We made it through the long winter and it's finally springtime in the Northwoods. Some may tell you that spring is a mythical season in Northern Wisconsin, but that couldn't be farther from the truth! Not even the late March and April snow showers can deter outdoor enthusiasts from getting outside to bear witness to Mother Nature springing back to life.
Birding is a favorite pastime in the Spooner Area. Many migrating birds return home here in spring making now the perfect time to grab your binoculars and hit the trails. Finding a good spot where birds can easily find access to water and food increases your chances of spotting interesting species. With two rivers and almost 1,000 lakes county wide, your opportunities are abundant to try your hand- and eyes- at birding.
Located just southeast of Spooner in the Town of Sarona is Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary. This gorgeous 600-acre property has 13 miles of hiking trails and many unique habitats such as bogs, old growth forest, meadows, and views of four different glacial lakes. Now is also the best time to try and catch sight of the many different waterfowl birds beginning to migrate back to our area as well as the emblematic bald eagle.
Wisconsin's Moving National Park, the Namekagon River, is also located in the Spooner area. Along the shores of the the thawing Namekagon, you'll have seemingly endless opportunities to spot various species of birds. The Namekagon Barrens, a spectacular 6,428-acre property, is home to the largest population of sharp-tailed grouse in Wisconsin. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to spot some of the males dancing in their attempt to attract a female during their mating season that runs from March through May.
You don't have to travel outside the City of Spooner to go birding. Veterans Memorial Waterfront Park is located on the shores of the Yellow River Flowage and provides ample opportunities for bird watching. College Street/ Spooner City Park also has trails that run through the wood where you can also spot many birds. The park has a great picnic shelter to enjoy a nice rest or lunch with friends and fellow park goers.
Now is the perfect time to get back outside and breathe in the fresh air, and there couldn't be a better place to explore the many different habitats and abundance of wildlife than in the Spooner area!
-As published in the March/April 2022 issue of "On Wisconsin Outdoors" with the Dick Ellis Experts.