Welcome to Warblers on the Water events for 2023 featuring field trips on the Beaver Island Birding Trail. Our community is eager to share our beautiful island, which hosts a rich array of migratory and resident nesting birds. Affectionately, Beaver Island is known as the Emerald Isle of American Birding.

We have arranged special field trips and presentations for Saturday, May 27th and Sunday, May 28th. The field trips were selected to commemorate 10 years since the creation of the Beaver Island Birding Trail. The weekend is intended to celebrate Great Lakes Islands biodiversity and inspire others to become active conservation partners. The full schedule is just below. We also have a handy copy you can download and print: 2023 Warblers Schedule

We have invited a group of wonderful leaders who will guide us on a weekend of discovery. A full calendar of events is presented below. Guided field trips require registration, but the Sunday afternoon presentation is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

Our headquarters for the weekend will be the Beaver Island Community Center. The BIC Center is conveniently located in town right across from the ferry dock.  It serves as the trail head for the Beaver Island Birding trail as well as other island trails.

Please make your plans early. More information including a calendar all Memorial Day Weekend event son the island, a Beaver Island Birding Trail Map and travel and lodging information can be found by scrolling down. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Registration for ticketed events is now closed. Events at the BIC Center do not require advance registration. 

2023 Beaver Island Birding Trail Field Trip Leaders

We have invited a group of expert field trip guides who will lead us on a weekend of discovery on the Beaver Island Archipelago. The weekend is intended to celebrate our island’s natural resources and inspire others to become active conservation partners.  Please welcome:

Dr. Francesca Cuthbert

Dr. Cuthbert’s current research focuses in three areas: (1) recovery of the endangered Great Lakes Piping Plover population, all within the context of management of coastal shore ecosystems; (2) biology and management of Double-crested Cormorants in North America especially in relation to the cormorant-fishery conflict; and (3) colonial waterbird population dynamics and conservation in the Great Lakes and Asia.

Darrell Lawson

Darrell has been birding since 2012 and has been leading field trips since 2014 for BIBT’s Warblers on the Water. He is a past president (and current vice-president) of the Petoskey Regional Audubon Society, has co-chaired the Sunset Coast Birding Trail Development team, and is a past member of the Michigan Bird Records Committee. He routinely leads field trips around Michigan.

Beth Leuck

Beth Leuck first came to Beaver Island in 1985 when she was invited to teach ecology at the Central Michigan University Biological Station.  She taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses at CMUBS over the years and conducted research on monarch butterfly populations, dung fly behavior, abandoned beaver pond vegetation, and vegetation in waterbird colonies on some of the outer islands.  She has assisted Dr. Nancy Seefelt with her research on colonially nesting waterbirds in the Beaver Island Archipelago since 2000.  She and her husband Ed retired to Silver City, New Mexico, several years ago and now shuttle between Beaver Island and the desert Southwest.

Jeff Scofield

Jeff Scofield, like his wife Dr. Nancy Seefelt, works for Central Michigan University in the Dept of Biology.  Jeff is a frequent visitor to Beaver Island and has been since taking classes at the CMU Biological Station as both an undergraduate back in the late 80s, earning a B.S. Degree in Biology, and then as a graduate student, where he earned a M.S. Degree working with spiders.  If Jeff sees a board or piece of metal lying on the ground, rest assured that he will flip it over in hopes of finding a snake or two underneath.  In addition, if he’s not looking for snakes and spiders, there’s a good chance you might see him metal detecting or rock hounding on a beach.  But the most likely activity you will see him doing is riding a bicycle around the Island.  Jeff is an avid mountain biker and gravel road biker and has traveled around the country, along with Nancy, in pursuit of fun trails and enjoyable gravel roads. 

Dr. Tim Lamey

Tim first visited the Beaver Island Archipelago for field work on High Island on Common and Caspian Terns in 1982 and 1983. Tim earned an Master’s in Biology from University of Minnesota, Duluth, and a Doctorate in Zoology from the University of Oklahoma. In addition to High Island, he conducted field work in Colorado (Orioles), Texas (Great Egrets), Oklahoma (Cattle Egrets), Washington (Glaucous-winged Gulls), northern Manitoba (Ring-billed Gulls), New Zealand (Snares Penguins), and the Falkland Islands (Rockhopper Penguins). In the early 1980s he also was a counter at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve and Whitefish Point Bird Observatory.

 Tim and his partner recently purchased a home on Beaver Island and look forward to moving to the island year-round in the near future. 

Brian Allan

Brian is a recently retired Optometrist living in Manistee. He has been birding for fifty-three years and was fortunate to both be on the crest of the new field birding in the 1970’s and the now technical/digital media birding revolution of the 2020’s. He is a former member of the Michigan Bird Records Committee, one of the editors of the ABA Birder’s Guide to Michigan, the current eBird reviewer for North West Michigan, and bird trip leader for several conservation organizations in Michigan. He enjoys birding in the tropics and has recently returned from birding trips to Brazil and Ecuador. His favorite activity is getting anyone of any age interested in birding by getting them on their “spark” bird.

