Before European settlement, old growth, Sugar Maple-American Beech-Basswood forests originally covered nearly 3.5 million acres in Wisconsin. Through fragmentation and conversion to farmland, only about 50,000 acres of this forest remain. A significant percentage of Wisconsin's native flora and fauna is associated with forest habitats. Some forest birds, such as the Scarlet Tanager, depend on the interior of large unbroken tracts of forest, and as a result have decreased in recent decades. Area land trusts and government agencies are working to improve habitat for forest interior species through land acquisitions, conservation easements with landowners, and ambitious long-term restorations such as the Mequon Nature Preserve.
3. Highland Woods: This City of Mequon park provides a series of hiking trails that wind through a 12-acre forest remnant that boasts spring wildflower displays and views of resident nuthatches, woodpeckers, migrant kinglets, thrushes, vireos, and warblers.
5. Bratt Woods is an Ozaukee Washington Land Trust parcel of hardwood forest along the Milwaukee River that hosts spring blooming Dutchman's breeches, dogtooth violet, and jack-in-the-pulpi.t Just off the Interurban Trial, a hike through the woods is rewarded with a variety of migrant warblers, thrushes, tanagers, vireos, and woodpeckers.
6. I-43 Trail Bridge Woodlands: This new section of trail, which traverses small wetlands, woodlands, and shrublands, is good for viewing American Goldfinch, Song Sparrow, Wood Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Baltimore Oriole, Cedar Waxwing, and American Kestrel.
9. The Port Washington Ravine provides refuge for a wide variety of migrant songbirds when winds are brisk off of Lake Michigan. Birds you might encounter here include Carolina Wren, orioles, tanagers, and a number of warbler, vireo, and sparrow species.
B. Mee-Kwon County Park and Golf Course: The maple-beech woods atop the sledding hill are a productive location for warblers during spring migration. The Golf Course also supports a thriving Eastern Bluebird trail with approximately 30 nest boxes.
Typical Bird Species:
Eastern Wood Pewee
Great Crested Flycatcher
Great Horned Owl
For more information visit www.interurbantrail.us
Birds pictured: Baltimore Oriole, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Rose-breasted Grosbeak