COPPER HARBOR — This time of year brings the return of birds to the Keweenaw Peninsula. As well as snow birds making their way up from warmer parts of the country, the season of spring also brings the migration of hawks, eagles and raptors to Michigan’s tip, where area students are studying the species from Brockway Mountain.
“We’ve got local students from the fourth grade all the way up to the 12th grade coming over the next two days. It’s basically to view all of the bird migration that’s happening. We’re doing a bird watching station, we’re learning about bird calls, the geology and local history of the area,” said Brian Doughty, the coordinator of the field trip.
With over 300 species of birds in the area, local students are spending Thursday and Friday observing and interacting with nature while on their field trip to Copper Harbor.
“Primarily everyone is up here for the raptors, the birds of prey. The hawks, the eagles, those are the ones that are really migrating right now, but we’ve also seen a lot of warblers and other songbirds and we’ve been calling those birds in. The 3rd grade here from Calumet today, they were able to call some of the birds right into them so we saw some Nashville Warblers, and some other types of warblers and other types of songbirds,” said Doughty.
Students from three area elementary schools took part in mountain top workstations where they also learned what makes this mountain a chosen destination for the migratory fowl.
“We have stations that focus on why the birds are here. So looking at the geology which is really looking at the geo-heritage of our area. How the geology and geo-heritage influence bird migration and all of the different things that people will see when they come up here. For example these guys are up here watching these birds and it’s all because of these high ridges and the topography of the area that helped to funnel all of these birds to this area,” Said, Erika Vye, geo-heritage outreach coordinator for Michigan Tech University.
The event is coordinated by the MTU Center for Science & Environmental Outreach, with funding from the Copper Country Audubon Club and the Wege Foundation.