Wisconsin Important Bird Areas

Conserving the most important places for birds

Ozaukee Bight Lakeshore Migration Corridor

Site Description

This site on the Lake Michigan shoreline encompasses the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in northern Milwaukee County and extends northward to Grafton in Ozaukee County.  It also includes blufftop areas on the Concordia University campus and two Ozaukee County parks—Virmond Park and Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve.  Habitats include open Lake Michigan waters, beach, bluffs, upland deciduous forest, shrublands and oldfields, restored prairie, and wetland ponds.

Ornithological Importance

This area is an outstanding migratory stopover and wintering area for waterfowl, landbirds, and shorebirds.  Tens of thousands of scaup, goldeneye, bufflehead, mergansers and other divers congregate in the open waters during the late fall and winter months.  Thousands of raptors can be spotted migrating along the lakeshore from August to November.  Terns, gulls, and other shorebirds use the beaches and shorelines in late fall, winter, and early spring.  Banding and other monitoring efforts at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center have recorded most of Wisconsin’s migrant passerines and other landbirds using the wooded and shrubby habitats close to the lakeshore during fall and spring migrations.

Ozaukee Bight Lakeshore Migration Corridor, photo by Bob Bailie

Ozaukee Bight Lakeshore Migration Corridor, photo by Bob Bailie