Madeline Island, a Birding Destination

sandhill-cranesWhat is a Bird City?

Healthy communities are the sum of many parts, including birds. Bird City Wisconsin mobilizes citizens and public officials who already know that
birds are more than beautiful – they are significant.

A Bird City is a community whose government educates its citizens about birds while implementing sound conservation practices. Bird City Wisconsin provides highly-visible public recognition to these communities, and guidance on future actions, to make Bird Cities better habitat for birds and people.

Together, we can make a difference!

For the 80% of Americans that live in urban areas enjoying nature often means watching birds. Urban dwellers may encounter Canada Geese, Ring-billed Gulls, and Mourning Doves, but careful observation can also reveal Common Nighthawks circling the skies or a Screech Owl perched in the backyard.

Bird City Wisconsin, which is modeled on The Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA, was created by a coalition of Wisconsin conservation and birding organizations to ensure that Wisconsin’s urban residents maintain healthy populations of birds and grow an appreciation for them.

Bird City encourages its communities to address the decline of urban birds like the Chimney Swift and Purple Martin, species that have declined in Wisconsin by 32.3%and 92.7%, respectively, over the last 40 years. We support our communities in their e orts to protect and manage green space, build and erect nesting structures, landscape with native plants, reduce threats like collisions, and generally make urban areas friendlier for breeding, wintering, and migrating birds.

pdf_icon What is Bird City Wisconsin?

Birding on Madeline Island

Whether you’re a seasoned expert or a budding novice, Madeline Island’s unique habitats are sure to astound with miles of picturesque shoreline, sandy beaches, cliffs and caves, and deep and wild habitats. Visit Madeline Island where conservation efforts in places like the Madeline Island Wilderness Preserve, with 2,600 acres of land, provides excellent bird and wildlife viewing. The largest parcels are at the South end of the island, close to town, and at the far North end of the island, where the very first land in the preserve is located. Other opportunities include Big Bay Town Park and Big Bay Lagoon which is adjacent to Big Bay State Park. The Big Bay area on Madeline Island provides a unique wildlife viewing area with expansive views of Lake Superior and miles of wetland habitat in the Big Bay Lagoon, creating a unique two-fold environment that provides ample wildlife viewing opportunities any time of year.

Seasonality of Birds

A great deal of wildlife viewing and bird watching in particular, depends upon timing. Spring is the perfect time to spot the returning Red-Winged Blackbird, Sandhill Crane, and the Great Blue Heron. As summer arrives, keep a watchful eye out for our signature species the Piping Plover (Long Island holds the only nesting pairs in the state) and Common Terns (one of the only two nesting colonies in the Lake Superior basin occurs here). With the arrival of fall, the familiar sound of geese fills the air as they migrate south for the winter, leaving behind a variety of year-round feathered friends that includes our resident Snowy Owl and Bald Eagles.

Please do not disturb: birding with ethics

Ecosystem and wildlife preservation are imperative for the future. Set an example for others as a good steward of Mother Nature by practicing these principles for the American Birding Association when you take to the trails.

Use restraint and caution to avoid stressing or exposing birds and wildlife to danger at all times.
Limit use of recordings and other means of attracting birds in a heavily birded area. Never attract threatened, endangered, or rare species to your area.
Maintain a generous distance from nests, nesting colonies, roosts, and feeding areas.
Stay on roads and trails as much as possible to avoid habitat disturbances.
Avoid the use of artificial light for filming and photography.

For additional information and a complete review of the ABA Code of Ethics visit

pdf_icon Bird Collisions and Windows: Bird City/ABC-BCW Brochure

pdf_icon Trap, Neuter, Release Brochure

pdf_icon Cats, Birds, and You Brochure

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