Great River Birding Trail

Discover 90 Birding Sites

The Mississippi River is a national treasure despite decades of engineering, pollution and neglect. It is a working waterway, serving as the country's main artery for the shipment of grain, coal, petroleum and other commodities. But the river and its 30-million-acre floodplain also form an internationally significant flyway for migratory birds and provide destinations for millions of Americans who enjoy birding and whose visits enrich local economies.

1.) Itasca State Park Minnesota's oldest State Park was established in 1891, is over 32,000 acres, and includes more than 100 lakes as well as the start of the great Mississippi River. One of the Park's highlights is being able to walk across the infant Mississippi River as it starts its winding journey 2,552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. The park was formed on the edge of repeating glacial advances resulting in ranges of hills mixed with numerous lakes, ponds, and bogs to explore.


Habitat: the diversity of vegetation in the park supports many wildlife species. Birds To Look For:Common Loons, Bald Eagles, Black-backed Woodpeckers, Black-throated Green Warbler, Scarlet Tanagers, Blackburnian Warblers. Notes: Some of the best places to spot for birds include the Lake Alice Bog and the Deer Park Trail. Contact: 36750 Main Park Drive, Park Rapids, MN 56470; (218) 266-2100; itasca.park@dnr.state.mn.us

2.) Iron Springs Bog Scientific And Natural Area

Habitat: a combination of raised-bed conifer and swamp forest, boreal forest, and pine forest. Though this site is good for birds, the conifer swamp has some of Minnesota's rarest plant species. The best time to visit is in early spring to mid-summer to view wildflowers and warblers. Birds to Look For: Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Gray Jays, Hermit Thrushes, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers, Blackburnian Warblers. Contact: Shevlin, MN; from Park Rapids take US Hwy 71 20 miles north and then 7 miles northwest on MN Hwy 200; (651) 259-5088

3.) Long Lake County Park Long Lake Park offers 92 campsites amid a pine woods. Itasca County Park, the birth place of the Mississippi River is only 5 miles away. The campground amenities include trout fishing, scuba diving, boat rentals, and a weekend ice cream social.

Habitat: This is a great spot for warblers in the spring as well as loons and eagles from spring through fall. Birds To Look For: Bald Eagles, Common Loons, Hermit Thrushes, White-crowned Sparrows. Notes: The campground is open mid-May through Mid-September, with primitive camping available for the fall hunting season. Reservations are strongly recommended. Contact: 19141 Heart Lake Rd, Shevlin, MN 56676; camp@longlakepark.com

4.) Neilson Spearhead Center A 460 acre nature preserve operated by Audubon, the center is a preserve established around Spearhead Lake. Dedicated to Ecological and educational research.

Habitat: The open water is great for viewing waterfowl. Birds To Look For: Bald Eagle, Osprey, Common Loon, Barred Owl, Hooded Merganser Contact: 48851 County 29, Bemidji, MN 56601; (218) 444-8672

5.) Bemidji's Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox Statues A big highlight when traveling is the folk art many towns exhibit, and the town of Bemidji does not disappoint with statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Part of the legend of Paul Bunyan and his faithful blue ox Babe is that their footprints created the lakes of Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes. If you look at Bemidji, its shape resembles a large footprint. That statues were mascots of a winter sports carnival and unveiled in January of 1937.

Habitat: This is a great stop-over for birds year round, even in winter when the water on Lake Bemidji is open. Birds To Look For: Bald Eagles, Common Loons, Ring-billed Gulls, Bohemian Waxwings, Pine Siskins, Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneyes, Tundra Swans, White-winged Scoter Notes: Seasonality Year-roundContact: Third St. and Bemidji Ave., Bemidji, MN 56601; From Bemidji, take Bemidji Ave. to 3rd Street NW. Watch for an 18 foot tall lumberjack statue next to a blue ox.

6.) Lake Bemidji State Park Lake Bemidji was as a state park in 1923. This area used to be hunted and fished by the Dakota Indians. The name comes from the Anishinabe, who knew the lake as "Bemiji-gau-maug" meaning cutting sideways through or diagonally. This was a reference to the path of the Mississippi River through the lake. During the peak of logging around the turn of the century, the lumber mills on the south shore of Lake Bemidji were the center of logging in the nation and some logging artifacts can be found by divers. A few areas within the park boundaries were still in a virgin state when the land was purchased by the government, thus preserving a remnant of towering forests so common in years past.

