Whether you’re a seasoned birder or just want to see something amazing, the spring migration at Horicon Marsh is an aerial display you won’t want to miss
The spring and fall migrations are annual events that birdwatchers live for. The spring migration, in particular, is like the world-series of birdwatching.
Occurring after the long winter months and when most birds are adorned in their peak plumage, the spring migration is the very best time to be out in the fields, forests and marshes with your binoculars. And the absolute best place in southern Wisconsin to witness the migration is the Horicon Marsh in Dodge County.
The northern half of the Horicon Marsh is protected as a National Wildlife Refuge and is maintained for optimal habitat maintenance. The refuge was originally established as a nesting area for the redhead duck, which has flourished in the optimal habitat afforded by the marsh. But what was good for the redheads was good for other hundreds of other bird species as well. During the course of a typical year, nearly 300 types of birds either visit or live on the marsh.
April is the peak of the spring migration at Horicon Marsh. New species are arriving and departing the marsh on a daily basis. Depending on the day, you’ll have a chance to see bald eagles, osprey, a variety of rails, numerous warblers, numerous species of diving ducks and puddle ducks, and several species of shorebirds. For birders looking to cross off some birds on their lifetime list, Horicon in April is the place to be.
One of the best features of the Horicon Marsh is the variety of ways birders can enjoy the marsh.
The refuge has a number of observation areas and trails to choose from, including the Horicon TernPike Auto Tour in the northwest quadrant of the marsh, just off Hwy 49. A short drive or hike on the TernPike will take you to the floating boardwalk, where birdwatchers are afforded a water-level view of some of the best wetland birdwatching east of the Mississippi River.
Guided pontoon boat tours are available at the south end of the marsh in the City of Horicon from Horicon Marsh Boat Tours. And the Horicon Marsh International Education Center, located at the south end of the marsh between the communities of Mayville and Horicon, offers information on both birding and other ecological features of the marsh.