Urban Wildlife Viewing

Unexpected spring birding opportunities can be found throughout Michigan's urban environment.

Many birds have adapted to living and thriving among the towering buildings, bridges, street signs, street lights, and chimneys that create a city skyscape.

Here are just a few urban sites for you to discover unlimited birding enjoyment. Downtown Detroit is fast becoming a prime viewing location for peregrine falcons. These falcons can be spotted soaring high above the moving traffic, then diving and turning at speeds of up to 200 miles through the wind tunnels created by Detroit buildings.

citysky.gif (1223 bytes)Listen for the high peent, peent, nasal call of a nighthawk as it swoops over the golden glow of street lights in many Michigan cities. Nighthawks are sight hunters and need the lights of a city to aid in search for food. It flies on long tapered wings and may consume hundreds of insects into its gaping mouth.

Bank swallows are easily spotted, with their large colonies near riverbanks, highway cuts, or railroad embankments. Bat-like in flight pattern, this swallow is a common sight in cities near bodies of water.

Birds can be amazingly adaptable as they survive in their city environments. You can help many birds by providing nest boxes for their use.