Gina Mangra

Gina has been visiting Beaver Island since 2018 and became a resident in 2020. She is a self taught mushroom hunter who has discovered the treasures Beaver Island. She has been studying Mycology through the Midwest American Mycology Information course and working on her Michigan certification. Gina uses the mushrooms she forages for exploring culinary and medical uses. Not only does she forage fungi, she finds uses for many plants and berries she finds on the island. She’s also an avid fisherman who spends hours on Lake Geneserath. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of Beaver Island with people who enjoy the passion of foraging.

Dr. Nancy Seefelt

Nancy is a Michigan native who grew up in Sterling Heights, near Detroit.  After high school, she enrolled at Central Michigan University (CMU) and discovered Beaver Island when she took a class at the CMU Biological Station after her freshman year. Nancy received her M.S. degree from CMU and her doctorate from Michigan State University and currently holds a faculty position in the Biology Department at CMU. During the summer field season, much of her research focuses on avian ecology, specifically the breeding biology of waterbirds (gulls, terns, herons and cormorants) in northern Lake Michigan and the stopover ecology of migrating songbirds along Michigan shorelines. The migration work involves censussing, mist netting, and remote acoustical monitoring; the acoustic monitors also  track the sounds of migratory bats.  In addition, Nancy monitors the breeding activities of the endangered Piping Plover as part of the recovery program for this species.  As a vertebrate ecologist and evolutionary biologist, Nancy has been  studying birds throughout the Beaver Island Archipelago for over 20 years.gs.

Terry and Andrea Grabill

The Grabills have dedicated countless hours to developing beginning birders with their “Beaver Island Group” program through Fremont Middle School. Most of Terry’s introductory birding experiences happened on Beaver Island while he was a Central Michigan University student studying at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver in 1989.  He then discovered that there were other individuals, groups even, interested in birding. He has maintained life-long relationships with these people. He and Andrea have developed young birders for 20 years with the groups they’ve brought to CMU’s Biological Station and birding events down-state.

Ed Leuck

Ed Leuck is a retired Professor Emeritus of biology at Centenary College of Louisiana where he taught ecology, conservation biology and microbiology and developed the campus arboretum. He has been coming to the Island since 1985 and has taught at the Central Michigan University Biological Station. He is the senior author of Plants of Beaver Island, Part I: Bogs and Fens and Part II: Lake Michigan Beaches and Sand Dunes and spends summers at his house on Sand Bay while continuing to investigate the island flora and participating in island conservation efforts.

Other Island Events

In addition to Warblers on the Water events, there are lots of other things to do on the Island during the Memorial Day Weekend.  Here’s a full schedule:

Beaver Island Birding Sites

The Beaver Island Birding Trail includes a variety of sites for your enjoyment.  This map presents an overview.  Full details in an interactive map are here. A downloadable copy is here.

Getting to the Island

Beaver Island can be reached by either ferry or plane from Charlevoix Michigan. There are two airlines serving Beaver Island daily year round and ferry service runs from April to around Christmas.

Beaver Island Boat Company
103 Bridge Park Drive Charlevoix, MI 49720
Phone: 231-547-2311 or 1-888-446-4095

Fresh Air Aviation
06918 Old Norwood Rd. (PO Box 328) Charlevoix, MI 49720
Phone: 1-888-FLY-RGHT (359-7448) or 231-237-9482

Island Airways
111 Airport Drive Charlevoix, MI 49720
Phone: 800-524-6895

Where to stay

There are a variety of housing options on the island ranging from primitive camping to large custom built lodges. In between are a range of options including glamping, hotel rooms, condo units and cottages. The Beaver Island Chamber site has complete info:

Previous Beaver Island Birding Trail Speakers and Field Trip Leaders

Over the years we’ve had a number of distinguished speakers and field trip leaders participate in Warblers on the Water.  In addition to Darrell Lawson, Dr. Nancy Seefelt, Terry and Andrew Grabill and Beth and Ed Leuack, our past leaders have included:

Bill Parsons

Bill Parsons is an Inland Fish & Wildlife Biologist with the Natural Resource Department of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Bill grew up in Mason, MI, and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Conservation from Central Michigan University. His education and experience with CMU began his exploration of the Beaver Island Archipelago, and this passionate work continues today. Bill joined the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Natural Resource Department in 2002 and works as a biologist on many fish and wildlife projects in the Archipelago. Bill lives in Bliss with his girlfriend and dogs and is an avid outdoorsman, fisherman and hunter. He annually vacations on Beaver Island to hunt waterfowl.

Bill most recently led events during WoW 2022.

Linnea Rowse

Linnea Rowse is the Great Lakes Private Lands Director for the American Bird Conservancy. She is an avid birder and has worked in the avian conservation field for more than 15 years, with work experiences ranging from breeding ecology field work, migratory stopover habitat research, songbird banding, behavioral studies, and habitat management and restoration for forest and grassland birds and wildlife. Linnea has a B.S. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from the University of Rhode Island, and a M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from The Ohio State University. Linnea’s passion lies in connecting birds and people while employing ecologically sound science, research, and education to accomplish landscape-scale bird conservation.

Linnea most recently led events during WoW 2022.


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