Pickford Grassland Area: M-48 Habitat
Continue west along M-48 from Stalwart. The prime habitat is located between Aldrich Road and M-129. M-48 is a somewhat busy road, but turning south onto Aldrich Road or Pennington Road, and north onto Clegg road allows one to walk the gravel roads and scan the fields for birds. Remember to drive safe and follow Michigan State law at all times.
NOTE: The fields in this area are all private property so please do not trespass into the fields. Bird from a safe pull off location in your car or along the roadside only.
The prime grassland habitat of M-48 between Aldrich Road and M-129 is a great location to see a number of interesting bird species. Sharp-tailed Grouse are a common sighting in this area, and in the spring months (March through early May) you can often see these birds performing courtship displays in groups of 5-20 out in the fields. Nowhere else in Michigan are Sharp-tailed Grouse as common as they are in this location. The spring and fall is also a great time to see migrating raptors and geese out feeding over the fields. Rough-legged Hawk, Northern Harrier, American Kestrel, and even Snowy owls can be seen in the early spring and late fall. Thousands of Sandhill Cranes and Canada Geese are found throughout the area and on several occasions birders have found Snow Geese, Cackling Geese and Greater White-fronted Geese mixed in with the Canada Geese. One of the easiest places in the state to find Clay-Colored Sparrows is on Clegg road, which is off of M-48 just 1 mile east of M-129. Drive north on this road slowly and look for these small birds in the hedgerow along the fence on both sides of the road. You won’t even need to get out of your car to see these cute little brown birds. The privately owned wetlands to the North of M-48 just before M-129 are home to Black-Crowned Night Heron, American Bittern, and occasionally Le Conte’s Sparrow.
Other Exciting Features: Pickford/Rudyard Clay Plains
Male American Kestral at nest
Photo by: Paul Rossi