Jim Doty - Photo Blog

Photography: Photos, News, and Tips
Friday, May 06, 2005

Mid-May is prime time at Point Pelee National Park in Canada. If you are a bird-lover, bird-watcher, or bird photographer, Point Pelee in May should be high on your "A list" of places to be. It is considered to be one of the five best bird-watching sites in all of North America.

Point Pelee is a short drive (30 miles) southeast of Detroit Michigan and Windsor Ontario. Point Pelee is the southernmost point of mainland Canada. It is mostly a narrow spit of land that juts out into Lake Erie, making it one of the shortest migratory bird routes across the lake. There are also some islands along the route from Ohio to Point Pelee.

I have been to point Pelee several times by myself and a few times with friends. When I lived in southern Michigan, it was an easy drive to go over for the day. Although it is the most crowded in May, it is also when you will see the most birds as they migrate across the lake. They are tired from their long flight when they land at Point Pelee so you can get closer to more birds than almost anywhere else in North America.

The last time I was at Point Pelee was on a splendid fly day. Close to 120,000 birds landed at Point Pelee on that one day alone. The place was packed with bird watchers, photographers, and birds everywhere. The time of day didn't matter, the bird watching was great all day long. It was amazing!

If you go in May, drive to the visitor's center (there is a small entrance fee) and take the shuttle south as far as it will go. From there, just walk south and enjoy all of the birds.

The best days are right after a storm clears when the birds have been waiting on the Ohio side.

It can be almost impossible to find a place to stay near Point Pelee in mid-
May. If you don't live close enough to drive over for the day, you may need to find a place to stay in Detroit or Windsor.

Point Pelee's website is here, and you can check live bird sightings here .


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