Birding Factoids

420 species
in 48 families

42 of the 246 species 
endemic to 
North America are 
represented here. 
No state endemics
No USA endemics

Checklist of Minnesota BirdsLocal EventsTours and GuidesRare Bird AlertsSpeciality BirdsMap
Check out Chris Fagyal's Galleries of Minnesota Birds
Minnesota Specialities
(Pause your cursor on the photo to see the species name. Click on the birds for more info... )
Common Loon - Minnesota State Bird - Photo by Don Baccus
Photo by Don Baccus

Rose-breasted Grosbeak - Photo copyright Robert McDonald

Photo copyright Robert McDonald

Golden-winged Warbler - Photo copyright Robert Royse

Photo copyright Robert Royse

Sedge Wren - Photo copyright Steve Nanz

Photo copyright Steve Nanz

Mourning Warbler - Photo copyright Jean Coronel

Photo copyright Jean Coronel

Great Blue Heron - Photo copyright Peter Wallack

Photo copyright Peter Wallack

Marsh Wren - Photo copyright Erik Kleyheeg

Photo copyright Erik Kleyheeg

Wood Duck - highest breeding density - Photo copyright Don DesJardin

Photo copyright Don DesJardin

Nashville Warbler - Photo copyright Robert Royse

Photo copyright Robert Royse

    Key to Icons....Hawk Ridge - (located in east Duluth) A Guide to One of

      Minnesota's Premier Birding Locations
    ....Pine To Prairie Birding Trail - Minnesota's First Birding Trail! With
      maps of all 43 sites. Welcome to Northwestern Minnesota where a unique collection of habitats provide homes for a tremendous variety of birds. Pine forests, deciduous woodlands, native tallgrass prairie, aspen parkland, sand dunes (remnants of Glacial Lake Agassiz), calcareous fens, bogs, marshes, large and small lakes and rivers make up the transition zone that offers over 275 species of birds. 
    ....Seventeen Quality Birding Locations Around the State. A
      brief guide to some of Minnesota's best birding areas. Includes a reference to Sax-Zim Bog, considered to be the best location in Minnesota by some.
    ....Birding in Southeastern Minnesota - by Bob Ekblad. Detailed 
      information on 22 birding sites in the area of Rochester, Minnesota. See also Bob's Birding Minnesota website.
    ....Birding the Twin Cities - Habitat around urban Minnesota.
      Few cities can claim the rich habitats or abundance of bird life seen in Minneapolis and St. Paul
    ....Birdwatching in Cass County, Minnesota
    ....Birding Roseau County - Roseau is at the juncture of three major
      ecosystems-the tallgrass prairie, the boreal forest and the aspen parklands. In this area there is an abundance of public land with significant amounts of wildlife, especially birds. Over 250 species of birds have been recorded in this area
    ....Birding in Minnesota - Terry Brashear is in the process of writing
      directions to some of the more popular spots to go birding in the Minneapolis area and spots to go in Minnesota to find specialty birds like Boreal Owl, Yellow Rail, etc.
    ....Audubon Centre of the North Woods - On the shores of Grindstone 
      Lake, the Audubon Center is a 535 acre sanctuary that includes a lodge that was built at the turn of the century which is set in the midst of an old growth red and white pine forest. The center features a wildlife rehabilitation facility that is home to a group of education raptors (hawks and owls) plus snakes and frogs. A boardwalk and observation blind allows us to study our wetlands and observe the birdlife. 
    ....Minnesota State Parks - This site provides an index
      to all sixty-four of Minnesota's state parks. Addresses as well as general descriptions of each State Park as provided by the DNR. Additional comments on birds and birding in these parks have been added.
    ....National Eagle Centre - The Wabasha Eagle Watch Observation 
      Deck is the only facility of its kind that is staffed consistently through the eagles' wintering months in the United States. In these prime eagle viewing months, from November through March, over 5,000 people from around the world visit the Observation Deck in Wabasha, MN.
    ....Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge - Nearly 43,000 acres
      of pristine lakes and woodlands, 250 species of birds and great places to watch wildlife.
    ....National Wildlife Refuges  - Minnesota - Map showing
      locations of all Minnesota National Wildlife Refuges.
    ....Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge -
      United States Fish and Wildlife Service
    ....Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is one of only a
      few urban wildlife refuges in the nation, a place where wild coyotes, bald eagles, badgers, and beavers live next door to 2.2 million people. Within this 34-mile corridor of marsh, grassland, and forest that is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, you'll find over 300 species of animals and opportunities for a wide range of outdoor and educational activities.
    ....The Nature Conservancy of Minnesota - preserve profiles
      • Anna Gronseth Prairie
      • Blazing Star Prairie Scientific & Natural Area
      • Bluestem Prairie Scientific & Natural Area
      • Chippewa Prairie
      • Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie
      • Margherita Preserve/Audubon Prairie
      • Ottawa Bluffs Preserve
      • Pembina Trail Preserve Scientific and Natural Area
      • Pankratz Memorial Prairie
      • Schaefer Prairie
      • Susie Island Francis Lee Jaques Memorial Preserve
      • Town Hall Prairie Preserve
      • Trout Lily
      • Weaver Dunes Scientific and Natural Area
    ....Trip Report: Duluth, December 27-30, 1996 - by Urs Geiser and
      Bob Fisher. Bob and I had talked for a while about a winter trip up north to find some of the boreal species, especially owls. Duluth, MN seemed like the logical choice for a base of operations. 
    ....Minnesota Trip Reports - a number of Minnesota trip reports are
      available from Blake Maybank's "Birding the Americas - Trip Report and Trip Planning Repository". 