Habitat: Located in the pine-moraine region of Minnesota. The park contains a mixture of plant communities from mixed red and white pine upands to jack pine barrens. The park also contains a conifer blog that includes some of Minnesota's most unusual plants animals. Make sure to take time and walk the quarter-mile long boardwalk, which leads into the bog. There visitors can observe pitcher plants, insect-eating sundews, orchids, birds, and wildlife. Birds To Look For: Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Common Loons, Bald Eagles, Osprey, Veery, Black-backed Woodpecker Notes: northeast side of Lake Bemidji; Open year round for outdoor activities from 8am-10pm daily Contact: 3401 State Park Rd. NE, Bemidji, MN 56601; (218) 755-3843

7.) Refuge Pond in Bemidji Game Refuge Area

Habitat: This is an excellent area for viewing waterbirds as well as various songbirds. Birds To Look For: Red-necked Grebes, Common Loons, Ring-necked Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, Wood Ducks, Bald Eagles Notes: Seasonality Open to deer and waterfowl hunting, dress accordingly during hunting season. Contact:From Bemidji, take Hwy 21 north to Sumac Rd. Turn right on to Sumac Rd. and head east. Travel a little over a half-mile to an overlook of the pond, where you can pull over and scan for birds.

8.) Big Turtle Lake

Habitat: This is an excellent site for observing Red-necked Grebes during courtship, nesting, and rearing of young. Black Terns and Common Loons also nest on the lake. Birds To Look For: Red-necked Grebes, Black Terns, Common Loons, Bald Eagles Notes: Contact: Take Irvine Ave., also called Co. Rd. 15, north to the public access on the west side of the lake and scan for waterfowl; seven miles north of Bemidji

9.) Big Bog Recreation Area At 500 square miles, the Big Bog is the largest peat bog in the lower 48 states. In 2005, a mile long boardwalk was built that gives visitors a chance to watch for reptiles, mammals, birds, and carnivorous plants.

Habitat: peat bog Birds To Look For: Great Gray Owls, Connecticut WarblersNotes: Seasonality In summer it's good for warblers, in winter it's good for owls. Also, keep your eye open for moose, black bear, wolves, and salamanders.Contact: 55716 Highway 72 NE, Waskish, MN 56685; (218) 647-8592

10.) Ten Section Area Interest in this area by conservationists in the late 1800s and early 1900s, initiated the formation of the Chippewa National Forest.

Habitat: This site is good for watching for forest-dwelling raptors. Birds To Look For: Northern Goshawks, Bald Eagles, Northern Hawk Owls Notes: Permits are required to use National Forests lands when there is commercial gain or there is an impact on the forest. Permits for commercial filming, outfitting and guide, river permits, wilderness permits, etc. can be found at the National Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management Passes and Permits Website. Contact: From the town of Cass Lake, go east on US 2 about 2.5 miles. Turn right and head south onthe Pike Bay Look Rd. Go another 2,5 miles and turn east on USFS Rd 3901 to enter the heart of Ten Section Area.

11.) Norway Beach Interpretive Center The recreation area offers activities and camping sites located in four campground loops. There are interpretive trails, sandy beaches, a paved biking trail, boat ramps, picnic shelters and the Norway Beach Visitor Center are all nestled among red and white pines. There are firewood and recycling centers located at each campground. There are also showers and an RV dump station.

Habitat: Watch for forest dwelling raptors and songbirds as you hike through red-pine forest Birds To Look For: Bald Eagles, Northern Shrikes, Common LoonsNotes: The Center is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Naturalist programs are scheduled Wednesday, Fridays, and SaturdaysContact: Norway Beach Rd, Cass Lake, MN; from the town of Cass Lake, take US-52 east four miles; (218) 335-8560; r9_chippewa_public@fs.fed.us

12.) Stony Point Campground

Habitat: Mixed habitat of hardwoods, shoreline thicket, and lake make for a great mix of birds. Birders can walk through the campgrounds out to the point, as well as take a self-guided interpretive trail. Remnant elm snags, sugar maple, and basswood tress provide a dense canopy over the trail. Birds To Look For:Common Tern, Blackburnian Warblers, Scarlet Tanagers, Hermit Thrushes, Ring-billed Gulls, Great Blue Herons Notes: The best time to visit is during the spring and fall migration and in summer (if you can stand the mosquitoes); Daily Indoor Lodging Rates: $75 - 370 Daily Camping Rates: $23 - 34 Weekly Indoor Lodging Rates: $445 - 2205 Weekly Camping Rates: $145 - 211 Contact: 201 Minnesota Ave E, Walker, MN 56484; (800) 332-6311 or (218) 547-3260; stonypoint@arvig.net

13.) Leech Lake Recreation Area This is a Federal dam south of Bena that provides year-round birding and is an excellent spot for observing waterfowl.

