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Help / FAQ

Where did you find the information for the hotspot descriptions?

The content comes from the authors’ personal knowledge, local birders, eBird, Audubon clubs, and extensive research.


What are the stars for?

One Star (★)

  • Most of these hotspots are quick roadside stops with limited parking
  • A river, lake, or marsh is visible from the road
  • Limited walking trails and amenities
  • If no birds are present, do not hesitate to drive on to the next hotspot

Two Stars (★★)

  • Plan on spending a little extra time at these hotspots
  • Has a number of walking trails and amenities
  • Even if no birds are present, these hotspots are worth visiting because of their natural beauty

Three Stars (★★★)

  • One of Michigan’s top birding hotspots
  • These hotspots are worth visiting for several hours or more


How come not all of Michigan's parks are listed as a hotspot?

Because of space and time restrictions, we had to limit the amount of birding hotspots. A bigger book would have cost more money to print, and we did not want to raise the retail price. Also, we combed through all of the parks and preserves and removed many that didn’t meet our strict requirements for what constitutes a good birding spot.


Why are there no directions in this book?

We decided not to use directions because they are often inconvenient. It is usually impossible to know where birders are traveling from. One reason GPS points are better is because they enable birders to find the fastest route from one hotspot to the next.


Why do some parks have information concerning hours and fees and others do not?

If there are no hours listed, it is safe to assume the park is open from dawn to dusk. If there are no fees listed, then we could not find any record of fees being charged. It is still a good idea to bring cash. During the summertime, many parks charge an entrance fee.


Have you visited every park on the website, and did you take the picture on the front cover of your book?

While we have lived in Michigan for many years, we have not visited every park. And we did not take the picture on the front coverinstead it was purchased.


What are the criteria you consider before listing a hotspot?

1. Do people report eBird sightings from this hotspot?

If no bird sightings have been reported on eBird from this hotspot, it could be a warmspot.

2. Is there any open water present?

Areas with open water are much more birdy than dry areas.

3. Are there parking areas or other facilities available?

Most birders would prefer to avoid parking along the roadside.

4. Would serious birders drive from more than an hour away just to visit this hotspot?

If the hotspot isn't birdy enough to attract birders from across the state, then it is probably isn't a hotspot.


What are your criteria for accepting pictures for the website?

Unfortunately, most hotspots are not that photogenic. For example, birders are not interested in seeing 20 photos of a sewage lagoon. Because of this, we established a few criteria for judging which photos to upload to the website.

The two most important things we consider are:

1. Are the pictures taken on a sunny day?

We have found that cloudy photos make a hotspot look dull and uninviting. However, we still accept pictures taken on a cloudy day.

2. How many pictures is a hotspot worth loading?

The more pictures present, the longer visitors have to wait for the page to load. This is why we try to limit certain areas to less photos. Any one-star hotspots, be they road-side marshes or sewage lagoons, will be limited to less photos.



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Birding Michigan: A Hotspot Guide to 750+ Parks, Preserves, and Sanctuaries