Marquette County is home to an abundance of wildlife. Take an early evening drive through the countryside and you are bound to see many deer, turkeys and cranes. Our woods are home to white, black, grey and fox squirrels. If you are lucky you may spot rabbits, fox, beaver, muskrats or coyotes as you venture through the county.
Marquette County received a designation as an official Bird County in 2012. The diverse landscape is a mecca for birds of all species! More than 300 species of birds will migrate through, nest, or make Marquette County their home.
Below is a list of some of the best places for birding in Marquette County –
The mix of oaks, basswoods and cedar trees attract many songbirds, including Scarlet Tanagers, Cedar Waxwings, Red-Eyed Vireos, and Golden-Crowned Kinglets. In the winter you can find the Townsend’s Solitaire here.
Mecan River State Fishery Area
This property is a combination of forests, marshlands and meadows. This is a great place to find turkeys, warblers, woodpeckers, and sedge wrens.
Here you will find a mix of woods, meadows and marsh. This is a great location to view ducks that are migrating through the area in the spring and fall. Other common birds are the Great Blue Heron, Sora and Virginia Rail, Marsh Wren, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Ovenbird, Wood Thrush, Scarlet Tanager, Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue-winged Warbler, American Redstart, Cedar Waxwing, and Yellow Warbler.
John Muir County Park
At the land that was the boyhood home of John Muir you will find many species in the meadows and woods that surround Ennis Lake. These include the Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Bluebird, Song Sparrow, American Kestrel, Northern Harrier, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Tree Swallow and Woodpeckers.
Bessie Eggleston Property
Explore the woods and meadows of this property just down the road from John Muir County Park. View Cedar Waxwings, Eastern Bluebirds, Scarlet Tanagers, Great-crested Flycatchers, Indigo Buntings, Woodpeckers, Chestnut-sided Warblers, Ovenbirds, American Redstarts, Field Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows, Alder Flycatchers and Black-capped Chickadees.
John Muir Wayside/Prairie
Located on Hwy. 22 on the southern end of the county is the John Muir Wayside where you can look out over a prairie to find grassland birds including Song Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds and Dickcissels.
Fox River/Hwy. O Boat Landing
Look along the edge of the river to see Red-winged Blackbirds and Song Sparrows. Under the bring you will find Barn Swallows and Eastern Phoebes nesting. You can find Tree Swallows, Common Grackles, and Baltimore Orioles nesting in the trees across from the boat landing.
The cattails that border the Fox River as it winds through Endeavor is a great place to see Great-blue Herons, Forster’s and Black Terns, Marsh Wrens and Common Gallinules in the summer. During the spring and fall you will find both puddle and diving ducks that are migrating through the area.
Washington Park is home to nesting Eastern Bluebirds, American Robins, House Wrens, Tufted Titmice, Tree Swallows and Purple Martins. You can also view waterfowl in the spring and fall on Buffalo Lake by standing on the causeway.
Westfield Mill Pond
Thousands of geese stop to rest on the mill pond every fall as they migrate through the county. Also found in the area are American Robins, House Finches, Baltimore Orioles, Tree Swallows and Chimney Swifts.
Mecan Pine Oak State Natural Area
This is a favorite of owl lovers! Here you will find both Barred Owls and Great-Horned Owls. There are also Common Ravens, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Red-eyed Vireo, Pileated Woodpeckers, Ovenbirds, Eastern Towhee Wood Thrush, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Eastern Wood Pewee, Whip-poor-Will, and Scarlet Tanagers.
Located north of Montello on Highway 22, Comstock Bog offers chances for viewing Barred Owls, Long-eared Owls, Northern Harriers, March Wrens, Bobolink, Willow and Alder Flycatchers, Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, Wilson’s Snip and American Woodcock.
Located on the shore of Lake Puckaway, Apuckawa Park is the home to several nesting species such as Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Eastern Bluebird, Common Tern, Black Tern, Forster’s Tern, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Pewee, Common Yellowthroat, Red-headed Woodpecker, Mourning Dove, Great Egret, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Red-eyed Vireo and Warbling Vireo. Waterfowl can be seen in the spring and fall.
Buffalo Lake Landing
Located west of Montello on County Highway C, you can view waterfowl on Buffalo Lake in the spring and fall. Walk along the short trail on the east side of the landing for a chance to see Red-shouldered Hawk, Song Sparrow, Tufted Titmouse, Tree Swallow, Grey Catbird, and Common Yellowthroat.