8 Michigan Destinations Perfect for Watching Wildlife
Michigan is known for having a variety of interesting fauna, including moose, cougars, bears, birds, deer and so much more. Birding is an especially popular hobby in the Great Lakes state and is steadily growing each year. However, we can’t forget about all the other species of animals that you can watch and admire here. Animal sanctuaries provide great learning opportunities for animal lovers of all ages. Here are a few cool places to visit across the state that are great for birding and animal watching.
1. Saginaw Bay Birding Trail – Saginaw Bay AreaFirst up, the Saginaw Bay Birding Trail is a fantastic place to see a large variety of birds. On the Sunrise Coast, it runs from Port Crescent State Park to Tawas Point State park, covering 142 miles. The distinct change in seasons and habitats makes it easier to see a variety of over 200 species of birds. Be sure to check out the Tawas Point Birding Festival each spring.
Manistee to Traverse City, this trail is home to a diverse habitat and miles of shoreline. The Piping Plover, an endangered shorebird, has a home here due to the long sections of beach. Check it out and consider joining their eBird movement, where you can help provide your own bird photos and manage their database of sightings and early and late arrival dates.
This sanctuary is for Upper Peninsula black bears, with the forest and nearby lake perfect for them to roam. These bears were orphaned or abused and now live out their lives on the safety of the ranch. Visitors can see them up close and learn about them.
6. Deer Ranch - Saint IgnaceThe Deer Ranch is a great opportunity to see many types of deer including whitetails, white whitetails and even albino deer! First established in 1950, the Deer Ranch is the oldest live whitetail exhibit in North America. The ranch allows visitors to feed, pet and photograph the deer, maybe even bottle feed a fawn. Be sure to visit if you have always been fascinated by our Michigan deer and want to see them up close!
8. Elk Viewing - Pigeon River Country State Forest
Michigan’s wild elk herd is flourishing, with over 1,000 elk living in an 105,000-acre area in the northeast Lower Peninsula. This fall, when you’re looking to get away, take a trip up to the Pigeon River Country State Forest near Gaylord and see if you can catch a glimpse of a Michigan’s majestic elk! The Pigeon River Country State Forest is home to hundreds of elk, where forests are managed or cut with purpose. Managed forests provide year round food sources and are diverse in the types and ages, which is effectively controlled with timber cutting. Hundreds of acres of openings planted to cover elk and other wildlife enjoy, and are great places to view elk.