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Door County Spring Birding Guide


Each spring, hundreds of thousands of birds flock to the serene and pristine forests and waters around the Door peninsula for the warm season. Between 300 miles of shorelines, 13 protected Door County Land Trust sites, and dozens of state, county, and municipal parks and greenspaces, there is definitely no shortage of places to keep your eyes peeled for local avian life.

Where to Go

In addition to all these bird-friendly spaces, Door County boasts five Bird City Wisconsin designations—in Sturgeon Bay, Egg Harbor, Baileys Harbor, Ephraim, and Washington Island and Plum Island. This means these towns have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for birds as well as people and other wildlife, which also means these towns will be especially good spots for bird watching.

Some specific spots include:

A lone bird site on a peaceful tree branch among trees and greenery

When to Go

Any time of year can be a good time for bird watching, depending on what you want to see and how comfortable you are with weather and conditions.

However, spring is by far the best time for birding. As Lake Michigan and other waterways thaw out after cold, wet Wisconsin winters, the fields, preserves, and wetlands begin to overflow with the excess water, creating perfect conditions for birds like gulls, ducks, cranes, geese, pelicans, warblers, and more. Head to preserves, wetlands, forests, and wooded trails to find them.

Check out the birding guide (PDF) for detailed seasonal information and a birding checklist.

A large bird flies across a wide-open blue sky

What to Look For

From cardinals and indigo buntings to great blue herons, sandhill cranes, and bald eagles, the Door region is rife with vibrant bird life.

For a full list of the more than 300 species that have been spotted up here, explore this public database of local wildlife for more information. 

Here’s a sampling:

  • White-crowned sparrow
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Tundra Swans
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Northern Flicker
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Osprey
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Common Mergansers
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Eastern Meadowlark

More Birding & Wildlife Viewing Resources

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