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Bird Watching in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Posted on March 24th, 2022

Birding is a popular pastime for residents and visitors alike. According to the Michigan Audubon Society, one can find more than 450 bird species on Michigan’s many birding trails, state parks and recreation areas, and more.

 

One of the best attributes of being in a Great Lakes State is that Kalamazoo offers spectacular and unique birding experiences for all four seasons.

 

Kalamazoo’s two great outdoor attractions are also some of the best birding spots! The W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary and the Kalamazoo Nature Center are open to the public, but each does require an admission fee, so keep that in mind! A bonus to visiting these attractions is that they often offer guided nature walks, intro to birding sessions, etc.

 

 

W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary

 

 

The W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary is a unique wildlife center offering conservation-focused public programs, interpretive tours, and accessible trails that allow close views of captive and wild birds.

  • Journey a paved, ¾ mile accessible trail to Wintergreen Lake to see hundreds of waterfowl in their natural habitat, including Trumpeter Swans, Canada Geese and a variety of duck species
  • Birds of Prey enclosures feature both rare and common raptors, including Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Eastern Screech Owls and others
  • The Leslie E. Tassel upland game bird display houses threatened and endangered species from Michigan and from around the world
  • A Pollinator Garden that uses native plants to attract hummingbirds and butterflies

 

 

 

Kalamazoo Nature Center

 

 

The Kalamazoo Nature Center includes over 1,100 acres of forest, wetland, and prairie with miles of trails. The Visitor Center is home to award-winning exhibits, with a wide variety of programs for all ages and interests.

 

Wander these trails for various birding opportunities:

 

  • Prairie Pathway Loops – Look for bluebirds and swallows at the nest boxes.
  • Arboretum Loop – Enjoy accessible pathways that lead to the Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden.
  • Beech Maple – Hike through an old-growth beech-maple forest along a stream. Spring wildflowers bloom abundantly and owls can be heard.
  • River Walk – Follow Trout Run to where it empties into the Kalamazoo River. Discover aquatic life in the stream or watch birds along the river.

 

 

Kleinstuck Nature Preserve

 

 

The Kalamazoo Audubon Society recommends Kleinstuck Nature Preserve for spring birding, with the peak time being late April and early May, before the trees leaf out. In 31 spring surveys, they have recorded 205 species of birds, including 38 warbler species.

 

 

 

Bow in the Clouds Preserve

 

 

Another excellent birding location in Kalamazoo that’s less well-known is Bow in the Clouds Preserve. Bow in the Clouds is a Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy preserve. This nature preserve is located just outside the downtown city limits and is approximately 60 acres.

The highlight of this preserve is the extensive spring-fed wetlands that help protect the water quality of the City of Kalamazoo’s well fields just downstream. The wetlands are a diverse mix of sedge meadow, cattail marsh, wet meadow, shrub care, and swamp forest.

A packed gravel loop trail leads from the parking area to a viewing platform with breathtaking views of the marsh below. A narrow dirt trail leads visitors down a slope and over a wooden bridge to a boardwalk through a large wetland from that loop. A short out-and-back trail leads from the path to a small pond attractive to waterfowl.

 

Make sure to check out the Kalamazoo Audubon Society website for information on their weekly nature walks.

 

Browse the list below for more awesome spots to go birding in Kalamazoo!

 

 

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7000 N. Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49009 US

Phone: (269) 381-1574
E-Mail Address: [email protected]
Website

The Kalamazoo Nature Center was voted the number one nature center in the nation by other nature centers
More Info

12685 East C Avenue
Augusta, MI 49012 US

Phone: (269) 671-2510
Website

The Kellogg Bird Sanctuary offers protected land for native waterfowl and birds of prey.
More Info

34270 County Road 652
Mattawan, MI 49071 US

Phone: (269) 668-2696

Learn about fish life cycles and habitats as well as the history of the Great Lakes hatcheries.
More Info

