Please try this self-guided tour of the McKenna Park and Koval Woods between May 7 and 16.
A pair of binoculars and a bird book will be useful. You may want to listen to some bird calls (www.allaboutbirds.org) or look at the pictures of some of the birds before you start. This tour could be done in twenty minutes – but it would be better to slow down and observe. Any time you stay quiet, even for a short time, the birds will become active again and you will get better looks. An hour should be sufficient on most days – but on a non-migrant day an hour may be too much and during a “fall out” it will be too little. On a slow day, look for the behavior of the resident birds – you may be surprised to find some bird species feeding young and others building nests.
The wooded Village of Shorewood Hills provides opportunities to view a wide variety of birds in a relatively small area. The Village is on the south side of Lake Mendota, which serves as a migrant barrier, concentrating migrants on its southern edge. The lake also has diverse waterfowl earlier in the spring, although they are only visible from Shorewood Hills under certain circumstances (most waterfowl prefer the more sheltered bays like University and Second Point Bay located to the east adjacent to the Lakeshore Nature Preserve). On the east the University of Wisconsin Lakeshore Nature Preserve is a Wisconsin Important Bird Area. The oak and other tree canopy connects Koval Woods and McKenna Park with the Eagle Heights Woods, the closest part of the Preserve. Birds move freely between the adjacent areas of the Preserve and the Village. In addition to occasional water birds, most birds in McKenna and Koval are woodland birds, but in migration almost anything may be found in unusual weather.