The first Rockford bird club meeting of the new season was Thursday. The speaker was Brian Russert, a conservationist closer in age to the Birdfreak Team and a person with a passion for all things natural. He presented about Milwaukee County’s park system and some of the better locations to bird. Most of the info here is from his talk.
With some 150 parks and 15,000 acres to explore, there are numerous opportunities for traveling birders to one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country (over 900,000 people in the county). Some of the parks stand out more from a birding point of view but judging from our personal lack of birding there, it is definitely a place worthy of further exploration.
Some of the “top” picks from Brian included: Doctors (which borders the property of the popular Schlitz Audubon Center), Lake, Warnimont, Grant, Bender, and Falk. These are just the tip of the iceberg and all offer wonderful birding. The best time to go is mid to late May for migration and woodland wildflowers. But birders have found some really cool birds at all times of the year.
Most of the bigger and “better” parks have downloadable maps that are clear and easy to interpret.
Beyond the individual maps is the large and amazing “Oak Leaf Birding Trail” guide. This large foldout brochure has a detailed map, oversized checklist, and individual descriptions of the main parks on the map. This is a must have when it comes to birding the county and finding the best spots (and not getting lost).
You can download the map to view or request one free map be mailed to you.
Milwaukee County is easier to get to for us than Chicago and after hearing Brian’s presentation, we plan on making a trip up there as soon as we get a chance.
2 thoughts on “Birding Milwaukee County Parks”
I believe I saw a pair of female smews in the Milwaukee River near Wisconsin Ave. today (Sunday) around 2pm. Dark head with a little crest in the back, white throat, small dark bill, small roundish body, occasionally diving. They matched some of the smew pictures I found on the Internet. I’m new to the area and don’t know if this is a rare thing, but I’ve never seen anything like them in Minnesota.
Steve – I would compare those to grebes and Ruddy Duck. Both are diving waterbirds and could be what you saw. If they were Smews they would be quite rare and something you would want to report to various birding listservs because a lot of people would want to see them!