Strange as it may sound, winter can be one of the most interesting time for birders to visit Traverse City. Although many species have left the area, the ones that remain are often easier to spot. When Grand Traverse Bay isn’t iced over, large rafts of wintering redheads and scaup can be seen, sometimes numbering in the thousands, and there are scoters, grebes, mergansers, and goldeneyes wherever there’s open water. Local forest edges often attract waxwings, pine grosbeaks, creepers, and nuthatches. Eagles and owls stay active in winter -- including the occasional huge snowy owl -- and several species of woodpeckers, most notably the large pileated woodpecker, stay active in the area’s forests.