What do the modern internet and the fabled unicorn have in common, you ask? You wonder for the nth time what bird is demanding, “Quick, three beers!” It is so elusive, you just can’t ever spot it. Just as you check the internet for mnemonic bird songs and match the phrase, you see the quickly flitting singer—it’s your unicorn!—an Olive-sided Flycatcher.

To help you in your quest to find more unicorns—and to expand your birding discoveries, your list of friends, and your life-long memories—check out these new Northern Michigan birding trails. Your only essentials are a field guide and binoculars—and the knowledge that life is better with birds in it.

Beaver Island Birding Trail
Beaver Island is a critical stopover site for migratory birds flying up the Lake Michigan coast on their way north to breeding grounds. The trail encompasses four Little Traverse Conservancy preserves.

North Huron Birding Trail
This is Michigan’s newest birding trail, hosting one of the Midwest’s most diverse collections of bird species. The Nature Conservancy has recognized this area of shoreline as one of “The Last Great Places” in the northern hemisphere.

Saginaw Bay Birding Trail
The distinct change in seasons, diverse habitats, sprawling miles of shoreline, over 200 species of birds, plus extensive natural areas with public access, make this trail a birder’s paradise.

Sleeping Bear Birding Trail
The Trail is anchored by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a National Park and an Important Bird Area (“IBA”) with 35 miles of beaches.

Sunrise Coast Birding Trail
Birders will enjoy seeing the common, threatened and endangered birds of Michigan. The spring Raptor Watch at the Straits of Mackinaw will thrill observers as thousands of these birds cross the Straits during seasonal migrations. The trail runs 145 miles along US 23 from the AuSable River in Oscoda to Mackinaw City.

Sunset Coast Birding Trail
Antrim, Charlevoix and Emmet counties, located in the northwest area of the Lower Peninsula, host a wide variety of protected areas and habitats that attract a large number of Michigan’s 400-plus bird species.

Superior Birding Trail
Anchored by Whitefish Point in the north and the Seney National Wildlife Refuge in the south, the 150-mile trail guides visitors through the rugged and rare ecosystems of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

More Northern Michigan Birding: