add the additional habitat afforded by 11,000 interior lakes, 36,000 miles of rivers and streams, and the largest state forest system in the nation, and it's not surprising that Michigan's official bird list now stands at 421 species.

Boreal breeders include such species as Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Purple Finch, and Red and White-winged Crossbills. Winter irruptions bring Northern Hawk, Great Gray, and Boreal Owls to the Upper Peninsula, and Snowy Owls statewide. And most winters at least one Gyrfalcon can be found hunting in the UP. A day of birding in May can produce a list of 20 or more warbler species, and summer breeders include Connecticut, Cerulean, and Yellow-throated Warblers, among others. Fall offers the spectacle of numerous loons, grebes, sea ducks, and jaegers at sites such as Whitefish Point, Presque Isle Lighthouse, Port Huron, Manistee, and Alpena, as well as thousands of migrating hawks on western Lake Erie.

A Birder's Guide to Michigan describes over 200 sites, with details on each site's birds, best seasons, and driving directions, accompanied by 200-plus maps. Thoroughly researched bar graphs describe the seasonal status and abundance of the state's regularly occurring species, and an annotated list of specialties will guide birders to some of North America's most sought-after species. A bonus is an appendix listing the state's amphibians and reptiles, butterflies and dragonflies, mammals, and orchids - Michigan is home to a stunning and sometimes rare assortment of these gorgeous plants.


Corrections and Updates

If you have any corrections or updates to this guide, please contact one of the editors:

Allen T. Chartier (amazilia1@comcast.net)

Jerry Ziarno (gziarno@aol.com)

Additional sites, which could not be published due to space considerations, or were inadvertently overlooked, can be published in the state journal Michigan Birds and Natural History.  Contact Allen Chartier if you would like to write a site guide for publication.

Posted February 22, 2010

Page 78-79 (text and map)
Name of locale should be changed to Ann Arbor Landfill/Wheeler Service Center in text and on map. Since the area is now being managed as grassland in some areas, birding in summer can be worthwhile, with Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Field and Savannah Sparrows some of the birds that may be seen. When the Washtenaw Audubon Society offers field trips into this area from time to time, very special priviledges are extended and birders get to stroll on top of the capped areas and park in very convenient sites. Normally this kind of access is not allowed. Birders are always welcome to visit the site during regular business hours. Times on non-holiday weekdays have changed (see below). There are certain rules that all visitors to the site are expected to follow:

1. All site visitors MUST first check in at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) Scalehouse every time they are on site, and must park only in designated areas at the MRF.

2. Site access hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday-Friday on non-holiday weeks. Closed on all holidays. All visitors must be off the site before 4 p.m. The front gate at 4120 Platt Road will be locked at all other time. The site may be open on some Saturday mornings until noon (April to June only).

3. Visitors must drive only on roads and park only in designated parking lots or pre-approved areas. Do not drive or park on the shoulders of paved roads.

4.  No open firs, smoking, or hunting are allowed at any time.

5.  No dumping or removal of items, including vegetation or compost, are allowed.

6.  Visitors must demonstrate extreme caution around equipment and operations at all times. Do not touch or obstruct equipment or otherwise interfere with site operators.

(Dea Armstrong)

Page 251 (Kirtland's Warbler Tours)
The U.S. Forest Service station has moved, and is now located at 107 McKinley Road. Driving northbound on M-33, pass McDonald's, go down the hill and turn right (east) onto McKinley Road. Turn left into the first driveway and you'll see the new station tucked into the woods (Karen Markey, Allen Chartier).

Page 290 (map)
Site numbers in legend for 17 is overlapped with other numbers (Allen Chartier).

Page 307
Delete portion of sentence "and you will soon see one of the last old groves of American Chestnut trees in Michigan." Also delete the next two sentences. Unfortunately, it appears that these trees all died sometime before my visit there in 2009 (Allen Chartier).

Page 329 (text and map)
Father Marquette Memorial is on the right side of S. Lakeshore Drive when going north, not on the left side (Dave Dister).

Page 404
Correct DeLorme reference to Page 27, A4 and the Lat/Long to 42*24' N, 86*17' W (Greg Bodker).

Page 520
Insert "(uncommon)" after Alder Flycatcher and Brown Thrasher in first paragraph (Greg Cleary). Other interesting birds that nest here include Wood Duck, Virginia Rail, Green Heron, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Wood Thrush, and Northern Waterthrush. Also possibly insert that the area bird list currently (Cleary 2009) stands at 173 species. Add to second paragraph that the area is also locally famous for its orchids, of which at least 17 species have been recorded to date. Website needs to be updated at end of paragraph, as it is now www.fumeelakes.org

Posted January 28, 2008

A very useful Google Map file that pinpoints every one of the 280+ locations described in A Birder's Guide to Michigan was created some time ago by Karen Cleveland (Michigan DNR). It is really nice and I have gotten permission from ABA to post it on a website where everyone can access it. This file can be accessed by clicking here. You need Google Earth to read it, which can be downloaded free from: http://earth.google.com/ ).

