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W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary

April 27, 2018

  • 12685 East C Avenue
  • Augusta, MI 49012
  • (269) 671-2510
  • Website

It’s nice outside.  It’s finally nice outside.  We no longer have to feel trapped inside the house on weekends.

This past Sunday, we met some friends for lunch at Latitude 42 in Oshtemo right when they opened at 11:00.  We wanted to get a table near the play area so we could watch the kids and still be able to have a conversation.  We tied up a table for about an hour and a half then went our separate ways.

J wasn’t ready to go home yet and neither was I.  She had read about free admission to a place we had never been to but heard good things about.  It was a nice day and we wanted to be outside so why not? We strapped the kids in and made our way towards northeastern Kalamazoo County.

The W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary is part of Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station.   The sanctuary was gifted to MSU in 1928 after being opened a year earlier as a refuge.  The sanctuary takes up a large track of land that includes Wintergreen Lake near the southeastern edge of Gull Lake in Ross Township.  

We chose to check out the Sanctuary on Earth Day because they were offering free admission.  We weren’t the only ones with that idea.  The small parking lot was full and the long winding road leading up to the Sanctuary had cars parked on either side.  We went all the way up to the parking lot then turned around to head back down the access road where we found a spot large enough for me to parallel park in.

The walk back up to the entrance was short.  The Sanctuary begins withe a building that houses a couple of auditoriums and a book shop.

The Sanctuary Bookshop is off to the right when you walk up to the building.  I assumed that was the entrance where you would pay on a normal day so we walked in to see if that was the case.

The small bookshop was pretty crowded.  There was a lady at the counter with a clipboard keeping track of how many people were coming in.  She marked us down then told us to enjoy our visit.  The Bookshop is also a gift shop where they have a few items.  It’s not like a typical zoo gift shop that is overflowing with stuffed animals but there was something in there that caught L’s eye enough that she threw a fit on the way out when we wouldn’t go back to get it.

The Sanctuary is made up of a couple of different trails but, for the most part, there is one loop where you will see most of the birds that call the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary home.

We made our way down to Wintergreen Lake where a number of geese and swans reside.  There are plaques on the fence with the different species you may see and a little background.

There’s also signage with historical information about the birds that you’re seeing in the park.

We were really excited to just get out of the house and enjoy nature a little bit and that was really easy to do.  The walking baths around the western edge of the lake give you a great idea of what the Bird Sanctuary has to offer.

And while birds are the main attraction, there is also information along the path of the various trees and plants seen throughout the park.

The Bird Sanctuary sells buckets of food but by the time we got there, the buckets were all gone.  There were still plenty of kids running around with some though which brought the birds closer to the fence.

At one point, L was taking pictures with my DSLR and we look down and noticed a nest with a couple of eggs in it right up near the fence.  The kids were fascinated by it and it was really cool that it was up so close but just far enough away that no one could mess with it.

The Bird Sanctuary also hosts birds of prey that can no longer survive in the wild.  There are several pens where the birds have their own space.  Most of the birds can no longer fly or can no longer hunt due to some kind of deformation.

The pens are similar to what you would see in a zoo.  There’s a railing that is supposed to keep you back a few feet but most it wasn’t always being respected.

The enclosures all of have signs with the bird’s story.  It talks about how they ended up at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary and why they can’t go back in the wild.

One of the really cool things the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary has is a black swan.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen one before.  They’re native to Australlia and would never be able to survive the cold winters in Michigan in the wild.

As we were getting ready to head back to the car, I noticed the trail broke off and led to another exhibit.  We followed it down a short hill where the Leslie Tassel Pen is located.

This exhibit area hosts upland game birds.  We walked around the whole pen but there were only a few of the pens that actually had a bird in it.

We spent a couple of hours at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary just walking around and enjoying the weather.  I let L take my camera for most of the trip and she became a little shutterbug.

The Kellogg Bird Sanctuary is another one of those cool places in Southwest Michigan that may not be on your radar.  It wasn’t on my mine until J brought it up and we found out that it’s a great place to wander around for an afternoon.  There are a couple of longer trails if you want to go on a hike or you can just walk around the lagoon and the south side of the lake while feeding the geese.


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