Habitat: The damn keeps the water open in winter and Bald Eagles have a continuous food source. As you drive to the dam, stop at the Boy River Bridge and watch for Piping Plover, Le Conte's Sparrows, Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrows, and Yellow Rails in the wetlands. There is a Common Tern colony on Leech Lake which can be hard to view but you might see the birds flying overhead Birds To Look For: Piping Plover, Le Conte's Sparrows, Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrows, Yellow Rails, Common Terns, Caspian Terns Notes: The best time to bird this area is during the spring and fall migration in the summer (if you can stand the mosquitoes); Fees: $10-36 Contact: 01217 Federal Dam Dr NE, Federal Dam, MN 56641; Retrace your steps to US 2 and head west to Bena. AT Co. Rd. 8 turn left and head south. Watch for posted recreation signs to pull over and scan the lake; (218) 654-3145; Leech.Lake@usace.army.mil

14.) Mud-Goose Wildlife Management Area A good spot for migratory waterfowl.

Habitat: This WMA has 14,000 acres of forest, marsh, sedge meadow, and lake habitat Birds To Look For: Ring-necked Ducks, Common Goldeneye, Common Loons, Black Terns, Red-necked Grebes, American Bitterns Notes: Seasonality Best during the spring and fall migration Contact: To Mud Lake take Hwy 2 to Itasca Co Rd 18. Go south on Co Rd 18 for three miles to Itasca Co Rd 139. Go west for three miles to the Mud Lake access. To Goose Lake take Co Rd 52 to the southeast corner boat access. If you are coming from Schoolcraft State Park, return to US 2, turn left (west) and stay on US 2 to Co. Rd. 18. Turn left on Co. Rd. 18 and go south to Co. Rd. 139 which will take you to the Mud Lake Public Access; (218) 327-4428

15.) Winnie Ponds Interpretive Trail Winnie Ponds Interpretive Trail is part of the Winnibigoshish Fish and Wildlife Management Area and over 200 species of birds can be observe throughout the year. Winnie Ponds is part of a wetland complex stretching from Lake Winnibigoshish (west of the dam) all other way to Little Winnibigoshish Lake (one mile to the east). The mile long interpretive trial provides information about the fish and wildlife ponds, wildlife species, and area history and ecology. The Winnie Ponds Fish and Wildlife Management Area was constructed in the 1950s by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to rear walleye fingerlings. The large ponds proved to be difficult to manage for this purpose and operations ceased in the 1970s. Legislation passed by the State of Minnesota allowed the area to revert back to the Leech Lake Reservation Band. The Band's Fisheries Program subdivided one of the ponds into smaller, more manageable ponds that are used to rear fish, while the remainder is used for wildlife management, primarily waterfowl.

Habitat: marsh and open water areas and upland areas Birds To Look For:Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Marsh Wrens, Black Terns, Common Terns, Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Sandhill Cranes, Ruffed Grouse Notes: Fees: Daily Camping Rates: $18 Contact: 34385 Hwy 2 W, Grand Rapids, MN 55744; located right across Co Rd 9 from Big Winnie, just south of the dam that separates Itasca and Cass counties; (218) 326-6128 

16.) Cut Foot Sioux Visitor's Center The visitor's center is open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, and naturalist programs are scheduled every Wednesday in summer. There are short trails an even a 13 mile trek along Simpson creek for the ambitious hiker.

Birds To Look For: Bald Eagles, Black-throated Green Warblers, Common Loons, Barred Owls, Red-eyed Vireos Notes: Seasonality Best time to check this out for birds is in the spring and summer; Call ahead for interpretive program schedule and fees Contact: 44623 Hwy 46, Deer River, MN 56636; (218) 246-8233

17.) Schoolcraft State Park This is a great area for birding throughout the year. Watch for Pileated Woodpeckers, Pileated Woodpeckers, hawks, owls, Pileated Woodpeckers, Common Loons, and waterfowl. In winter, keep your eyes open for flocks of Snow Buntings.

Habitat: 295 acres of virgin pine forest and areas of wild rice. Trees include red pine, white pine, spruce, jack pine, and fir Birds To Look For: Pileated Woodpeckers, Common Loons, Common Goldeneyes, Wood Ducks Notes: Open year round - camping closed winter 02-03; Campground & roads NOT plowed in the winter; Hand pump water in winter; Fees: Daily Camping Rates: $15-19 Group camp site available. Rate: $45/group/night or $3/camper/night, whichever is greaterContact: 9042 Schoolcraft Lane NE, Deer River, MN 56636; (218) 247-7215

18.) Pokegama Dam Recreation Area Pokegama Dam is 3 miles upriver of Grand Rapids. There's a picnic area, camping, fishing and it is handicap accessible.

Habitat: This site is worth a quick stop to scan for waterfowl. Keep your eyes open for Bald Eagles, American White Pelicans, cormorants, and herons Birds To Look For: Bald Eagles, American White Pelicans Notes: Daily Camping Rates: $10-20Contact: 34385 Hwy 2 W, Grand Rapids, MN 55744; (218) 326-6128 

19.) Savanna Portage State Park The park contains the historic Savanna Portage Trail that the Dakota and Ojibwe Indians, explorers and voyageurs. The trail required a six mile portage across marsh, swamp, and forest which took an average of five days to reach the West Savanna River.

Habitat: This is a great are to look for passerines. The park has an excellent hiking trail through tamarack bogs and lake habitat Birds To Look For: Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Connecticut Warblers, Black-bellied Woodpeckers, Pine Grosbeaks, Evening Grosbeaks, Great Gray Owls Notes: Seasonality The best time is spring and early summer before the biting insects are out in full force; The park is open 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily; Fees: Daily Indoor Lodging Rates: $70; Daily Camping Rates: $11-22 Contact: 55626 Lake Place, McGregor, MN 55760; (218) 426-3271; savannaportage@northlc.com 

20.) McGregor Marsh Scientific and Natural Area The SNA and surrounding habitat is a very popular birding spot. Some of the best birding is along Hwy 65, however traffic sounds can make listening for birdcalls challenging. You can walk into the marsh area to look for birds, but keep in mind hip waders would be a good idea.

Habitat: marsh area Birds To Look For: Yellow Rails, Sharp-tailed Sparrows, Marsh Wrens, American Bitterns, Bobolinks, Savannah Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, Great Gray Owls Notes: Seasonality The best time is spring through early summer when you can hear birds on territory singing Contact: From Hwy 210 in McGregor, travel two miles wouth on Hwy 65. The marsh extends about 2 miles south of the junction of Hwy 210 and Hwy 65. The SNA is on the east side of the road. A loop drive is possible by continuing south on Hwy 65 to So. Rd. 8. Turn right on to Co. Rd. 8 and follow that all the way back into the town of McGregor and Hwy 210; (218) 927-6915

21.) Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge This site goes way back! It is believed that the area was inhabited over 1300 years ago and remains can be found in the park (they are fragile and heavily protected by law). The Dakota resided here 300 years ago who were replaced by the Ojibwe who were replaced by Europeans. In 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt established Rice Lake as a National Wildlife Refuge.

Habitat: Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge has bog and deciduous habitat. Though this is great for birding year round, the rice paddies attract 150,000 Ring-necked Ducks in the fall, one of the largest concentrations of this species anywhere. Among the many features, the refuge offers a nine and a half mile auto tour open from dawn until dusk Birds To Look For: Yellow Rails, Black-billed Cuckoos, Veery, Wood Thrushes, Sedge Wrens, Golden-winged Warblers, Morning Warblers, Le Conte's Sparrow Notes: This park has great birding opportunities in any season; Hours: Refuge Headquarters - 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday-Friday; Visitor Center - 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday-Friday; Wildlife Drive/Outdoor Facilities - open daily, sunrise to sunset (year-round) Contact:36289 State Hwy 65, McGregor, MN 55760; (218) 768-2402; ricelake@fws.gov

22.) Uppgaard Wildlife Management Area This is Minnesota's first "Landscaping for Wildlife Demonstration Area." The 16 landscaping components described in Carrol Henderson's "Landscaping for Wildlife" book have been implemented including bird feeders, nest boxes, and plantings for wildllife. This area was donated by Bob and Barbara Uppgaard through coordination by the Minnesota Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

Habitat: The area has been maintained specifically with landscaping for wildlife in mind; Uppgaard WMA has wildlife blinds, well-maintained trails, and scenic overlooks. Habitat includes restored prairie and a wildflower garden. It was landscaped using Carrol Henderson's "Landscaping for Wildlife" book Birds To Look For: Common Yellowthroats, Broad-winged Hawks, American Redstarts, Ovenbirds, Great Crested Flycatchers, Ruffed Grouse Notes: This park is worth a visit in any season; Guided tours are offered in summer every Wednesday at 9:30 am Contact: 11174 County Road 16, Pequot Lakes, MN 56472

23.) Northland Arboretum & Paul Bunyan Savanna This is a popular trail system used by joggers and cross-country skiers and is wheelchair accessible. The Northland Arboretum is an Audubon Important Bird Area. In spring, this is a good place to watch for warblers in the woods, and sparrows in the grasslands and prairie areas. Keep your eye open for eagle nests.