5163 Ft Custer Drive
Augusta, MI 49012 US

Phone: (260) 731-4200
(800) 447-2757
Website

Fort Custer State Recreation Area is a 3,033-acre park located in Kalamazoo County
More Info

325 W. James Street
Lawrence, MI 49064 US

Phone: (269) 637-2788
Website

The former Kalamazoo and South Haven Railroad track bed has been converted to a trail system.
More Info

Portage South-Central Greenway
Portage, MI 49002 US

Phone: (269) 329-4522
Website

The trail has been set aside as a sanctuary for your walking pleasure.
More Info

South Westnedge at South Shore Drive
Portage, MI 49002 US

Phone: (269) 329-4522
Website

The West Lake Nature Preserve is a 110-acre wetland bog with 1,400 feet of frontage along West Lake
More Info

14467 East MN Avenue
Climax, MI 49034 US

5300 Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49004 US

Phone: (269) 383-8778
(269) 381-7570
Website

Markin Glen features a beach and modern campground, hiking trails and mountain bike trails.
More Info

899 East U Avenue
Vicksburg, MI 49097 US

Phone: (269) 383-8778
(269) 649-4737
Website

Prairie View County Park offers a premier swimming beach and a pristine natural setting.
More Info

9202 East Michigan Avenue
Galesburg, MI 49053 US

7335 Garden Lane
Portage, MI 49002 US

Phone: (269) 329-4522
Website

This linear park features over 8 miles of hiking/biking trail along Portage Creek. Canoe rentals available.
More Info

6310 Texas Dr
Kalamazoo, MI 49009 US

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Al Sabo Land Preserve

6310 Texas Dr
Kalamazoo, MI 49009

Bishop's Bog Preserve

Portage South-Central Greenway
Portage, MI 49002
Phone: (269) 329-4522
The trail has been set aside as a sanctuary for your walking pleasure. More

Cold Brook County Park

14467 East MN Avenue
Climax, MI 49034
Phone: (269) 383-8778 (269) 746-4270

Fort Custer State Park

5163 Ft Custer Drive
Augusta, MI 49012
Phone: (260) 731-4200 (800) 447-2757
Fort Custer State Recreation Area is a 3,033-acre park located in Kalamazoo County More

Kal-Haven Trail

325 W. James Street
Lawrence, MI 49064
Phone: (269) 637-2788
The former Kalamazoo and South Haven Railroad track bed has been converted to a trail system. More

Kalamazoo Nature Center

7000 N. Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Phone: (269) 381-1574
The Kalamazoo Nature Center was voted the number one nature center in the nation by other nature centers More

Markin Glen County Park

5300 Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49004
Phone: (269) 383-8778 (269) 381-7570
Markin Glen features a beach and modern campground, hiking trails and mountain bike trails. More

Portage Creek Bicentennial Park

7335 Garden Lane
Portage, MI 49002
Phone: (269) 329-4522
This linear park features over 8 miles of hiking/biking trail along Portage Creek. Canoe rentals available. More

Prairie View County Park

899 East U Avenue
Vicksburg, MI 49097
Phone: (269) 383-8778 (269) 649-4737
Prairie View County Park offers a premier swimming beach and a pristine natural setting. More

River Oaks County Park

9202 East Michigan Avenue
Galesburg, MI 49053
Phone: (269) 383-8778 (269) 665-9608

W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary

12685 East C Avenue
Augusta, MI 49012
Phone: (269) 671-2510
The Kellogg Bird Sanctuary offers protected land for native waterfowl and birds of prey. More

West Lake Nature Preserve

South Westnedge at South Shore Drive
Portage, MI 49002
Phone: (269) 329-4522
The West Lake Nature Preserve is a 110-acre wetland bog with 1,400 feet of frontage along West Lake More

Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery

34270 County Road 652
Mattawan, MI 49071
Phone: (269) 668-2696
Learn about fish life cycles and habitats as well as the history of the Great Lakes hatcheries. More