Guided tours to the Kirtland’s Warbler nesting areas depart from the USDA Forest Service Office in Mio, Michigan and from Grayling, Michigan.
Tours offered by the USDA Forest Service depart from Mio, Michigan. Tours are conducted daily from May 15 through June 20. Tours start promptly at 7:00 a.m. each day and last 2 to 3 hours. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour. The Forest Service tour cost $10.00 per person under the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program. Tours for children under 18 years old are free. Eighty percent of these funds will stay in the Forest to help cover the cost associated with the tours.
Tours offered by the USDI Fish and Wildlife Service and Michigan Audubon leave from Grayling, Michigan. Grayling is approximately 30 miles/ minutes west of Mio. These tours are offered daily at 7:00 a.m. from May 15 through July 4. A tour will also be offered at 11:00 am on weekends and holidays during this time frame. This tour is free of charge and lasts 1 – 2 hours. For more information on this tour and its 2014 location, contact the Michigan Audubon at the address below.
Tours begin with a brief introduction on the Kirtland’s Warbler. Participants then follow the tour guide in their own vehicles to field site (15 minutes away from office) to try to see a singing male. The nesting areas are closed to public entry, so the best opportunity to see a Kirtland’s Warbler is on the guided tour. Chances of seeing a Kirtland’s Warbler on the tour are typically greater than 90%. The number of tour participants ranges from 1 to 30, with fewer people participating on weekdays.
The best time to see the Kirtland’s Warbler is from May 15 to June 10. Upland sandpipers, clay-colored sparrows, Brewer’s blackbirds, Nashville warblers, Eastern bluebirds, Lincoln’s and vesper sparrows can possibly be seen in the Kirtland’s Warbler nesting areas.
Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars or a spotting scope. Cameras are allowed, but special efforts will not be made for photographers. Tape recorders, pets and smoking are not allowed. Early morning tours are often cold, so a warm jacket may make you more comfortable. Black flies are abundant in the nesting areas, so insect repellent, a hat and light colored clothing are suggested.
No reservations are necessary for individuals or small groups, but groups of five or more are urged to contact the appropriate office for reservations.
Other activities include the Jack Pine Wildlife Viewing Tour, a 58-mile self-guided auto tour through the scenic Au Sable River valley and Jack Pine ecosystem (chances of seeing a Kirtland’s Warbler on the auto tour are slim). For additional information, contact:
Mio’s Kirtland’s Warbler & Jack Pine Wildlife Viewing Tours:
USDA Forest Service, Mio Ranger District
107 McKinley Rd.
Mio, MI 48647
Phone: (989) 826-3252,
Grayling’s Kirtland’s Warbler Tour:
Phone: (517) 641-4277
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