The topography and vegetation of the Driftless Wisconsin area and the proximity to the Mississippi River Flyway combines for unparalleled bird watching.

The Mississippi Flyway is a bird migration route that generally follows the Mississippi River in the United States. Since good sources of food, water, and cover exist over its entire length, over 40% of North America’s migrating birds use this route.

The Wisconsin Great River Road lists several sites in Crawford County and Vernon County as exceptional sites for bird observation. The Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail lists nine locations.

During migration, you may have the good fortune to see great flocks of Tundra swans or American white pelicans flying low above the river. With luck, in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, you may spot a signature species such as an Acadian flycatcher, cerulean warbler, or Kentucky warbler. And when “everyday” sightings include bald eagles, sand hill cranes, redtail hawks, Eastern bluebirds, indigo buntings, Baltimore orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, goldfinches, and ruby-throated hummingbirds, life is good.

Places to Bird Watch:

Crawford County:
Hogback Prairie State Natural Area, Steuben
Kickapoo River State Wildlife Area, Wauzeka Unit
La Riviere Park, Prairie du Chien
Lock and Dam 9, and Pool 9, Lynxville/Genoa
Rush Creek State Natural Area, Ferryville
St. Feriole Island, Prairie du Chien

Vernon County:
Duck Egg County Forest, Viroqua
Genoa National Fish Hatchery, Genoa
Kickapoo Valley Reserve, La Farge
Old Settler’s Park and Genoa Power Plant, Genoa
Wildcat Mountain State Park/Mt. Pisgah
Hemlock-Hardwoods State Natural Area