Bird Watching

Eagle necked ducks
Wood pecker hole in tree
Chickadee
Great Blue Heron
Swan River
Duckie with babies
Ducks lillies
White Crowned Sparrow

Birding

The Hiawatha Sportsman’s Club’s 35,000 acres provide a richly diverse habitat that invites birds and people who enjoy observing them.  In addition to a variety of breeding birds and year-round residents, we host large numbers of spring and fall migrants who make appearances on their way to their wintering and breeding grounds.  More than 200 bird species have been recorded in or near the Club. How many of these can you find from the list below?

The HSC is part of the Northern Hardwoods-Conifer region, which includes a number of different habitats: the northernmost shoreline of Lake Michigan, inland lakes, beach, river, marsh, mature coniferous forest, mature hardwoods, abandoned fields with shrubs and tall grasses.  Each habitat attracts different species.  The club is only one hour from Lake Superior, which provides yet another and different Great Lakes habitat.


Getting started

Sit quietly.  Start by looking and listening, what do you hear?  Everyone has heard birds singing and calling, but birds make a wide variety of sounds, from drumming to rustling of leaves to the flapping of wings. Often, these sounds are just as important in identifying the birds around you, and can lead you to some you were not even aware were there. Although no equipment is essential, good field glasses permit a closer examination of details that aid identification. Also useful any time you are in the field: sunglasses, bug spray, water bottle, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes for walking/hiking/wading. Throughout the year, early morning and dusk are the best times to see birds.  The greatest numbers of birds and the most species can be seen during spring and fall migrations.

 

Resources:

Experienced birders are happy to share their expertise with other club members.  The club office is developing a list of members willing to answer questions. Call to volunteer or to find a resource. 

Field guides are useful and available to borrow from the club’s Museum Library.  The club office also keeps a copy of the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America. Recommended field guides include Birds of Michigan, Ted Black and Gregory Kennedy, Lone Pine Publishing, 2003; National Audubon Society The Sibley Guide to Birds, D. A. Sibley, Alfred A. Knopf, 2000; Golden Field Guides Birds of North America, Chandler S. Robbins, Bertel Bruun and Hebert S. Zim, St. Martin’s Press, 2001.

Museums and Interpretive Centers. Examining specimens of birds up close allows birders to make close comparisons that are difficult in the field.  The HSC museum displays some of the birds commonly seen at the club. Nearby Seney National Wildlife Refuge offers displays and local experts.

Seney National Wildlife Refuge provides a wealth of information for novice and experienced birders alike.  http://www.fws.gov/refuge/seney/  Seney’s headquarters, 2 miles north of Germfask, is a rich mosaic of marshes, swamps, bogs, grasslands, and forests, open to visitors year around.  Nearly two-thirds of the Refuge is wetland.  Seney NWR is known for its abundance of trumpeter swans, common loons, bald eagles, osprey and sandhill cranes. Other familiar favorites include the American bittern, rails, and numerous warbler species. The Visitor Center is open May 15 to October 20 each year.  The refuge includes an excellent interpretive center and hosts a variety of programs every summer.  Also near us is the Whitefish Point Unit (53 acres) of the refuge, about 11 miles north of Paradise, Michigan, with gravel beaches, sandy beach dunes and stunted jack pine-dominated forest. The Point is renowned for its concentrations of birds during migration.  Each year thousands of raptors, passerines (perching birds) and water birds funnel through the point to cross Lake Superior.  

The Whitefish Point Bird Observatory. http://www.wpbo.org/ documents spring and fall migrations and offers a variety of activities and programs about birds and the ecology of the area. 

Other useful websites:

The Michigan Chapter of the National Audubon Society: http://www.michiganaudubon.org/
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds:  http://www.allaboutbirds.org

And for I-phone and I-pad users: http://www.sibleyguides.com/2013/02/updated-app-for-iphone/

BIRDS COMMON TO HSC

American Crow Ameican Golden- Plover American Goldfinch Ameican Pipit
American Robin American Tree Sparrow American Wigeon Blad Eagle
Black Scoter Black-capped Chickadee Black-legged Kittiwake Blue Jay
Bohemian Waxwing Bonaparte's Gull Bufflehead Cedar Waxwing
Chipping Sparrow Common Goldeneye Common Grackle Common Loon
Common Merganser Common Raven Common Yellowthroat Dark-eyed Junco
Downy Woodpecker Dunlin European Starling Evening Grosbeak
Glaucous Gull Great Black-backed Gull Greater Scaup Hairy Woodpecker
Harlequin Duck Herring Gull Hooded Merganser Horned Grebe
Horned Lark House Sparrow Lapland Longspur Lesser Scaup
Long-tailed Duck Mallard Merlin Mourning Dove
Northern Goshawk Northern Harrier Northern Pintail Northern Shrike
Pine Siskin Purple Finch Red Crossbill Red-breasted Merganser
Red-breasted Nuthatch Redhead Red-necked Grebe Red-throated Loon
Red-winged Blackbird Ring-billed Gull Ring-necked Duck Rough-legged Hawk
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Sharp-shinned Hawk Snow Bunting Snowy Owl
Surf Scoter Swamp Sparrow Townsend's Solitaire Townsend's Solitaire
White-winged Scoter Winter Wren Yellow-rumped Warbler