Southwest Michigan Wildlife columnist for The Herald-Palladium

Great blue heron

A great blue heron on Nov. 8 in Royalton Township.

The great blue heron stands at four feet tall and has a wingspan of six-and-a-half feet, making it one of the largest birds to regularly occur in our area.

Most of the great blue heron population is present in Southwest Michigan from late March through the middle of October, with most retreating to the southeastern U.S. for the colder months. Some hardy individuals try to make it through our winters, as was the case of the individual photographed by Bob Conrad of Lincoln Township, back on Nov. 8, at the corner of Hollywood and Glenlord Roads in Royalton Township.

Snowy Owl

A snowy owl sits on the back of Andy Ausre’s truck on Dec. 2 in Pokagon Township.

Mute Swans

Two mute swans on Paw Paw Lake on Nov. 17.

Jonathan Wuepper is an area naturalist. Report your sightings to him at