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Tours and Guides

>>>>>> A Birding Pal is not a paid guide, but someone who likes to help out of town visitors. You can become a Birding Pal today! Help someone to enjoy your local birding spots and find a pal to help you when you travel. Click here for Minnesota Birding Pals, or join to be a Birding Pal!
Bobolink - Photo copyright Bill Schmoker
Photo copyright Bill Schmoker

Black-billed Cuckoo - Photo copyright Kent Nickell

Photo copyright Kent Nickell
    **..Duluth, Minnesota Tour - with On Silent Wings. A little luck, and 
      we might find a Gyrfalcon in the harbor, a Three-toed Woodpecker in a bog, and we'll search for a Boreal Owl. Previous winters have produced Hoary Redpoll, Townsend's Solitaire, and Varied Thrush coming to the feeders in area backyards!
    ....Minnesota & North Dakota with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT)
      From the remote coniferous forests along the Gunflint Trail, to the sedge marshes and tamarack bogs near Duluth, and west to the rolling grasslands and alkaline wetlands near Jamestown, North Dakota, this tour offers a wide variety of habitats that are home to many sought-after birds. Here as well is a multitude of more familiar species in full song, in colorful breeding plumage, and on their breeding grounds--aspects unfamiliar to those birders who see these birds only in winter or during migration. In all, as many as 200 species are typically recorded on this trip.  VENT offers nearly 140 tours to over 100 land-based destinations each year and is the largest tour company in the world specializing in birding and natural history.
    **..Fall Migration in Duluth, Minnesota: An Introductory Birding Tour with
      Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT).  This tour is intended to introduce birders to the considerable variety of migrants that concentrate along the shores of the western Great Lakes. Given favorable west or northwest winds, impressive numbers of birds follow the shoreline and parallel ridges along Lake Superior as they travel south and funnel through Duluth at the western tip of the lake.
    **..Northern Minnesota Winter Weekend with Victor Emanuel Nature
      Tours - A mid-winter tour of northern Minnesota may not appeal to the average tourist (indeed, it may even look like a misprint to some), but Duluth and vicinity during the coldest months of the year have long been an attractive site for visiting birders. Though an average trip list here may only include some 30 to 40 species, it is not unusual for the majority of these to be life birds for someone in the group! 

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Local Birding Events

    ....Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis - Minneapolis - Field Trips
    ....Audubon Society of Fargo-Moorhead - Upcoming Field Trips
    ....Cass County - Upcoming Events 
    ....Central Minnesota Audubon Society - Field Trips
    ....Minnesota Ornithogist's Union - Minnesota Birding Trips 
    ....St. Paul Audubon Society - Field Trips
    ....Zumbro Valley Audubon Society - Upcoming Field Trips

    ....Eagle Watch - March 2 - 3, 2002 - Winona, Minnesota. 