Habitat: The Northland Arboretum is next to the Paul Bunyan Savanna. The trail system passes through both areas with habitat that includes grasslands, prairie, wetlands, and jack pine forest Birds To Look For: Northern Harriers, Sandhill Cranes, Clay-colored Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows, Bald Eagles, LeConte's Sparrows, Red-shouldered Hawks, Black-billed Cuckoos Notes: This park is best visited in the spring and summer Contact: 14250 Conservation Drive, Baxter, MN 56401; (218) 829-8770

24.) Crow Wing State Park A great battle occurred in this area in 1768 between the Ojibwe and Dakota Indians. It was part of the many posts of fur traders along the river. Watch for waterfowl and Bald Eagles along the Mississippi River and Crow Wing River.

Habitat: a good mix of prairie, pine, and hardwood forests Birds To Look For:Bald Eagles, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, Purple Finch, Broad-winged Hawk, Double-cressted Cormorant, American White Pelican, Yellow-throated Vireo, Eastern Meadowlark, Black-throated Green Warbler Notes:The best time to visit this park is during spring, summer, and fall Contact: 3124 State Park Rd, Brainerd, MN 56401; south of Brainerd off Hwy 371; (218) 825-3075

25.) Father Hennepin State Park Named for Father Louis Hennepin, a priest who visited the area with a French expedition in 1680 because he was the first to write extensively about the Mille Lacs area, although he called it Louisiana. Father Hennepin kept a journal describing the habitat and the Mdewakanton Dakota. His journal was published in 1683 in French titled Description of Louisiana.

Habitat: Father Hennepin State Park has good deciduous forest and is well known for its population of albino white-tailed deer. Be sure to stop in to the park office to find out what is being reported, and for maps Birds To Look For: Ospreys, Bald Eagles, Yellow Warblers, Common Nighthawks, Lesser Yellowlegs, White-throated Sparrows Notes: This park is great for birds in any season; Hours: Fall: Daily, 9 am-6 pm, Winter: Daily, 10 am-4 pm Contact: 41294 Father Hennepin Park Road, Isle, MN 56342; (320) 676-8763

26.) Mille Lacs Kathio State Park Throughout the year, you might flush up American Woodcocks and Ruffed Grouse as you explore the park. In the spring and summer, keep your eyes open along the lake for Common Terns and Caspian Terns. Ring-billed Gulls are the more common, but do keep an eye open for a few Herring Gulls that might be mixed in the flocks. A great spot to watch for warblers in the spring, you can also see the usual Minnesota breeding birds including Baltimore Orioles, American Redstarts, Black-capped Chickadees, American Goldfinches, and Indigo Buntings. In the fall and early winter, watch the lake for large rafts of waterfowl including thousands of Common Loons. Many birders like to scan for birds not normally found in Minnesota like Red-throated Loons and Common Loons. In winter watch for Rough-legged Hawks. Though the birding is great, watch for mammals like deer, porcupines, black bear, foxes.

Habitat: This State Park offers over 10,500 acres of second-growth forest with wetlands and a few stands of conifers. Naturalist programs are available and if you have time, climb the park's observation tower to enjoy the view and watch for raptors and pelicans rising on thermals Birds To Look For: American Woodcocks, Sandhill Cranes, Indigo Buntings, Bald Eagles, Common Terns, Black Terns, Caspian Terns, Purple Finches, Pine Grosbeaks, Pileated Woodpeckers, Bonaparte's Gulls Notes: The park is always open, but if you would like to get hold of someone at the center, the best time to reach someone is Sunday-Thursday 9-4 pm and Friday-Saturday 9 am-9 pm Contact: 15066 Kathio State Park Rd, Onamia, MN 56359; (320) 532-3523

27.) Mille Lacs Wildlife Management Area This stop is about 11 miles south of the town of Isle, if you are running short on time, you can skip it. If you do have time, this can be worthwhile for Minnesota birds and mammal specialties. Stop in to the headquarters to ask for the largest updates of what birds are being seen on the WMA. Mille Lacs WMA was established in 1949.

Habitat: This 39,000 acre area has a variety of habitats that makes it ideal for birds. Sixty percent is forested, with the remainder of land being wetlands, bogs and forest openings. Many fields around the area are planted with corn or maintained as hay land Birds To Look For: Red-tailed Hawks, American Woodcocks, Sandhill Cranes, Ruffed Grouse, Ospreys, Bald Eagles, Rough-legged Hawks Notes: The best time to view birds is in the spring and fall Contact: Co Rd 20, Onamia, MN 56359; Hwy 27 west to US 169. Go south on US 169 to Co. Rd. 20 and head east to Co. Rd. 19 and turn left. The headquarters for Mille Lacs WMA is one mile north off of Co. Rd. 19; (320) 532-3537

28.) Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge The refuge is located in central Minnesota and serves as an important stop for many species of migrating birds and also has the largest breeding population of nesting Greater Sandhill Cranes in the state. Crane Meadows NWR was established in 1992 to preserve the large wetlands complex. It is still growing and currently consists of various parcels totaling over 2,000 acres.

