Lake Park | Birding Hotspot Review | Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Milwaukee, Wisconsin
2975 N Lake Park Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53211

Notable Birds to See

Louisiana Waterthrush, Connecticut Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Harris’s sparrows and other fall sparrows, other general migrants.

Badgerland Birding Searches for a Connecticut Warbler at Lake Park

Lake Park is easily accessible as it has multiple parking lots serving as points of entry. One lot is on N Lincoln Memorial Dr and another farther south off of East Newberry Blvd. Both lots are technically on a street called N Lake Park Rd. However, these two streets are not connected so it can be a bit confusing.

Walking at Lake Park is easy as it has many roads and walking paths. Most of them are relatively flat. There are some areas of the park that are only accessible with stairs but overall, birding at the park is easy for everyone including those who are less mobile.

Note: There has been construction on one of the bridges at the park for over a year which restricts access to a small portion of the park. While the restricted area has traditionally been a good birding spot, the construction does not impede birders from accessing the majority of the park.


What makes Lake Park an interesting place to go birding is the habitat that it offers. While it does have plenty of open space like most parks do, it also has ravines with walking trails going right through them in addition to a small creek. When birds are present, these ravines are extremely productive and useful for different types of viewing. Above the ravine, birders are able to get somewhat of an eye level view while the trails in the ravine contain many different ground dwelling species.

There are a few bird feeders spread out through the park that attract some migratory species as well as typical year round residents.

This park is accessible to birders with physical limitations as sidewalks and walking paths line the trees and ravines. However, there are stairs that go down into the actual ravines.

Seasonal Differences in Species

When birding at Lake Park, the time of the year is going to be quite relevant. In winter, birds like Dark-eyed Juncos and American Tree Sparrows are found near the bird feeders as well as species like Northern Cardinals, Black-capped Chickadees, and White-breasted Nuthatches.

In summer, there’s not much to see at Lake Park other than the regular summer birds such as Eastern Wood-peewees and Red-eyed Vireos.

The best times to go birding at Lake Park are in the fall and the spring. Spring can be absolutely crazy with almost every species of warbler that migrates through the state being found there. Some of these species include but are not limited to Cerulean Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Connecticut Warbler, and Louisiana Waterthrush. Lake Park typically has records of Louisiana Waterthrush annually during the early parts of spring migration.

Many of the same warblers move through the park in fall with Cape May, Bay-breasted, and Blackpoll Warblers being some of the more common species to move through. In both fall and spring, migratory sparrows and other passerines come through as well including White-throated, White-crowned, and sometimes even rare species such as Harris’s Sparrows.

Badgerland Birding searches for warblers at Lake Park
Personal Experiences

Being a Wisconsin resident who lives within half an hour of Lake Park, it is one of my favorite places to go in the spring time. There have been days when the sheer numbers of warblers and other migratory birds is shocking and it’s honestly difficult to stay focused with how much is going on. The area is well known by local birders so if the birding is good, be prepared to share the space with others.

In a recent trip to Lake Park this fall the numbers of warblers were still quite pleasing with many Cape May, and Bay-breasted Warblers foraging in the trees in addition to a Mourning Warbler, a few Tennessee Warblers, and a single Magnolia Warbler.

I typically don’t go to Lake Park in winter or summer as without migrants there aren’t a ton of different species there that can’t simply be found in a backyard or deciduous forest. Red-headed Woodpeckers can still be found there in summer however.

Other Things to See and Do

Lake Park has a few interesting features to see even if the birds aren’t present. Springs and small creeks going through the ravines offer some nice serene views and sounds. There are also some historical statues to see and a lighthouse that people can walk up into for a small fee. One of the most fascinating things about the park is that any people believe that it contains a buried treasure. This treasure know as “The Secret” is part of a book that looked to give people an exciting quest as the author buried treasure boxes around major cities in the United States. Due to the clues in the book, treasure hunters believe that one of these treasure boxes was placed in Lake Park.

Palm Warbler

Lake park is one of the most popular places to go birding in the Milwaukee area. It’s located just one street away from Lake Michigan so birding there during migration is typically quite good. For anyone visiting the Milwaukee area during peak migration in spring or fall, Lake Park is a must visit.

Other Nearby Hotspots

Veterans Park, Bradford Beach, McKinley Beach, Lakeshore State Park, Discovery World Harbor.

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