North Huron Birding Trail

The northern shoreline of Lake Huron in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula has long been known as one of the most beautiful and pristine areas of wilderness in all of the Midwest. The Nature Conservancy has recognized this area of shoreline as one of “The Last Great Places” in the Northern Hemisphere, and for many years countless folks have escaped here to enjoy the bounty of natural wonders it has to provide. Its rocky shorelines and protected bays create excellent habitats for many species of sport fish, a multitude of rare orchids and ferns, and as a diverse collection of bird species as can be found in the Midwest.

A number of researchers have come to the North Huron area to document the frequency and distribution of various bird species. They found that the shoreline and areas inland from Lake Huron are critical migratory and breeding grounds for a large number of songbirds, waterfowl, and birds of prey.

As a result of this research and recognition of Michigan’s Northern Lake Huron shoreline as a pristine gem, many local non-profits and government agencies have successfully protected large amounts of shoreline and surrounding areas through conservation easements and the creation of nature preserves. The passion of these organizations, along with large amounts of publicly accessible land and the impressive diversity of bird species that utilize the area, make the North Huron Birding Trail one of the most enjoyable birding trails in Michigan. Also, a low-keyed, tourist-based economy is present in the major towns and villages along the Trail route, so that staying in this beautiful area is an easy and comfortable experience.

Aldo Leopold, one of America’s most influential naturalists, spent summers in his youth in the Les Cheneaux area of Michigan’s EUP, very near the center of the Trail. Every spring, the Leopold Festival celebrates his legacy, and the Trail is an outgrowth of the Festival. Aldo was influential in developing holistic environmental and wildlife conservation strategies that emphasize biodiversity. He was the founder of the science of wildlife management.  He planted the first seeds of land ethics in land conservation at a time when the resources of the United States seemed endless to many. His ideas have guided the environmental movement to this day.

“The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.”- Aldo Leopold

Most of the photographs in this book were taken along or very near the North Huron Birding Trail. Bird habitat along the trail is excellent in migratory feeding and resting areas, and also breeding areas. The commentary in the book reflects how the overwhelming majority of permanent and seasonal residents in the region respect the environment and want to keep the lands wild and free. Connecting with nature is a big part of why people live or visit here.

This is the official website for the North Huron Birding Trail:

Information about the Trail can be found there. You will discover what, where, and when diverse species of birds can be found at specifically mapped locations along the trail. You can also plan your lodging to ensure the success of your trip.

For more information on Aldo Leopold and the area near the center of the North Huron Birding Trail (The Les Cheneaux area) see: