Wisconsin Point is the eastern section of a long coastal barrier sand spit that separates Lake Superior from Allouez Bay; the IBA also includes all of Allouez Bay. The site contains several miles of open sand beach and dunes, open water, small interdunal wetlands, lowland brush, mature red and white pine forest, and young deciduous upland forest.

Ornithological Summary

Located at the head of Lake Superior, Wisconsin Point is a natural ?bottleneck? for birds migrating along the west side of the lake, and receives heavy use by shorebirds, waterfowl and landbirds in both spring and fall. Several hundred, sometimes thousands, of shorebirds use the site, depending on the water level of Lake Superior; 26 species of shorebirds have been recorded since the 1970s. The bay and offshore waters of Lake Superior are favored areas for migratory waterfowl, loons, and grebes, and the land portion of the point can hold very high numbers of migratory landbirds; single-day counts have recorded several thousand individuals. Large numbers of gulls and terns are found here, including Caspian, Common, and Black Terns, as well as Bonaparte?s Gulls, which can number in the thousands in both spring and fall. Many of Wisconsin?s rare gulls have been observed here, including Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Iceland Gull, and Sabine?s Gull. The geographic funnel here often produces sightings of other uncommon and rare species to the area including Western Grebe, Pomarine, Parasitic, and Long-tailed Jaegers, Black-legged Kittiwake, Arctic Tern, Mississippi Kite, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, and Harris?s Sparrow. Formerly, up to five pairs of the federally endangered Piping Plovers nested on the point; none have nested here since the late 1970s, though the area still contains suitable habitat.

Conservation Issues

Wisconsin Point is owned by the City of Superior and managed as a park. It is a popular and well-known destination for bird-watchers; other recreational uses include hiking, beach use, fishing, and hunting. The site also holds significant cultural and historical value because it was once a primary Ojibwe settlement (Peacock and Wisuri 2002). An Ojibwe burial site remains on the point. It is well-marked, and visitors are asked to be respectful of this sacred area in particular and the land that surrounds it in general. Water pollution, invasive species, development, and human disturbance of birds and habitats are actual or potential threats to this site. This site is a potential Piping Plover nesting site and may receive management to improve habitat for this species in the future.

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