Author: Emily Burke

Emily Burke is a Conservation & Education Specialist at Grass River Natural Area. Educating others about the natural world is her passion, and she loves sharing GRNA's amazing resources with people of all ages.

As any resident, or visitor to this region knows, northern Michigan’s woods and waters are beautiful in any season. But for many of us, there’s something extra special about witnessing the natural world come alive again after a long, cold winter. Indeed, the late Robin Williams said it best when he declared, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’” And if naturalists had to choose a greatest hits soundtrack for that party, these would be our top picks:


Many of us associate birds with springtime, but here’s a secret: fall is actually many local birders’ favorite season. Because there’s no real rush for birds to get to their wintering grounds—in contrast to spring’s mad dash to arrive and find a mate—fall migration is more drawn out, affording birders a better chance of seeing each southbound species.

And if you’re looking for a great region to break out those binoculars, look no further than northern Michigan. Our location at the intersection of the Mississippi and Atlantic flyways, our wealth of shoreline (which many birds tend to follow during migration), and our abundance of wetlands (important refueling sites) combine to make fall in NoMi one of the best birding experiences around.

Dynamic Variation: