News, Notes & Events

Isle Royale Field Ornithology Workshop Offered This Summer
June 13-17, 2017 based in Rock Harbor  
Experience four days in Lake Superiorís Isle Royale National Park and learn to identify the breeding birds of Isle Royale by sight and sound.

This new ornithology workshop is open to adults with beginning/intermediate knowledge of bird identification and an interest in the birds of Isle Royale. We will focus on learning to recognize boreal breeding birds using binoculars, audio reference recordings, and good field observation skills. The workshop will feature early morning outings to observe dawn chorusing behavior and visits to multiple habitat types to gain understanding of the ecology, distribution, and habitat preferences of Isle Royaleís birds. Evening discussions of bird identification will include informal presentations on warbler migration and ecology.

Instructor Zach Gayk has many years of experience studying native birds across Michiganís Upper Peninsula. He authored several scientific articles on the resource partitioning of northern birds and currently leads a study on behavioral ecology of Neotropical passerines migrating along Lake Superior. A lifelong birder, Zach has previously worked as a consulting biologist for the Bete Grise Preserve, Michigan Breeding Bird Atlas, and holds a masterís degree in evolutionary genomics from Northern Michigan University.

Workshop activities will take place primarily outdoors. Field trips will be centered in the Rock Harbor area (NE end of Isle Royale). You should be able to walk up to eight or so miles a day with a daypack on sometimes on steep, rocky trails and slippery bedrock shore. Participants may camp for free at a Rock Harbor group site, or stay in the Rock Harbor Lodge or housekeeping units at their own expense (

Workshop fee of $699 per person covers instruction, camping, entrance fees, meals (Tuesday lunch- Saturday lunch) & transportation to/from Houghton, MI, on the NPS ferry Ranger III. ($25 discount for IRKPA members; see for information on becoming an IRKPA member). A $200 deposit is required to reserve your place. Mail your check, payable to "IRKPA," 800 E. Lakeshore Dr., Houghton, MI 49931. The balance is due April 1. Cancellation policy: A cancellation fee of $75 will be charged for cancellations between April 1 and April 30. No refund for cancellations made on or after May 1 unless a replacement participant is available. Enrollment is limited to 10 participants, so register soon to guarantee your spot. Questions? Contact instructor Zach Gayk ( or Kristine Bradof at or 906-482-7860.

Download and share the flyer here. (PDF)



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