Habitat: Located within a large watershed, the habitats that can be found here include native tallgrass prairie, oak savanna, and wetlands with stands of wild rice; good brush habitat and creek habitat and is great for warblers in the spring Birds To Look For: Sandhill Cranes, Upland Sandpipers, Sedge Wrens, Le Conte's Sparrows, Northern Harriers, Eastern Bluebirds, Snow Buntings, Northern Shrikes, Rough-legged Hawks Notes: Open year round during daylight hours. Refuge Headquarters is open Monday through Friday as staff schedules permit. Staff are often out of the office, working on the refuge. Visitor information leaflets are available outside the office; When snow has accumulated, the trail is open for cross-country skiing. Hiking and snowshoeing are permitted to the side of ski tracksContact: 19502 Iris Road, Little Falls, MN 56345; From Little Falls, take Hwy 10 south 2 miles to Co. Rd. 35. Turn left on to Co. Rd. 35 and head east 4 miles to Co. Rd. 256 (also known as Inca Rd. or 190th Ave.). This will give you access to the Platte River where you can look for birds. Retrace your steps to Co. Rd. 35 and head east over the Platte River. After crossing the bridge, take the second road heading north to the NWR headquarters; (320) 632-1575; cranemeadows@fws.gov

29.) Charles A. Lindbergh State Park This is the childhood home of aviator Charles A. Lindbergh. The ice house and the tenant farmer's house are the only other buildings that remain. The Lindbergh house contains many of the family mementos. The Lindbergh Visitor Center is near the home and showcases the lives and careers of three generations of Lindberghs in Minnesota.

Habitat: The original vegetation consisted of pine forest with oak and grassland openings. Today, the forest is comprised oak, with some aspen and conifers. A prairie section is located in the south central park of the park; the Mississippi River provides habitat for waterfowl and for migrating warblers, vireos, and flycatchersBirds To Look For: Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, Wood Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, Bald Eagles, Osprey Notes: Best time to contact someone in the park: Fall: Mon-Fri - 9 am-4 pm; Winter: Fri-Tue - 9 am-4 pm; the Center is open daily during the summer and on weekends in September and October. Although the park does not have a naturalist on staff, activities are offered occasionally Contact: 1615 Lindbergh Drive South, Little Falls, MN 56345; (320) 616-2525

30.) Highway 26 Wayside Rest Area The site was acquired in 1973. Many spring neotropical migrants can be found in this park, including warblers and flycatchers. When the water is open watch for waterfowl, Bald Eagles, and Ospreys.

Habitat: Mississippi River County Park is 209 acres along 1.3 miles of the Mississippi River shoreline. One-third of the park is forested. A long-range goal is to re-establish native plant communities throughout the park Birds To Look For: Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Great Blue Herons Notes: open year round from 6 am-11 pmContact: Little Falls, MN; From the city of Sartell, head north on Co. Rd. 1 about six miles to the park. The entrance will be on your right; (320) 255-6172; parkinfo@co.stearns.mn.us

31.) Partch Woods Scientific and Natural Area This Scientific and Natural Area is named for Max Partch, a former student of Aldo Leopold, who taught at St. Cloud University. The SNA's stream and meadow provides great habitat for watching for passerines like flycatchers, vireos, warblers, sparrows, and orioles. The marshes are great for nesting rails, bitterns, and sandpipers.

Habitat: a very diverse site with wetlands, restored prairie, open water, conifer plantations, and deciduous woods Birds To Look For: Vrginia Rails, American Bitterns, Broad-winged Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, Ospreys, Barred OwlsNotes: Open year round Contact: St. Joseph, MN; Starting in St. Cloud at the intersection of Hwy 15, Hwy 23, and Co. Rd. 75, head west on Co. Rd. 75 to Co. Rd. 3. Go north on Co. Rd. 3, 4.5 miles to Partch Woods SNA; (651) 296-6157

32.) Quarry Park Scientific and Natural Area The SNA is the south part of Quarry Park and Nature Preserve, a 250-acre park depicting the granite industry, historically significant to the area. The woodlands and forest harbor breeding populations of the red-shouldered hawk, listed as a special concern in Minnesota. 

