The river area is used extensively by waterfowl and shore birds for nesting and brood rearing during spring and summer, and by migrating waterfowl during the spring and fall. Mallards, black duck, wood duck, red breasted and American mergansers, coot, teal, bitterns and herons nest in the floodplain marshes and woodlands. The diving-duck group: redheads, goldeneyes, blue bills, etc., use the river primarily during the spring and fall migration. A few ducks, primarily goldeneyes, winter over in the open water areas of the river. Shore birds such as sorarail, yellow rail, and Wilson’s snipe are common in the area.
Dutch elm disease has killed large stands of American elm in the river’s floodplain. As a result, the ecological changes have been beneficial to certain species of dabbling ducks (mallards, teal, etc.). Upland game birds found in the area include ruffed grouse, woodcock, turkey and, in the farm areas, some ring-necked pheasant. Ruffed grouse and woodcock provide the major upland shooting. Small game include the cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, and fox and gray squirrels.
Furbearers which are open to trapping include beaver, muskrat, mink, otter, red fox, raccoon and skunk.
Source: Pere Marquette River Natural River Plan, Michigan DNR (revised 2002)