Auto Tour Stop 14
AUTO STOP 14: BIRDS OF THE BARRENS
A visit to the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area (NBWA) in the early morning or evening with a good pair of binoculars often results in seeing many bird species, some of which may be quite rare in other parts of Wisconsin. Thus far, 121 different species of birds have been identified on the wildlife area. Both amateur and professional birdwatchers travel great distances to visit in hopes of seeing upland sandpipers and sharp-tailed grouse, two species that are normally associated with large expanses of barrens habitat, and found in only a few locations in Wisconsin and North America. Other species, such as the savanna-loving bluebird, or the open land-loving kestrel, are found in good numbers here. Still others such as the bald eagle or raven are common throughout the area in both forested and barrens habitat.
The opportunity to see many different species of birds, both common and rare, has resulted in the NBWA being listed as an important birding site on a couple different registers. The Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail is a series of trails throughout Wisconsin patterned after similar trails in other states. The Lake Superior Northwoods Region of the trails system lists the wildlife area as Stop Number 22. The Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI) has also identified the NBWA as a “Wisconsin Important Bird Area.”