I was asked twice this week where to go birding in Lansing. I've never been a "birder." I am a backyard birdwatching fanatic. But no matter how hopping with bird activity my yard is, I don't think that an out-of-towner wants to go home with the story about the Blue Jay and Chickadee battling for time at my birdie bell.
There are lots of ongoing programs at Fenner, Harris, and Woldumar Nature Centers that I go to with my nieces and nephew. And Ingham County Parks Department manages more than 1,400 acres of land. Lansing is called "The City in the Forest" because of the more than 1,000,000 trees around the City.
However, I finally decided if you’re new to the Lansing area you should visit the Lansing River Trail. It’s approximately 13 miles of paved trail that passes through numerous parks and natural areas. I used to love going there years ago with my dog and I know several photographers that come back with fantastic images. But I haven’t been there since they opened a three-mile extension running along Sycamore Creek connecting more than 650 acres of parks in Lansing. The new trail links Potter Park Zoo, Hawk Island Park, and Soldan Dog Park.
So now that I recommended the River Trail I thought I better check it out for myself. I dusted off my bike and borrowed my niece’s helmet. (It was pink with flowers on the side and Barbie emblazoned on the front but I haven’t been on a bike since school so I thought I better take precautions.) And off I went on my very first intentional birding trip!
I’m glad I recommended the River Trail because I had a fabulous time. I saw lots of birds including different kinds of sparrows, a couple kingfishers, and flocks of ducks, geese, and robins. I heard lots of woodpeckers, nuthatches, warblers, and more. I also saw a Potter Park Peacock and peeked at their Australian aviary exhibit.
The trails are definitely family friendly. Everyone I met along the way was very helpful pointing out attractions and different paths I should take. The paved trails are wide and well maintained so even wheelchairs can manage. It was a beautiful day today and I caught just a hint of fall colors in the trees. Well worth your time to try this trail.
Do you have a favorite birding spot? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.