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Wildlife Watching at Presque Isle State Park


Presque Isle State Park has been rated by BirdWatching magazine as one of the top birding spots in the country. Presque Isle’s location on the Atlantic Flyway makes it a favorite spot for birds to stop to feed and rest on their migration across Lake Erie:

  • Waterfowl migration occurs during March and during late November through December
  • Shorebird migration peaks during April and during September
  • Warbler migration is observed during mid-May and during September

More than 339 species of birds have been identified on the peninsula. A bird checklist is available at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in the Nature Shop.

Gull Point: A Fragile Ecosystem

The most ecologically dynamic area on Presque Isle -- Gull Point -- harbors some of the best examples of ecological succession in the park. This dynamic area, however, is also the most fragile. Many of Gull Point’s plant species are threatened or endangered in Pennsylvania.

Jutting out into Lake Erie, Gull Point offers a safe haven and resting spot for migrating and nesting birds. Shorebirds migrate yearly from beyond the Arctic Circle to the southern reaches of South America and back again.

To preserve the resources of this area, the easternmost portion of Gull Point has been set aside as a State Park Natural Area for rare and migratory shorebirds to rest, feed, and possibly nest.

This natural area is closed to all public use from April 1 through November 30. Visitors can view this area from an observation platform reached via the Gull Point Hiking Trail. Due to the ecological sensitivity of this area, please stay on the designated trail.

Seasonal Natural Attractions

  • January to February -- Ice dunes form on Lake Erie; skiing and snowshoeing
  • April to May -- Early spring migrants and shorebirds; osprey and bald eagle sighted during migration (May); peak of warbler migration
  • June to July -- Summer wildflowers; shorebird migration begins; aquatic wildflowers in bloom
  • August -- Summer wildflowers in great abundance; young herons seen in lagoons
  • September -- Fall warbler migration through month; bird banding; osprey and bald eagle often sighted
  • October -- Waterfowl migration; monarch butterfly migration; foliage best in second week
  • December -- Christmas Bird Count within 10 days of Christmas