Wake up to a jubilant avian version of the hallelujah chorus. Feel your day wind to a relaxing close when you hear the discreet but insistent call of a distant whippoorwill, followed by the haunting wail of a resident loon calling taps.

Early morning and early evening hours are quieter times in the northwoods. That makes them ideal time for a jaunt along one of 27 area birding trails identified as important bird areas by the Wisconsin Bird conservation initiative. here’s just a handful of trails close to Minocqua.

Rainbow Flowage. Look for merlins, spruce grouse, black-backed woodpeckers, gray jays, boreal chickadees, olive-sided flycatchers, yellow-bellied flycatchers, a variety of warblers, northern water thrush and evening grosbeaks. Bald eagles and osprey nest around the flowage. Waterfowl congregate during migration, and shorebirds congregate in the fall.

Willow Flowage. great for seeing (or at least hearing) an owl: great horned, eastern screech, northern saw-whet and barred owls. Heavy concentrations of waterfowl during spring and fall migrations, and shorebirds attracted to the mudflats.

Powell Marsh State Wildlife Area. the 4,300 acres of marshland provide ideal habitat for great blue herons, marsh hawks, eagles, sand hill cranes, short-eared owls, black terns, henslow’s, leconte’s, and nelson’s sharp-tailed sparrows and a multitude of songbirds. 

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. The signature species of this vast forest are alder flycatcher, vesper sparrow and yellow-bellied sapsucker. it has one of the largest concentrations of nesting bald eagles in the world.