Little birds have big impact on economy

By CARL STODDARD

Capital News Service

LANSING — Little birds have tourists and birdwatchers flocking in big numbers to Northern Michigan, a favorite nesting area for the rare Kirtland’s warblers, which were once nearly extinct.

Ilene Geiss-Wilson, the executive director of the Grayling Visitors Bureau, said she has gone on two tours to see the Kirtland’s warblers in their prime nesting areas east of Grayling. And she’s hardly alone.

“There’s a lot of interest” in the warblers, Geiss-Wilson said. “We have people contact us. They fly in from other countries for a day or two just to check that bird off their list. It’s pretty amazing.”

Diane Tomlinson, owner of the Woodland Motor Lodge in Grayling, said she’s seen “a huge increase in warbler traffic” from around the country and beyond in the last three to four years. Continue reading