Birds Articles

Discover the Park – Wildlife

Past, present, and future of piping plovers in the Apostle Islands

Past, present, and future of piping plovers in the Apostle Islands

Piping plovers were first documented nesting on Long Island in the Apostle Islands in 1974, and one to two pairs continued to nest on Long Island through 1983. Then, after an absence of 15 years that coincided with a regional collapse of the population, a rebound started in 1998, but with no more than one pair recorded nesting in the Apostle Islands most years until 2006. Coinciding with a regional resurgence of the population, breeding numbers in the Apostles began to increase. From 2006 to 2020, three to six pairs of piping plovers have nested in the Apostle Islands, with pairs fanning out...

A singing wilderness: Songbirds of the Apostle Islands

A singing wilderness: Songbirds of the Apostle Islands

People have been describing bird populations in the Apostle Islands since at least the early 1940s. The first real count of breeding birds occurred in 1977, then the National Park Service began formal monitoring in 1990. There have been slight changes in monitoring methods since that time, but the top three most abundant species have stayed fairly consistent. The most current analyses show the national lakeshore maintains high species diversity and a greater number of increasing species than decreasing ones. These are all good signs, but monitoring helps us keep an ear out for troubling...

Where in the park is Neil? The week 16 answer is Eagle Island

Where in the park is Neil? The week 16 answer is Eagle Island

As part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, we’re going on a virtual tour with Neil Howk, a man who has spent decades exploring the islands and teaching people about what makes them special. He knows the islands like the back of his hand. The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is considered an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society because of the outstanding habitat it provides for migratory and resident bird species. You can check out the different speciesfound on the islands here. At the sixteenth stop on our digital tour, Neil...

Where in the park is Neil? The week 15 answer is Raspberry Island

Where in the park is Neil? The week 15 answer is Raspberry Island

A visit to the Apostle Islands provides a recreational and rejuvenating experience for people seeking relief from the stresses of their everyday lives.  As part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, we’re going on a virtual tour with Neil Howk, a man who has spent decades exploring the islands and teaching people about what makes them special. He knows the islands like the back of his hand. At the fifteenth stop on our digital tour, Neil is on Raspberry Island.   Raspberry Island is a great place for many of the activities that visitors enjoy...

Where in the park is Neil? The week 11 answer is Long Island

Where in the park is Neil? The week 11 answer is Long Island

As part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, we’re going on a virtual tour with Neil Howk, a man who has spent decades exploring the islands and teaching people about what makes them special. He knows the islands like the back of his hand. At the eleventh stop on our digital tour, Neil is on Long Island, which is an extension of the sand spit off Chequamegon Point. Long Island is at 46.7269° N, 90.7849° W. Piping plovers love to nest on the open beaches found on Long Island.  For more than 30 years, Long Island is one of the only places in...

Where in the park is Neil? The week 9 answer is Stockton Island

Where in the park is Neil? The week 9 answer is Stockton Island

As part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, we’re going on a virtual tour with Neil Howk, a man who has spent decades exploring the islands and teaching people about what makes them special. He knows the islands like the back of his hand. At the ninth stop on our digital tour, and in honor of Father’s Day, Neil and his son Forrest are on the largest island in the park, Stockton Island.  Stockton is a great spot for family recreation. It is located at 46.9304° N, 90.5928° W. Stockton Island features 15 miles of hiking trails including a loop...

Where in the park is Neil? The week 3 answer is Gull Island

Where in the park is Neil? The week 3 answer is Gull Island

As part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, we’re going on a virtual tour with Neil Howk, a man who has spent decades exploring the islands and teaching people about what makes them special. He knows the islands like the back of his hand. At the third stop on our digital tour, Neil is enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of Gull Island, the smallest island in the National Lakeshore. It’s located to the north of Michigan Island, on the eastern side of the archipelago at 46.9067° N, 90.4433° W. Observing Gull Island is best done from a...