Birdwatchers’ 15 favorite birding destinations in the U.S. and Canada

6. Point Pelee National Park, Ontario

A narrow six-mile-long triangle jutting into Lake Erie, Point Pelee National Park is a unique setting for plant and animal life and one of Canada’s most visited parks. Designated a globally important bird area, Point Pelee’s natural features include freshwater marshes, deciduous forests, sandy beaches, and cedar savanna.

Birds migrating along the Atlantic and Mississippi flyways cross paths at Point Pelee, where they seek refuge after the long trip across the Great Lake. On very active spring days here, birders have recorded nearly 200 species. One-day peaks for songbirds include 5,000 Golden-crowned Kinglets, 3,000 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 1,400 Baltimore Orioles, and 620 Nashville Warblers. Readers agree the park is a must-see. It’s the place that hooked Colleen McLean of East Lansing, Michigan, on birding. And it’s a spot that Sam Febba of Dimondale, Michigan, returns to often. “Point Pelee remains our favorite place to bird,” Febba says. “It seems to have an ambience found in very few places. Our group camps in the group campground and wakes to the sounds of birds. Some days the variety is fantastic. Some days we see very few species, but I’ve never had a bad day of birding at Point Pelee. There’s also something to be said for the crowds. Where else do birders outnumber non-birders 100 to 1?”

Location: On a peninsula projecting into Lake Erie, 30 miles southeast of Windsor, Ontario • Best time to visit: May for songbirds and shorebirds, throughout the fall for hawk migration • Birds: 36 warbler species occur annually• Contact: Point Pelee National Park: (519) 322-2365; Friends of Point Pelee: (519) 326-6173

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Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall is the editor of BirdWatching magazine and BirdWatchingDaily.com. He joined the staff of BirdWatching (formerly Birder’s World) in 2000 and has worn many hats over the years: reporter, story wrangler, photo editor, managing editor, and now editor. Originally from Omaha, he lives with his wife and two daughters in Milwaukee and holds a Bachelor’s in journalism from Marquette University. You can reach Matt at (617) 706-9098 and [email protected].

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