About our Location

Fairlane Lake

The University of Michigan-Dearborn is located in Dearborn, Wayne County, Michigan (42.321, -83.238). The natural habitat at the site covers approximately 290 acres (118.2 ha), which includes land owned by Wayne County that is under University stewardship. Major natural features include the Rouge River (the region’s primary watershed), which runs through the site, and a small, eight-acre (3.2 ha) lake. Habitats include mature deciduous floodplain forest, including one of the few remaining climax beech-maple forests in southeastern Michigan; forest in secondary succession; and some areas of maturing old fields. The entire area is surrounded by varied urban and residential use. Wayne County is predominantly urban.

This isolated remnant of natural habitat in a region so closely associated with industrialization in America offers a unique opportunity to study the importance of urban natural areas to birds. With 251 bird species recorded, it is clearly a valuable piece of real estate for birds and other wildlife.

Our site is in the Byways to Flyways guide to featured birding locations in the Windsor-Detroit metropolitan region, and the location of RRBO is included on the map which features Important Bird Areas in the United States, produced by the National Geographic and American Bird Conservancy.

Visiting the Natural Area

The Natural Area trail system is open daily dawn to dusk.  We request that you please stay on the trails. Jogging, dogs, bicycles, picnics, and other activities that interfere with the quiet study of nature are prohibited. Please also refrain from using tape recordings to attract birds and other wildlife.

The trail map (link in sidebar) is from the book The Birds of Dearborn, An Annotated Checklist, which gives details on birding in the Natural Area as well as other locations around Dearborn.

The banding lab of RRBO is housed in the Environmental Interpretive Center (EIC). Because RRBO is a research operation, visits to the banding lab during operational hours are limited to special events. If banders aren’t working when you stop by the EIC, ask for Julie Craves and if she is available, she can give you a quick tour of the lab. Net lanes are restricted to volunteers and staff only.

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