115 Kensington Metropark
wildlife viewing |
directions and facility information
More than 1,200 acres of water are nestled among
the rolling, wooded hills of Kensington Metropark.
Part of this park is highly developed and highly used,
but the nature study area has been tailored for wildlife
viewing. There are seven hiking trails that radiate
from the nature center throughout the wetlands, forests,
and fields on the site. The Chickadee Loop (1 mile)
and Fox Trail (1/2 mile) are the most rustic of the
trails. A golf course provides cross-country skiing
Carp are not native to Michigan, but they do provide
a close-up view of underwater wildlife that is not
seen. Kids love to watch them! Photo: © Phil
If you like viewing white-tailed deer, this is the
place to come. Deer are very likely to be observed
during any season or time of day. Look for them in
open areas along park roads—Route 2 is especially
good. For a more natural experience, stalk quietly
along the nature trails in the morning or evening.
The sandhill crane, pileated woodpecker, and Acadian
flycatcher are a few of the 253 bird species that
have been identified within Kensington. Wildwing Trail
is the longest of the trails (2.5 miles), and it includes
a boardwalk that takes you right by an island in Wildwing
Lake where great blue herons nest. It’s easiest to
see these large wading birds from the boardwalk in
April and early May.
The pileated woodpecker is a
large, crow-sized woodpecker
with a vibrant red comb on the top
of its head. Woodpeckers have a
special spongy tissue around
their brains that acts as a
"shock absorber" so they can
make a living pounding their
heads on trees!
Photo: MI DNR
This trail also runs near an osprey "hacking tower,"
where 23 osprey chicks were released from 1998 to
2002. Go to the "Osprey Watch of Southeast Michigan"
for more information on this important effort to help
restore the population of "fish hawks." If you like
to see fish, the carp at Kensington are usually very
easy to see from the lakeshore near the Nature Center
and the boardwalk along Wildwing Trail. Kensington
is also home to over 300 kinds of wildflowers.
Many people come to Kensington to see white-tailed
deer. A controlled hunting program helps keep the
deer from over-populating and damaging the habitat,
but they are still seen frequently in the park. Photo:
For a little more "pampered" kind of wildlife viewing,
consider booking passage on the Island Queen II excursion
boat. This passenger boat makes leisurely trips around
the lake and can be chartered. Kayaks can also be
rented if you prefer quieter transportation.
Naturalists and volunteers maintain and monitor
a series of bluebird nesting boxes at Kensington.
See the "How You Can Help" icon below
if you are interested in helping out.
Photo: © Phil T. Seng
Family interpretive programs are offered on the weekends
year-round, and these include frog walks, nature hikes,
and "Astronomy at the Beach," where you can learn
more about celestial bodies after a day of wildlife