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.
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.
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!
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.
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.