The UI Arboretum is a top regional spot for viewing a variety of migrant, summer and winter visitor, and resident bird species. The arboretum can be good to excellent during spring and fall migration for hummingbirds, vireos, flycatchers, warblers, and sparrows among others. Like any migrant trap the quality of birding varies considerably from day to day and is dependent on weather and migration timing.
The two small ponds plus outlet streams provide an important water source for a variety of songbirds and visits from occasional waterbirds (along with the usual Canada Geese and Mallards) plus Great Blue Herons and Belted Kingfishers. Some common species during the spring-summer period include: Cooper’s Hawk, Calliope Hummingbird, Warbling Vireo, Bewick’s Wren, Western Wood-Pewee, Yellow Warbler, and Lesser Goldfinch.
In fall migration, good numbers of flickers and Yellow-rumped Warblers invade the arboretum along with a variety of other species. In late fall through winter the many fruit-bearing trees attract large flocks of American Robins along with Cedar and Bohemian Waxwings; and Townsend’s Solitaires and Varied Thrushes are also often present.
A number of local rarities have shown up here and over the past 10 years and 166 species have been recorded in eBird to date (you can explore the Arboretum eBird hotspot further at www.eBird.org). Although repeated visits over time are best for enjoying the full range of bird possibilities, the “Arb” can be worth a walk at almost any time (**winter access can be occasionally challenging).
Visitors are also likely to enjoy the Arboretum‘s large variety of plants, shrubs, and trees and their seasonally splendid color displays. The ponds and stream also host a good variety and large number of dragonflies in the summer months.