W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary in Augusta: An Up Close Nature Experience the Whole Family Will Love
Located just 15 minutes from both Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary offers an escape from city living as well as a chance to get up close and personal with hundreds of waterfowl. Several trails wind through the grounds, and visitors are even able to purchase corn and feed the swans, ducks, and geese that hang out in and around Wintergreen Lake. Part of the Michigan State University W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, the bird sanctuary serves as an outdoor classroom and a safe haven for birds and other animals. We very much enjoyed our recent visit to the bird sanctuary, and today we’ll showcase some of the things you’ll find there and share some pictures and videos.
The Kellogg Bird Sanctuary’s history is described on a sign near the start of the trail: “In 1927, W.K. Kellogg, the cereal company owner, set aside this former farmland as a haven for Canada Geese. A year later, Mr. Kellogg donated the land to Michigan State University, which created the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. Over time, these conservation efforts by Mr. Kellogg and others save the Canada Goose from extinction. today, the Sanctuary offers refuge for birds and wildlife. As part of the Kellogg Biological Station, the Sanctuary works with researchers from MSU and other institutions to study the ecology of all living systems, including birds, fish, and water quality.”
There are five main attractions that you’ll want to be sure and see when you visit. The main attraction is the paved and accessible path that leads to Wintergreen Lake and its hundreds of ducks, geese, and swans. The Birds of Prey enclosure feature hawks, eagles, and owls that have been rehabilitated at the sanctuary and now call it home. The Leslie E. Tassell (yes, the same man that one of our favorite parks in Grand Rapids is name for) upland game bird display area showcases pheasants, quails, and more. The Light Memorial Water Garden is located in front of the auditorium and we saw quite a few frogs there enjoying it. In front of the welcome center is the Pollinator Garden, where carefully planted native plants attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and more. In addition to these attractions there are several trails that wind through the park including the 1.4-mile Lake Loop Trail.
Signs on the fence near Wintergreen Lake show the common waterfowl species you might encounter here. Trumpeter Swans, Mute Swans, Mallard Ducks, Canada Geese, and Great Blue Herons were just a few of the birds we saw during our visit. The ducks and geese were plentiful, and the swans greeted us very enthusiastically once they saw the bucket of corn. Kids will have a blast here getting to feed the birds and it is a great time to teach that bread is harmful to these species and there are better alternatives. Some of the best views come from the Overlook Museum, where you can look out on the lake and lagoon from up above.
In the Birds of Prey enclosures we saw Red-Tailed Hawks, Bald Eagles, a Screech Owl, Great Horned Owls, a Barred Owl, and a Barn Owl. Most of these birds were awake and active, and the eagles were pretty vocal and put on a bit of a show for us.
The colorful pheasants in the Upland Game Bird Display Pen were another highlight of our visit. Signs here also explain the importance of game birds as well as the challenges they face due to disappearing habitat.
For more details about sanctuary events and admission, visit https://birdsanctuary.kbs.msu.edu/visit/. Maps of the sanctuary are available at the admission window. The sanctuary is located at 12685 C Ave. in Augusta, look for the map at the bottom of the post below the photos. Here’s a look at some pictures from our visit: