Tagged in birds

August 1, 2018

Three Counties with Great Grouse Hunting

Wisconsin is arguably the best place in the country for ruffed grouse hunting.  The mix of older forests and newly cut over parcels gives birds the full array of foods they need to thrive. Ruffed grouse are found throughout the Badger State, but northern Wisconsin has the highest concentration. A trip into the northern forests in the fall can be quite rewarding for the grouse hunter.  Here are three of Wisconsin’s top grouse hunting counties.

Ruffed Grouse

Vilas County

With 240,000 acres of public forest land and a locals dedicated to promoting the sport, Vilas County is a fantastic place to hunt – public hunting opportunities are vast. See a list of public hunting areas open for grouse hunting in Vilas County. Ruffed grouse hunting in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest can be spectacular in the fall. The forest’s diverse, high-quality habitat provides everything grouse need to flourish. The hundreds of miles of old logging roads that run through the forest are the best place to start. When planning your hunt, look for sections of the forest that have areas that have recently been logged. These sections offer the greatest diversity of food sources and attract the most birds.

Oneida County

Oneida County also has a high concentration of ruffed grouse. The Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest dips down into northern Oneida County, offering outstanding hunting opportunities. But the best bet for a grouse hunter in Oneida County is hunting county land. Large tracts are located near the communities of Enterprise, Woodboro and Tripoli. These county lands have forests in various states of growth. Look for the best hunting along logging roads and the edges of large clearings.

Rusk County

Some of the finest ruffed grouse hunting in northern Wisconsin can be found in Rusk County. The mix of old and new hardwoods makes for ideal habitat. Hunters come from around the country to hunt grouse in Rusk County. The county forest land for hunting is located in the northwest corner of the county in an area known as the Blue Hills. With beautiful scenery and birds aplenty, it doesn’t get much better.

Update: Outdoorswoman Krysten Potega recently explored Rusk County. See her photos and tips.

 

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May 11, 2018

14th Annual Northwoods Birding Festival

The North Lakeland Discovery Center invites you to experience the best of birding in Wisconsin’s Northwoods during peak spring migration. Warbler walks, field trips, workshops and programs. Great for anyone interested in learning more about our feathered friends. Contact: Discovery Center, (715) 543-2085 or discoverycenter.net

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August 26, 2013

Get Ready for the Fall Migration: Fall Birdwatching Hotspots

Duck

Fall is a great time to see migrating birds in Wisconsin. Millions of birds pass through the state each fall on their trip south to their wintering grounds. By the time winter comes, more than 300 species will have passed through the state.

Canada geese are the most prominent migrant, leaving James Bay in Canada and staying in Wisconsin throughout the fall before making their way down to southern Illinois and beyond. Songbirds pass through Wisconsin in early fall, with warblers leaving long before the leaves begin to change color. Shorebirds arrive in September and spend a few weeks before cold weather pushes them south. Ducks begin to gather on lakes and ponds. Duck species include teal, mallard and widgeon as well as canvasback, bluebill, red-headed duck and bufflehead. Tundra swans make an appearance along the Mississippi River and on some larger lakes and wetlands. And, bald eagles, hawks and owls can be spotted moving southward as the season progresses.

Wisconsin offers a long list of refuges, parks and natural areas for birdwatching. Here are some of the state’s top fall birding destinations.

Pheasant Branch ConservancyMiddleton

This 550-acre nature area surrounded by neighborhoods is a birdwatching gem.

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge – Onalaska

Running for 261 miles along the river, this is the best place in America to see migrating waterfowl.

Dike 17 – Black River Falls

This wetland in the Black River State Forest is a top spot to see a wide range of bird species.

State Natural Areas – Vilas County

Choose from 29 different state natural areas for fall birdwatching.

Northern Highland–American Legion State ForestBoulder Junction

Birdwatchers can explore 230,000 acres of lakes, forests and wetlands.

Godfrey and Maybelle Erickson Audubon Park – Stevens Point

Discover this outstanding birding area located on McDill Pond.

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April 2, 2013

Welcome Home Waterfowl!

The arrival of spring means the return of millions of waterfowl to the lakes and wetlands of Wisconsin. Some birds, such as mallards, redheaded ducks, wood ducks and some Canada geese, stay in the state to nest and raise their families. Most waterfowl, however, are just stopping here to rest before heading to their breeding grounds further north.

In the spring, a Wisconsin birdwatcher has a chance to see a variety of birds they won’t see again until fall, when birds head back south to their wintering grounds.

Don’t miss the spring migration! Here are four great spots to see ducks, geese and other water-loving birds this spring.

Tundra Swans

Lake Onalaska — Onalaska

This 7,700-acre lake is actually a pool of the Mississippi River. It is located along the Mississippi River Flyway and attracts hundreds of bird species each year, including everything from bald eagles and white pelicans to ducks, geese and mergansers. Even tundra swans can be seen in the early spring.

Chicks

Lake Winnebago — Oshkosh

At 138,000 acres, Lake Winnebago is probably the best inland lake in the state for observing migrating waterfowl. Canvasbacks, bluebills, mallards and Canada geese all spend time here as they make their way north from their wintering grounds. Menominee Park on Oshkosh’s east side is a good place to see waterfowl on the big lake. You’ll also find boat launches throughout Oshkosh. Bring your binoculars!

Geese by Bob Mosier

George W. Mead Wildlife AreaStevens Point Area

At 33,000 acres, the George W. Mead Wildlife Area provides a lot of habitat for birds. Spring brings water to the wildlife area’s wetlands and flowages, attracting ducks, geese and many types of shorebirds and wading birds. Sandhill cranes are abundant. In total, 267 species of birds can be observed here.

Mama with Geese

Black River Country

Located in the Black River State Forest, this complex of wetlands provides a number of opportunities for seeing migrating waterfowl. Mallards, teal, wood ducks and shorebirds can be seen feeding in the ponds and sloughs. Several observation areas make birdwatching easy. It’s a great place to spend a few hours with your binoculars.

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March 11, 2013

Planning Your Spring Birdwatching: Season Preview

Egret Souring in Middleton

Even as the last snow clings to Wisconsin’s fields, forests and hills, birds across the continent are preparing to make their migration back to the Badger State. For birdwatchers, spring is an exciting time of the year. Here’s a preview of what to expect.

With snow still on the ground, large numbers of Canada geese begin to make their way to southern Wisconsin’s fields and waterways. On areas of open water, you’ll see flocks of coots and small groups of ducks. Backwater sloughs and small rivers attract many types of waterfowl.

By March, red-winged blackbirds and grackles can be seen in increasing numbers in southern Wisconsin, followed by sparrows and robins by the middle of March. The same sequence happens in northern Wisconsin two to three weeks later.

In April, bald eagles, osprey, falcons and other raptors can be seen passing through the state. Sandhill cranes will be heard trumpeting all across the land. In the southern part of the state, the calls of songbirds will be heard by mid-April. Songbirds arrive in the Northwoods by early- to mid-May.

These waves of songbirds include many species of warblers, which have traveled thousands of miles from Mexico, Central America and South America. April and May are prime time for seeing these neotropical beauties.

By mid-May, birders across Wisconsin are presented with a cornucopia of bird species. Birdwatchers can see everything from brilliantly colored orioles to common loons.

During the spring migration, every single day brings new birds. Grab your binoculars and head out into the field. The spring migration only happens once a year. Don’t miss it!

Some good spring birding spots:

 

 

 

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