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Washington Islands Birding Festival

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May 17, 2024 May 19, 2024

Lake Michigan is a flyway with thousands of migrating birds passing through this time of year. Washington Island is located in the Mississippi River Flyway, and some species from the Atlantic Flyway have migratory paths that come close to Washington Island. As bird monitoring increases, it is apparent that the Grand Traverse Archipelago (of which the Town of Washington is a part) provides an essential stopover for thousands of migrating birds. The variety and rarity of these birds is a significant draw for the birding community.

Sponsored by the Washington Island Art & Nature Center, watch and record birds with experienced guides throughout the island. There will also be three “Big Sit” locations, places where you can simply stand or sit and relax and see lots of birds. They are located at the Potato Dock, Melody Walsh’s yard (1530 Michigan Road), and Jackson Harbor (at the Town Dock). These spots are on the flyway across the island. You may use them at any time during the festival.

In addition to guided bird walks, participants can register for the Fish Boil (Saturday night, 6 pm, at KK Fiske), a boat trip to Plum Island (Saturday, 7 am), and attend the free keynote address by Green Bay NWR Manager Joel Vos (Friday, 6–7 pm, at the Trinity Lutheran Church). Joel’s presentation, “Conserving for the Future? It’s for the Birds!” covers the origins of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Green Bay and Gravel Island National Wildlife Refuges, and why conservation and protection of these lands are vital for the fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats which we hope to enjoy for generations to come. Presentation will be 45 minutes, with a short Q&A at the end.

Visit our website to view festival locations on the island, birding guide bios, and register. The cost is $75 per person, and the optional Fish Boil fee is an additional $25 each. The keynote address is free admission. Registration deadline is April 30, 2024. Cancellation refunds will be made up to May 5, less $10 handling fee. No refunds after May 5.

Birding will occur rain or shine unless conditions are deemed too dangerous (e.g. lightning).


Washington Island Art & Nature Center


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Washington Island Art & Nature Center

1799 Main Road
Washington Island, Wisconsin 54246 United States
920-847-2025 or 920-535-0554
View Venue Website
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