Habitat: Quarry Park offers good meadow, prairie, and oak habitat Birds To Look For: Red-shouldered Hawks Notes: open year round; the SNA is on the south border of Quarry Park Contact: 1802 Co. Rd. 137, Waite Park, MN 56387; (651) 296-6157

33.) Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge In the 1940s, there was interest by both sportsmen and conservationists to preserve the area. The Minnesota DNR studied the area for management but did not have the funding to back it up. In the 1960s, the State of Minnesota requested that US Fish and Wildlife consider the area for a National Wildlife Refuge. Sherburne NWR has over 30,000 acres of wetlands, woodlands, and oak savannah. There is a seven-mile auto tour to explore the Refuge's habitat.

Habitat: a diverse biological community and habitats of what remains of the St. Francis River Valley. It is a transition zone between tallgrass prairie and forest. Many migratory species breed in the wetlands and oak savannahs Birds To Look For: Bald Eagles, Sandhill Cranes, Dickcissels, Bobolinks, Grasshopper Sparrows, Northern Harriers Notes: Open year round. In winter some trails are used for cross country skiing; Hours: sunrise to sundown Contact: 17076 293rd Ave, Zimmerman, MN 55398; 4 miles west on Co Rd 9; (763) 389-3323; sherburne@fws.gov 

34.) Sand Prairie Wildlife Management Area

Habitat: The 700 acres of Sand Prairie Wildlife Management Area encompass two major wetland restorations, a tract of restored prairie, native prairie brushland, and woods Birds To Look For: Sandhill Cranes, American Bitterns, Least Bitterns, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Red-headed Woodpeckers, American Woodcocks, Short-eared Owls Contact: Hwy 10, St. Cloud, MN 56304; Hwy 23 through St. Cloud east across the Mississippi River to US 10, turn right; located across the street from the St. Cloud Correctional Facility; (320) 255-4279

35.) Mississippi Swan Park As Trumpeter Swans were being reintroduced in Minnesota, they began to show up in open patches of water during the fall migration. Residents along the Mississippi River noticed a small flock in the late 1980s staying the winter, taking advantage of the open water due to a nuclear power plant up river. Food was put out for the swans and now over a thousand Trumpeter Swans spend the winter along this patch of the Mississippi River. This is a small lot in a residential neighborhood that was created by the city of Monticello to accommodate tourists coming to see the hundreds of Trumpeter Swans that over winter on the open water of the Mississippi River. 

Habitat: The combination of open river water from the local nuclear plant and 1,200 pounds of cracked corn put out by locals make for a great gathering spots of over a thousand Trumpeter Swans as well as some Canada Geese, Mallards, and other waterfowl during the winter Birds To Look For: Trumpeter Swans, Canada Geese, Wood Ducks, Common Mergansers, Common Goldeneyes, American CootsNotes: Hours: Sunrise to sundown; the park is seldom used in summer months, but quite busy in the winter, once area lakes begin to freeze up Contact: Mississippi Drive, Monticello, MN 55362; from I-94 in Monticello, take exit number 195 to Co. Rd. 75, (also called East Broadway) and turn left. At the first stoplight, turn right and take that to Mississippi Dr. Turn left and follow the residential housing until you see a little sliver of a park with a sign on the right hand side of the road; (763) 295-2700; info@monticellochamber.com 

36.) Lake Maria State Park At one time, the trees in this area were so thick that sunlight could not penetrate to the forest floor in some areas. French explorers called this place "Bois Grand" or "Big Woods." Lake Maria State Park retains a remnant of the grandness of the original Big Woods. This Park has a 300 foot boardwalk and observation deck. There are also 27 miles of hiking trails and the nature center offers seasonal programs. This Park is well known for its population of Blanding's turtles; keep your eyes open for turtles with yellow chins.

Habitat: the park's habitat is excellent for breeding birds and also an important stop over for migrants. At least 2205 different species of birds have been documented in Lake Maria State Park Birds To Look For: Veerys, Cerulean Warblers, Blue-winged Warbler, Short-earred Owls, Trumpeter Swans, Franklin's Gull Notes: open year round from 8am-10pm daily; Some of the trails become cross country ski trails in winter Contact: 11411 Clementa Ave NW, Monticello, MN 55362; (763) 878-2325

37.) Crow-Hassan Park Reserve The tall grass prairie habitat is an important breeding are for many grassland species of birds.

Habitat: a 2,600 acre park with good prairie habitat Birds To Look For: Trumpeter Swans, Red-tailed Hawks, Bald Eagles, Double-crested Cormorants, American White Pelicans Notes: Open year round. Some trails are used for snow mobiles in winter; Hours: 5 a.m.-sunset Contact: 12595 Park Drive, Rogers, MN 55374; (763) 694-7860

38.) Elm Creek Park Reserve (Eastman Nature Center) Elm Creek Park Reserve is 4,900 acres with 29 miles of hiking trails and good wooded and prairie habitats in parts of three cities: Maple Grove, Champlin and Dayton. Be sure to visit the naturalists at Eastman Nature Center to find out the latest bird sightings and programs. The bird feeders around the center are always worth a look. This site is good breeding habitat for many Minnesota specialty birds. During spring migration watch for warblers and native sparrows.

