This rare and endangered bird is cautiously making a comeback on the Lake Superior shoreline within the birding trail. Monitored and protected, the piping plover has had successful breeding seasons on beaches near Whitefish Point.
Kirtland's Warbler is a special management bird for the State of Michigan, with the area around Grayling, MI being the traditional protected breeding grounds. For several years, there has been a growing population of breeding Kirkland Warblers in the Upper Peninsula. Whether part of a natural cycle, or the result of climate change, the endangered warbler is expanding northward. see notes here
QUICK FACTS - Kirtland's warbler
•Nests on the ground under living jack pine branches. •Adults are lightweight birds, weighing a half ounce. •Breeding males have blue-gray plumage with black streaks. •Spends the fall and winter seasons in the Bahamas. •Diet includes many insect species and ripe blueberries. •Cowbird management is necessary for the Kirtland's warbler's survival
This rare and endangered species is known as the rarest species of Warblers. Kirtland's Warbler belongs to the family Parulidae or Wood Warbler family. At six inches long, it is the size of the House Sparrow. Its color is a bluish gray above with black streaks. Below, it is yellow with black streaks or spots that are found on the sides. The male and female are similar but the female is more faded in color. A black mask can be seen on the male at close observation. A good field identification is the bobbing tail.
Spruce grouse are fully protected in Michigan and, because they are rare, are listed on the Special Concern list. To see one in its natural habitat provides an enriching experience for anyone so lucky.
Spruce Grouse is a species on the “most wanted” list for many birders and can be difficult to find on
your own. Whitefish Point Bird Observatory sponsors field trips with this species as one targeted species.
Michigan often sits on the northern edge of the range for a number of species. For the black-backed woodpecker, Michigan sits on the southern edge. This woodpecker, was also known as the three-toed arctic woodpecker, is primarily found in northern boreal forests.
The Yellow Rail has been described as the most difficult bird to observe in North America. They spend most of their time in thick marshy vegetation, and even if disturbed, will only rarely flush in weak, short flights.
Habitat: Prefers large very shallow marshes and wet meadows during summer breeding, especially those with thick vegetation of grasses and sedges. Primarily found in coastal salt marsh during the winter.
Diet: Diet isn't well known, but insects, snails, small crustaceans, seeds, and earthworms probably make up a large portion of the diet.
Behavior: Rarely ever is found away from thick wetland vegetation. Strongly prefers to walk or run through vegetation rather than flying, and appears to be weak in flight if it does flush.
Song: Simple tick-tick-tick-tick, easily simulated by clicking two coins together.
Migration: Summers throughout much of Canada, the extreme northern Great Plains, and the Great Lakes region.