Marquette County has achieved the designation of Bird City every year since 2012. In 2022 we achieved Hi Flyer status. Birds are abundant in Marquette County and Muirland Bird Club and other citizens here work to keep the land bird friendly. John Muir named 31 birds in The Story of My Boyhood and Youth that he saw in Marquette County when he lived here. You can still find all but two of them. The Passenger Pigeon, of course, is extinct, and the Prairie Chicken is no longer here. Today, 277 species of birds have been recorded in Marquette County with 145 documented nesting species. It is truly the "Paradise of Birds" that John Muir called it in his autobiography. Use the guide below to have fun birding in Marquette County.
To learn more about the Bird City program use the button below to access their website.
"The Wisconsin oak openings were a summer paradise for song birds, and a fine place to get acquainted with them/ for the trees stood wide apart, allowing one to see the happy home-seekers as they arrived in the spring, their mating, nest-building, the brooding and feeding of the young, and, after they were full-fledged and strong, to see all the families of the neighborhood gathering and getting ready to leave in the fall." John Muir in The Story of My Boyhood and Youth.
Daryl Christensen, local ornithologist and President of Muirland Bird Club, has put together this list of birds you might be able to find at the different Marquette County John Muir Nature and History Route sites.
Birds/Wildlife at Muir Trail Mobile App Sites
- Muir Park: Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Bluebird, Song Sparrow, American Kestrel, Northern Harrier, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Tree Swallow and five species of Woodpeckers all nest here.
- Eggleston/Muir land: Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Bluebird, Scarlet Tanager, Great-crested Flycatcher, Indigo Bunting, Red-headed Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Ovenbird, American Redstart, Field Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Alder Flycatcher and Black-capped Chickadees nest here.
- Observatory Hill: Red-headed and Pileated Woodpeckers, Northern Flicker, Eastern Bluebird, Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, Orchard Oriole nest here. In winter, a rare Townsend's Solitaire can often be seen feasting on cedar berries on the top of the hill, along with American Robins, Cedar Waxwings and Yellow-rumped Warblers.
- Hickory Hill: Along the roadside are Horned Larks and in winter, Snow Buntings. Soaring raptors such as Red-tailed Hawks, Turkey Vultures and an occasional Bald Eagle can be seen. Wild Turkeys are common.
- Wee White Kirk: American Robins and Eastern Phoebes nest on-site along with Baltimore Orioles and Blue Jays.
- John Muir Wayside/Prairie: Grassland birds such as Song Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbirds and Dickcissels nest in the prairie, while Baltimore Orioles and Kingbirds nest in the wayside's bur oak savannahs.
- Greenwood/Emmanuel Dannon: Eastern Kingbirds, American Robins and Baltimore Orioles nest in the trees around the cemetery. To the north and east, the vast grasslands have nesting Eastern Meadowlarks, Bobolinks, Grasshopper Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Northern Harriers and American Kestrels.
- Fox River/County O: Red-winged Blackbirds and Song Sparrows dominate the river edges. Barn Swallows and Eastern Phoebes nest under the bridge. Tree swallows, Common Grackles and Baltimore Orioles all nest in trees across from the boat landing.
- Briggsville: Sandhill Cranes are abundant and can be seen and heard throughout the day. Song Sparrows and Red-winged Blackbirds are common...
- Merritt's Landing: The extensive cattail marshes provides habitat for Great-blue Herons, Forster's and Black Terns, Marsh Wrens, American Coots, Common Gallinules in summer and rafts of migrating waterfowl in spring and fall. Bald Eagles are a common site.
- Packwaukee: The historic park has nesting Eastern Bluebirds, American Robins, House Wrens, Tufted Titmice, Tree Swallows and Purple Martins. The causeway across Buffalo Lake offers panoramic viewing for migrating waterfowl including Tundra Swans. Bald Eagles nest on the lake.
- MCHS/Riverside School: Large numbers of Canada Geese and ducks during spring and fall. American Robins, House Finches, Baltimore Orioles, Tree Swallows and Chimney Swifts are all common.
- Lawrence Lake Tunnel Channel: Eastern Kingbird, Scarlet Tanager, Wild Turkey, Ovenbird, Field Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, White-breasted Nuthatch, Black-capped Chickadee, Blue-winged Warbler, American Redstart, Red-eyed Vireo and Yellow-throated Vireo are all nesting species here.
- Springfield: Red-tailed Hawk, Mourning Dove, Great-horned Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker, Whip-poor-will, Vesper Sparrow, Red-eyed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, Great-crested Flycatcher nest throughout the area.
- Mecan Pine/Oak SNA: Barred Owl, Great-Horned Owl, Common Raven, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Red-eyed Vireo, Pileated Woodpecker, Ovenbird, Eastern Towhee Wood Thrush, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Eastern Wood Pewee, Whip-poor-Will and Scarlet Tanager all nest here.
- Neshkoro: Chimney Swifts, Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows, Black Terns, Eastern Phoebes all nest here. Waterfowl are abundant in spring and fall.
- Comstock Bog: Barred Owl, Long-eared Owl, Northern Harrier, Marsh Wren, Bobolink, Willow and Alder Flycatcher, Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Wood Duck, Wilson's Snipe and American Woodcock all nest here.
- Germania: American Coot, Great Blue Heron, Sora and Virginia Rail, Wood Duck, Marsh Wren, Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Ovenbird, Wood Thrush, Scarlet Tanager, Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue-winged Warbler, American Redstart, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, 5 species of Woodpeckers, Barn, Cliff and Tree Swallows.
- Apuckawa: Large number of waterfowl in spring and fall migration including Common Loons and Tundra Swans. Nesting species include: Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Eastern Bluebird, Common Tern, Black Tern, Forster's Tern, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Wood Pewee, Common Yellowthroat, Red-headed Woodpecker, Mourning Dove, Great Egret, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Warbling Vireo.
- Buffalo lake Kiosks: A variety of waterfowl in spring and fall migration, includes loons, Pied-billed Grebes, American Coots and Common Mergansers. Nesting birds include Red-shouldered Hawk, Song Sparrow, Tufted Titmouse, Tree Swallow, Grey Catbird, Common Yellowthroat, Wood Duck.
- Montello: Chimney Swift, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallow, American Robin, Red-eyed Vireo, Song Sparrow, Eastern Phoebe, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Red-winged Blackbird all nest in the area.