This past weekend was international migratory bird day, which usually signals the peak for bird migration here in Milwaukee too. If you are inclined to go look for birds in the parks, this is a great time to be sure you will actually find something. All you need is a camera with telephoto lens or binoculars, and maybe a little patience. Not sure where to start?
There's a fantastic resource put out by the DNR and other partners, called the Great Wisconsin Birding & Nature Trail guide, that could be very helpful. It's actually a mapped auto trail that reaches into every area of the state, and it has viewing guides and maps you can use when you're out. In our part of the state, parks included are: Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin, Havenwoods State Forest, Lakeshore State Park, Milwaukee Lake Shore Parks, Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, Doctor's Park, Southern Milwaukee County Parks, Oak Creek Parkway, Urban Ecology Center & Milwaukee River Parks, Whitnall Park & Wehr Nature Center. You can see by the long list, we have a lot of options.
At Havenwoods state forest, you can use binoculars and a guidebook for free. They have a number of trails that are bird friendly. You can also get help from the friendly staff. You may see warblers, kingbirds, herons, and woodcocks as they return to Havenwoods. Wear boots or shoes that can get wet or muddy.
Lake Park has its own spring birding program featuring warblers walks and bird counts. Then in the fall, they have duck watching programs at the lake. You can visit the Birds of Lake Park Facebook page to see when the next warblers walk will be. In general, they meet every Saturday morning from 8:30 -10 am. Meet at wooden Rustic Bridge over Locust Ravine near the Warming House and tennis courts on the northern end of the park. This may be the best way to get started. You'd be with a group of people interested in birds who can give you tips on how to identify birds and what equipment you might need. They encourage beginners.
Try the Oak Leaf Birding Trail. You can download the interactive map at the county website, or pick up a brochure or county parks map at Wehr Nature Center.
The local chapter of the Audubon Society meets for bird talks & walks at the Schlitz Audubon Center the 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6:30-8 pm. Nearby Doctor's Park has a variety of migrating song birds at this time of year.
So, as you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to join a group or learn more about birding and go out on your own. Lastly, visit the Facebook page for Estabrook park to see what birds are doing there.