How to track fall bird migration across Michigan


Fall foliage maps aren’t the only way to track the change of seasons across Michigan.

With fall bird migration currently reaching peak numbers, live migration maps on the website BirdCast provide a real-time look as billions of birds wing their way south across the US en route to their winter homes in the tropics.

BirdCast maps can be customized to follow migration activity in your specific area, including by state, county and city.

Michigan is unique in that it sits at the intersection of the Mississippi and Atlantic “flyways” — common migration routes followed by scores of birds. More than 380 bird species fly through Michigan each year during fall migration, which spans several months and includes species from songbirds and shorebirds to waterfowl and raptors.

BirdCast maps use weather surveillance radar to predict and track seasonal bird migrations, producing migration forecast maps as well as real-time analysis maps that show the intensities of actual nocturnal bird migration.

The site also includes regional lists of expected current migratory bird species, giving birdwatchers a hint at what birds may be passing through their area on a given night.

Many birders and bird photographers use BirdCast to inform their migration-season birdwatching, as high-migration nights typically mean increased opportunities to see novel birds over the following days.

In addition to the BirdCast maps, you can use the website to find out what birds have been recently reported at birding hotspots near you. See more data and learn more about BirdCast at


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