400-mile birding trail opens in Upper Peninsula

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A 400-mile birding trail with 40 stops in four eastern Upper Peninsula counties recently opened to the public after five years of planning.

Birders have a new opportunity for exploration with the Shore-to-Shore Birding Trail. The self-guiding driving route features points to spot up to 10 species of owls, three species of grouse, warblers and many perching birds. Birdwatchers might even see endangered piping plovers and Kirtland’s warblers.

“It is no secret that Michigan is home to many natural wonders and diverse bird species, making it a location that birdwatchers, also known as birders, flock to,” said Jayne Roohr, a DNR wildlife technician at Newberry.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, along with a list of partners, began developing the trail in 2017. It opened in August with a ribbon cutting in Paradise.

The first section of the Shore-to-Shore Birding Trail traverses the Lake Superior shoreline from Sault Ste. Marie to Whitefish Point, which is considered Michigan’s premier birding destination with waterbirds, songbirds, shorebirds and raptors passing through during fall and spring migrations. From Whitefish Point, the trail turns southeast through forests, bogs and grasslands. It passes through several communities, including St. Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, Bay Mills, Newberry, Seney, Engadine, Naubinway, Trout Lake, Brevort and Epoufette.

The website for the trail offers an interactive map with detailed information on stops, birding tips, links to important birding aids like a checklist of U.P. bird species, and links for local travel and tourism organizations.

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