It is a special experience seeing a rare bird, one that you will never forget, and we are lucky enough in Michigan to have an unofficial mascot for an event such as that — the Kirtland’s Warbler. Many Michigan birders anticipate the return of this bird to Northern Michigan each May. Only about 50 years ago, this bird was nearly extinct; now, thanks to successful, international collaborations, this rare and endearing songbird has taken significant steps toward recovery.

Sighting this bird is truly a remarkable experience, which is why Michigan Audubon began offering tours for the public. In keeping with our mission “to connect birds and people for the benefit of both,” Michigan Audubon is pleased to launch another season of Kirtland’s Warbler tours, beginning May 27, 2019, at Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling, Michigan.

Each tour starts with a brief orientation to the Kirtland’s Warbler and jack pine habitat followed by participants caravanning to protected pine barrens for the chance to view the endangered warbler.

Tours are scheduled daily at 7 a.m. with an additional tour at 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through June 30. Tours cost $10 per person (13 and younger are free) and you must have a Recreation Passport to enter the State Park.  Credit cards are not accepted so please arrive with cash or check. Reservations are only accepted for parties of six or more. To make a reservation or if you have questions, please email

For full information about Michigan Audubon Kirtland’s Warbler Tours, visit

Meet the 2019 Kirtland’s Warbler Guide Marky Mutchler

Marky is a 20-year-old birder, artist, and ornithologist who has been birding since the age of five. She currently attends Louisiana State University where she is actively working on several research projects pertaining to a wide variety of topics concerning birds. With many years of birding under her belt, Marky is excited to continue onwards in supporting conservation of the birds she loves through the education of others.

Support Kirtland’s Warbler Tours

As we celebrate the fact that the Kirtland’s Warbler can and will be safely be removed from the endangered species list, we want to continue offering education, outreach, and connection with these birds and their native habitat, the Jack Pine forest. We hope you will consider supporting our ability to continue offering Kirtland’s Warbler tours with a gift this season.

Your generous support of the Kirtland’s Warbler Tours will help Michigan Audubon secure the staffing of the best and brightest Kirtland’s Warbler Tour Guides who work with the public as well as with state agencies and nonprofits to engage the public in appreciating these magnificent songbirds.

This treasured species cannot continue to survive and thrive beyond recovery without human intervention and continued outreach. You can help us share the Kirtland Warbler’s unique conservation story with more Michiganders each breeding season by supporting this program, which brings more people into the Jack Pine forest, into nature, and into a state of greater understanding and engagement of birds, ecology, and the importance of the human dimension of protecting endangered species.   

Kirtland’s Warbler tours are also given by the US Forest Service in Mio and the AuSable Valley Audubon out of Oscoda.