SPRING VISITORS

SPRING VISITORS — These two killdeer, submitted in a photo by reader Diana Duffy, were first time visitors last week at Duffy’s East Tawas home. The birds are just one species of many that are returning this month, and can be seen, by birders in the area during the Tawas Point Migration event.

BALDWIN Twp. – The AuSable Valley Audubon’s (AVA) Tawas Point Migration event will return May 13-15 at the Tawas Point State Park after the event was canceled for several years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event, once known as the Tawas Point Birding Festival, will be hosted over the weekend at the park and will feature AVA members and other birding experts and enthusiasts to answer questions and to guide visitors at the park in their birding pursuits, according to migration event Organizer Sue Duncan.

She said there will be a welcome table at the park, as well as three stations within the park — all within close proximity to the park’s parking lot — to guide visitors. The guides will be at the park from 7 a.m. until noon on all three days of the event, which is free to the public.

Although the event is free, entry to the park is not. A Michigan Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry into Michigan state parks. To make a camping reservation, visit MIDNRReservations.com or call 1-800-447-2757.

Duncan noted that the weekend is not the only weekend that there is birding activity at the park. She said that migrating birds, as well as birders trying to spot them, will be at the park through June as different birds make their way through the state for their spring and summer areas.

Of the different stations at the point, a sure spot to see birds is near the parking area where a large bird feeding station has been set up with everything from seed to orange slices for orioles that have been spotted back in Iosco County.

“At the feeder there is a seating area, and there are four or five different bird feeders,” Duncan said. “It is a very ‘birdy spot’ to see some birds. We have orioles there; they are a real popular bird to see because they are easy to spot.”

Other stations include one near the two-track road behind the lighthouse, as well as a third station on the paved trail that leads to the park’s campground.

“Volunteers will be greeting people and engaging them in conversation about what is being seen, answering questions, looking up birds that people are having at tough time identifying.”

Volunteers will have birding guides with them, and sometimes scopes that can be used to spot birds. So far, Duncan said some different variety of warblers have been spotted coming through Tawas Point on their migration.

Duncan said also at the welcome table, there will be information on other birding spots around Iosco County including areas like Mud Lake in Hale and Tuttle Marsh in Oscoda Township. She said that they will also be giving away birding swag to people who sign up and register at the migration and provide their name, email address and phone numbers.

The information will be used to inform the public of future birding events conducted by AVA, Duncan said.

Duncan said although this year’s event, the first in a few years, has been scaled back from prior years’ events, there has been anticipation by the birding public for the migration.

She said there have been reports from local chambers of commerce, about people calling asking about birding events in the area. She said the pandemic, which forced a lot of people to stay home, also created a lot of birders as many installed bird feeders at their homes for a new hobby.

“The birders are excited, and the birds, well they come every year regardless of a pandemic,” Duncan said. “I think we’ll see an uptick this year, and we’ve heard that because of the pandemic, birding is more popular than ever.”

More information about the event can be found by calling Duncan at 989-701-5471 or AVA President Ruth Golm at 989-724-5679.

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