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Spring birding tours at Michigan’s Wetland Wonders

Nothing says spring like the “conk-a-ree” call of a red-winged blackbird or the raucous sounds of a sandhill crane. Celebrate spring and explore Michigan’s wetlands with a birding tour at one of the Wetland Wonders – or managed waterfowl areas – around the state.

Highlights of the birding tours may include diving and dabbling ducks in full breeding plumage, trumpeter and tundra swans, osprey, bald eagles, sandhill cranes, and many others. Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife staff members and volunteers from Ducks Unlimited and Audubon Clubs will lead the tours, which may include a “sneak peek” driving tour into refuge areas that normally are closed.

The birding tours will be held on the following dates:

March 17 at 8 a.m. – St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area, 3857 Columbine Road, Harsens Island; 810-748-9504

March 24 at 9 a.m. – Fish Point State Game Area, 7750 Ringle Road, Unionville; 989-674-2511

March 31 at 9 a.m. – Fennville Farm Unit of the Allegan State Game Area, 6013 118th Ave., Fennville; 269-673-2430

April 7 at 9 a.m. – Maple River State Game Area, southwest corner of South Baldwin and Crapo roads in Washington Township, east of U.S. 127; 616-446-0555

April 7 at 9 a.m. – Shiawassee River State Game Area, 225 East Spruce St., St. Charles; 989-865-6211

April 14 at 9 a.m. – Muskegon County Wastewater System, meet at the Muskegon State Game Area Office, 7600 E. Messinger Road, Twin Lake; 231-788-5055

April 14 at 9 a.m. – Pointe Mouillee State Game Area, 37025 Mouillee Road, Rockwood; 734-379-9692

April 14 at 9 a.m. – Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area, 1570 Tower Beach Road, Pinconning; 989-697-5101

If you have questions about bird tours, please contact the appropriate office at the phone number listed above. Most tours will meet at the area’s headquarters building. Please dress for the weather and bring binoculars. Spotting scopes are also helpful for long-range viewing. The ground may be quite muddy and wet, so plan to wear boots.

Michigan’s Wetland Wonders are the seven premier managed waterfowl hunt areas in the state: Fennville Farm Unit at the Allegan State Game Area (Allegan County), Fish Point State Wildlife Area (Tuscola County), St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area on Harsens Island (St. Clair County), Muskegon County Wastewater Facility (Muskegon County), Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area (Bay County), Pointe Mouillee State Game Area (Monroe and Wayne counties) and Shiawassee River State Game Area (Saginaw County). To learn more about Michigan’s Wetland Wonders, visit michigan.gov/wetlandwonders.