Page 180 (map)
Roads in this area are often poorly marked, and there are some errors on the map. Cucumber Road is actually Cumber Road. Minden Road does not continue south of Russell Road. 
(Jan Palland)

Page 206 (map)
From location A, there is now a dike going east which separates the "East Pool" into two ponds. Also, the trail along the east side of the East Pool is very broken up and difficult to follow now. This new dike has been good for Least Bittern and Yellow-headed Blackbird recently, and the east end of this dike can be good for migrant warblers.
(Ed Lewandowski, Allen Chartier)

Page 217
All maps show something different. Brownell Road may actually be signposted Woods Road, and the habitat there may now be too old for Kirtland's Warblers. The map on page 216 should also be corrected.
(Brian Allen, Jerry Ziarno)

Page 235  
In the description for Gordon Turner Park, it states that it is located northwest of the mouth of the Black River.  It should read "at the mouth of the Cheboygan River."  The river name is correct on the map on p. 234.
(Jerry Ziarno)

Page 252
The first two bullet pointed Kirtland's Warbler areas should have a reference to the map on page 242 where both locations are shown. In summer 2006, "Watson and Deyarmond Valley Roads" was good habitat with warblers present, but "the Mack Lake area" was too old and did not have warblers. The third bullet point, "North Down River Road" has caused some confusion. It is also designated  as CO F32, and is signposted as F32. The map on page 253 shows F32 going east from I-75. 
(Brian Allen, Jerry Ziarno)

Page 292-293
The Sutton's Bay Sewage Ponds were under construction in mid-2006 with the word that they were planning to fill the ponds in completely.
(Joseph E. Faggan)

Page 409-410
There is now a charge to park at Tiscornia Beach, and that may also apply to Silver Beach County Park.
(Chris Barrigar)

Page 414
The New Buffalo Public Beach parking now costs $5 per entry between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m.. Only New Buffalo residents are allowed to purchase a year pass.
(Jonathan Wuepper, Madeline Johnston)

Page 482 & 483 (A on map)
As of July 2007, FR 3344 is now marked as the George Roberta Ellis memorial trail.
(Patti and Jerry Calvert)


Posted February 8, 2006

Page 481
In the second paragraph replace '"take Exit 173 (Rudyard exit)" with "take Exit 373 (Rudyard exit)".
(Todd Palgut)


Posted January 27, 2006

Page 35
The mileage scale on the map for Lake Lansing (SE-4) The distance shown on the scale bar is actually 1 mile, not 10 miles.
(Allen Chartier)


Posted December 6, 2005

Page 198, 229, 239, 253
The state highway shown on the maps on all these pages as 66 should actually be 65.
(Todd Palgut)

Page 568
The correct phone number for Grandpa's Barn is (906-289-4377).
(Jerry Ziarno)


Posted October 3, 2005

Page 173
The exit number off of I-69 is 196, not 198.
(Jacco Gelderloos)

Page 340
The Fremont Sewage Ponds have not been open to birders  for some time. Delete this site from the Guide until further notice.
(Bob Tarte/Bill Sweetman/Janet Skeberdis)

Page 416
The 52 acres recently received as a gift by the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (see original posting/correction below) has now been named the Kesling Nature Preserve.  Pedestrian access onto this property is via a foot path leading north from the east side of the bridge where there is a small parking area and a gate.
(Allen Chartier)

Page 568
Local Copper Harbor birder Jim Rooks passed away in the spring of 2005. Delete the second to last paragraph on this page, which reads "Guided minivan tours led by an experienced and cheerful local birder, Jim Rooks, can be arranged at the Laughing Loon Gift Shop in Copper Harbor (906-289-4813)."
(Allen Chartier/Jerry Ziarno/Laurence Binford)

Inside back cover
Clare County is misspelled on the color map.
(Allen Chartier/Jerry Ziarno)


Posted January 14, 2005

Page 68
The URL for the Stinchfield Woods web page has been changed to: : www.si.umich.edu/~ylime/stinchfield.html
(Karen Markey)


Posted January 12, 2005

Inside back cover
On map, delete location number 42 (in Livingston County) and on the Map Key to the left change 42 to 43.
(Lyle Hamilton)

Page 24
The Saginaw Bay Birding website is shown incorrectly.  It should be www.saginawbaybirding.org.
(Joe Soehnel)

Page 129
The Michigan Welcome Center has been closed.
(Allen Chartier)

Page 202
Under "Karn Plant", the Saginaw Bay Birding website is shown incorrectly.  It should be www.saginawbaybirding.org.
(Joe Soehnel)

Page 241
Under NE-21 The Mio Area, change the parenthetical page reference to "(see page 249)".
(Brian Allen)

Page 416
The Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy recently received 52 acres on the north side of Forest Lawn Road near the bridge over the South Branch of the Galien River as a gift. This new preserve has not yet been named.  Pedestrian access onto this property will be via a foot path leading north from the east side of the bridge .
(Nate Fuller)