Bird Watching

Bird Watching

Copper Harbor is amazing in so many ways and the bird species found here is one of them. No, it is not big, but it is big on the diversity of habitats and the abundant bird species that go with them. Lake Superior and its shoreline ~ inland lakes and streams ~ boreal forests with old growth and young mixed woods ~ fields and open areas, together, offer an impressive variety of species and bird activity.

Bird watching is an activity that can be enjoyed all year in Copper Harbor and with hundreds of species visiting, it will not disappoint. The species change with the seasons creating interest all year long.

Some of the more common Copper Harbor’s ‘year round’ residents include American Black Duck, Ruffed Grouse, Bald Eagle, Ruffed Grouse, Herring Gull, Barred and Great Horned Owl, Pileated, Hairy and Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Common Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch and American Goldfinch.

The Keweenaw Peninsula is a migrating bird magnet and much of the activity winds up in Copper Harbor! Brockway Mountain is home to a spectacular spring migration with a massive raptor movement.  Read More About Our Spectacular Spring Migration

Many of the migratory birds stay and nest here. A few of our more common summer residents that are easy to find include Common Loon, Turkey Vulture, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, American Woodcock, Long-eared Owl, Common Nighthawk, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Alder Flycatcher, Eastern Wood Pewee, Red-eyed Vireo, Boreal Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Winter Wren, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, Gray Catbird, Northern Parula, and other warblers such as Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green, Bay-breasted, Pine, Palm and Blackburnian, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat, Savannah Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Indigo Bunting, Bobolink and Purple Finch.

Though not as heavy as spring, the fall migration brings birds from their summer homes, some as far north as the arctic. Warblers and sparrows do visit in early fall. Horned Lark, American Pipit, Lapland Longspur and Rusty Blackbird arrive in large flocks. Snow Bunting always come through and are a sure sign that winter is just around the corner.

Birding in the area during winter can also be very exciting and rewarding. In addition to the year round residents, our area is host to winter migrants and irruptive species that “fly south” of their regular territory. Glaucous Gull, Snowy Owl, Northern Shrike, Bohemian Waxwing, American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Pine Grosbeak, Red and White-winged Crossbill, Common and Hoary Redpoll and Pine Siskin are always a possibility. Bald Eagle will stick around if there is open water. Rough-legged Hawk is one of the few raptors that visit in winter. Sharp-shinned Hawk and Northern Shrike might be seen stalking area bird feeders. When the harbor has open water, a variety of water foul abound. Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Pied-billed Grebe, Lesser and Greater Scaup are common visitors. In the past years sea ducks such as Harlequin Duck, Long-tailed Duck and Common Eider have been observed. Horned and Western Grebe have been sighted over many years now.