      Bald Eagle viewing and eagle ecology. Contact: Winona Convention and Visitor Bureau - Box 870 - Winona, MN 55987-0870 Phone: 800-657-4972 or 507-452-2272
    ....Big Stone Bird Festival - May 4-5, 2002 - Ortonville, MN. 
      Phone: 800-568-5722
    ....Gunflint Trail Boreal Birding Festival - May 31, June 1 & 2, 2002. 
      Expert and novice birders are invited to join the Gunflint Trail community in the fifth annual festival celebrating the birds of the Boreal Forest. Located in the far northeastern corner of Minnesota, the Gunflint Trail (County Road 12), traverses from Grand Marais, Minnesota, on Lake Superior, to Saganaga Lake, on the Minnesota-Canadian border. Contact: Gunflint Trail Association, P.O. Box 205, Grand Marais, MN 55604. TEL: (800) 338-6932.
    ....Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds - May 16-19, 2002 is the date. 
      The Detroit Lakes area is the heart of a transition zone in northwestern Minnesota. It's a place where the tall grass prairie meets both northern hardwood and boreal forest ecosystems. The diversity of plant, animal and bird life here is unique. In a small geographic area, birders, can find a tremendous variety of species. Mid May birding can be spectacular! Phone: 800-542-3992.
    ....Birder's Spring Rendevous - Welcome back spring as you look for loons, 
      eagles, warblers and white pelicans in the solace of Voyageurs National Park. This celebration of spring migration offers naturalist-led birding walker, campfire talkers and boat tours to help you discover the birding opportunities available in this water-based park. Contact Carol Maass at Voyageurs National Park (218) 283-9821 Fax: (218) 285-7407 Email:
    ....Shorebird Workshop - at the Big Stone NW Refuge in Odessa, MN on
      August 5 and 6, 2000.  Contact Bridget Olson for further information or telephone (320) 273-2191.
    ....Wildlife Festival - October 13, 2001. Contact: Sherburne National 
      Wildlife Refuge, 17076 293 Avenue, Zimmerman, MN 55398. TEL: (736) 389-3323.

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Rare Bird Alert

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North American Specialities in Minnesota

Information derived from Sibley & Monroe checklists in Thayer's Birder's Diary - Version 2.5.
These counts will differ in minor ways from counts based on the ABA classification,
but an international checklist system was required to enable world-wide
country to country comparisons.These speciality birds may be uncommon, or extremely rare
at this location, or may only be present in migration. However, documented sightings of each species
noted below have been made in Minnesota. Consult the Breeding Bird Survey or
Christmas Bird Count data on the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center website
to determine the "best" place to see each bird. Species printed in blue are endangered.

North American Endemic Specialities in Minnesota - No USA Endemics

___ Anna's Hummingbird
___ Baird's Sparrow
___ Bewick's Wren
___ Black-headed Grosbeak
___ Black-throated Sparrow
___ Brewer's Sparrow
___ Bullock's Oriole
___ California Gull
___ Calliope Hummingbird
___ Cassin's Finch
___ Chestnut-collared Longspur
___ Clark's Grebe
___ Clark's Nutcracker
___ Common Poorwill
___ Curve-billed Thrasher
___ Ferruginous Hawk
___ Grey-crowned Rosy-Finch
___ Harris's Sparrow
___ House Finch
___ Le Conte's Sparrow
___ Lewis's Woodpecker
___ McCown's Longspur
___ Mountain Bluebird
___ Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow
___ Pileated Woodpecker
___ Prairie Falcon
___ Pygmy Nuthatch
___ Red-bellied Woodpecker
___ Red-shouldered Hawk
___ Ruffed Grouse
___ Sage Thrasher
___ Say's Phoebe
___ Scott's Oriole
___ Smith's Longspur
___ Spotted Towhee
___ Spruce Grouse
___ Townsend's Solitaire
___ Trumpeter Swan
___ Tufted Titmouse
___ Western Grebe
___ Whooping Crane
___ Williamson's Sapsucker

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Links checked November 18, 2000