Birdwatching in Macomb County

Birdwatching is a fun outdoor activity for both kids and grown-ups alike. Find out where you can birdwatch in Macomb County and get tips on taking the kids, too.

Do you and your children enjoy being outside and learning about nature? Then birdwatching might be a great hobby for your family to pick up — and lucky for you, our Mitten State is a great spot for birders of all ages.

Michigan is home to 450 different species of forest, prairie and coastal birds including bald eagles, hawks, owls, cranes, woodpeckers, finches, sparrows, chickadees and warblers.

You and your kids can learn more about our state’s birds with these tips on birding with kids. Plus, we have compiled a list of birdwatching spots in or near Macomb County to get you started.

Birdwatching with kids

Birdwatching is a great way for parents to foster the connection they have with their children and learn something new together, says Paul Messing, president of the Macomb Audubon Society. “There are splashes of color, fantasies of flight and surprises along the way,” he says. “It offers a chance to mentor and perhaps to learn and read together as well.”

To go birdwatching with kids, Messing, who has two kids (ages 4 and 6) that love to birdwatch with him, suggests families start in a nature center that maintains bird feeders to attract different birds. “This can offer a chance to watch for as long or short of a timespan as the children are willing or able, usually with restrooms and other activities available, in a comfortable temperature and snow- or rain-free atmosphere,” he explains.

It’s also a good idea to get your kids their own set of binoculars — even if they just make a set out of toilet paper tubes.

“Having their very own set of equipment gives them the opportunity to pick up the hobby as their own, not just as a tag-along,” Messing says. “Even the craft set of binoculars can help kids focus on the birds at a feeder.”

Once in nature, parents can encourage older kids to journal about the birds they see and identify or, if they have younger kids, encourage creativity based on what they see. “The innocence and simplicity children bring to the hobby can be refreshing,” Messing says. “To have them adopt their own names for the northern cardinal or blue jay is just adorable.”

Spots to go birdwatching

Southeast Michigan is full of great locations to see the birds that live in or travel through our state. Here are some prime spots — including four that Messing loves — in Macomb County.

Clinton River Water Trail and Budd Park

  • Address: 19000 Clinton River Road, Clinton Township
  • Time: Dawn-dusk daily
  • Cost: Free

The Clinton River is a great place to spot waterfowl such as Canada geese, mallards and heron. You might also spot doves, hawks, eagles, woodpeckers, and turkey vultures along with finch, robins and blue jays.

Holland Ponds

  • Address: 50385 Ryan Road, Shelby Township
  • Time: Dawn-dusk daily
  • Cost: Free

This 200-acre park offers ponds, walking trails and plenty of chances to see many species of birds such as the blue heron. Mallards, swans, crows, chickadees, goldfinch, robins, cardinals and owls have also been spotted here.

Lake St. Clair Metropark

  • Address: 31300 Metro Parkway, Harrison Township
  • Time: 7-8 p.m. daily
  • Cost: $10/parking

Take a hike on the nature trails through meadows and marshland to observe different wildlife and waterfowl, including sandpipers, sparrows and colorful songbirds.

Sterling Heights Nature Center

  • Address: 42700 Utica Road, Sterling Heights
  • Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. by appointment
  • Cost: Free

This spot offers 4,000 acres of forests and meadows, which makes it a hotbed of bird activity. Look for sparrows, warblers and owls, among others.

Stony Creek Metropark

  • Address: 4300 Main Park Drive, Shelby Township
  • Time: 7 a.m.-8 p.m. daily
  • Cost: $10/parking

This park offers some of the best hiking trails. Look for mallards, bluebirds, swans, geese, hawks, doves and many more. 

Tomlinson Arboretum

  • Address: 17855 18 Mile Road, Clinton Township
  • Time: Dawn-dusk daily
  • Cost: Free

More than 115 species of birds have been recorded. Swing by for your chance to see mallards, blue jay, wrens, orioles, red-winged blackbirds, common grackle, sparrow and more.

Wetzel State Recreation Area

  • Address: 27 Mile Road, New Haven
  • Time: Dawn-dusk daily
  • Cost: $12-$17/state recreation passport

This state park offers 4.5 miles of hiking trails for families to explore. Search out red-tailed and rough-legged hawks, red-bellied woodpeckers, blue jays, crows, kestrels, starlings finch and more.

Wilcox Warnes Nature Sanctuary

  • Address: On Schoenherr Road, just south of 26 Mile, Shelby Township
  • Time: Dawn-dusk daily
  • Cost: Free

This 44-acre nature sanctuary was donated in 1975 by Harold Warnes and David Wilcox. Today it serves as spectacular hiking and birding land where avid birders can spy wild turkeys, woodpeckers, crows and more.

Wolcott Mill Metropark

  • Address: 63841 Wolcott Road, Romeo
  • Time: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
  • Cost: $10/parking

Offers both a farm and a historic center, in addition to prime hiking and biking trails. Birds spotted at this park include doves, herons, hawks, woodpeckers, crows, chickadees and more.

Learn more about birdwatching in Macomb County by following the Macomb Audubon Society on Facebook. For more information on living in Macomb County, visit the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development at Make Macomb Your Home.

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