Habitat: wooded and prairie habitats Birds To Look For: Pileated Woodpeckers, Barred Owls, Bald Eagles, Wood Thrushes, Trumpeter Swans, Black-crowned Night-herons Notes: There activities planned year round. In winter, many people take advantage of the park's snow-tubing hill, a beginner-level downhill ski and snowboard hill, cross-country skiing, sliding and snowshoeing; Park is open 5 a.m. to sunset. Eastman Nature Center is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon-Sat and noon-5 p.m. Sun. Contact: 13351 Elm Creek Road, Maple Grove, MN 55369; (763) 694-7700

39.) North Mississippi Regional Park & Kroening Interpretive Center This park near I-694 and I-94 has a tranquil feeling despite its urban surroundings. The interpretive center offers programs and displays of the Mississippi River's relationship with the land and the people. The park is great for urban birds like waterfowl, herons, and warlbers. Keep an eye out for urban mammals too including fox, beaver, and deer.

Birds To Look For: Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Yellow Warblers, Blue-winged Teal Notes: Open year round from sunrise to sunset Contact: 4900 Mississippi Ct., Minneapolis, MN 55403; (763) 694-7693

40.) French Regional Park French Regional Park is on the north shore of Medicine Lake in Plymouth. The park has 310 acres of woods and lake habitat. In the fall and winter the trials are lighted for late night hikes, cross country skiing, and snow shoeing. Park visitors can paddle the scenic channels of Medicine Lake, take a refreshing hike through maple woodlands, or launch a boat and enjoy a day on the water. There's a play area, a swimming beach, and picnic areas. The visitor's center is available to rent for business meeting or social gatherings. This is a great site in the spring and fall for waterfowl, warblers, herons, and pheasant.

Habitat: woods and lake Birds To Look For: Common Yellowthroats, Yellow Warblers, Ring-necked Pheasant, Great Blue Herons, Red-tailed Hawks Notes:open year round; the general park hours are 5 a.m.- sunset. However, in the winter, some of the trails are lighted to allow for nighttime cross country skiing and snow shoeing Contact: 12605 County Road 9, Plymouth, MN 55441; (763) 694-7750

41.) Theodore Wirth Park & Eloise Butler Wildflower Sanctuary Theodore Wirth Park was originally known as Saratoga Park in the late 1880's, then Glenwood Park at the turn of the twentieth century unitil 1983 when it was given its present name. Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary was founded in 1907. The park is 200 acres just west of downtown Minneapolis with 7 miles of hiking trails The area near the bog and near the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden makes a nice migrant trap in the spring and fall.

Habitat: bog and wildflower garden Birds To Look For: Baltimore Orioles, Cooper's Hawks, Common Yellowthroats, White-breasted Nuthatches, Pied-billed Grebes, Canada Geese Notes: the park itself is open year round. The gardens and buildins only in spring, summer, and fall; Park Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Garden Hours Daily April 1-Oct. 15: 7:30 a.m. to one half hour before sunset Martha Crone Shelter Hours • Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m. to 1 hour before dusk • Sunday: 12 p.m. to 1 hour before dusk MPRB Naturalist Hours • Monday-Friday: 3:30 p.m. to dusk • Saturday: 10 a.m. to dusk • Sunday: 12 p.m. to dusk Martha Crone Shelter Volunteer Hours • Monday-Friday: 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. • Saturday-Sunday: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Contact: 1339 Theodore Wirth Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55411; (612) 230-6400

42.) Westwood Hills Environmental Education Center Westwood Hills is a nature center tucked in 150 acres of St. Louis Park. Birthday parties for individuals age 4 and older feature a one-hour naturalist-led program and another hour for your use of a private party room. Children will meet a live animal, hike outdoors and then celebrate the birthday in a private room in the Nature Center. You bring the treats, paper ware and presents. Reservations are being accepted for Saturdays and Sundays through November. The park has been in existence since 1981.

Habitat: includes marsh, woods, and open lake, and can be explored on 3 miles of trails Birds To Look For: Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks Notes:Park is open year round; Park Hours - Sunrise to Sunset everyday Interpretive Center Hours: Mon - Fri - 8:00 am - 4:30 pm Sat - Sun - 12:00 noon - 5:00 pm Closed weekends June to August, Holidays Contact: 8300 W Franklin Ave, St. Louis Park, MN 55426; (952) 924-2544

43.) T.S. Roberts Bird Sanctuary The sanctuary is named for Thomas Sadler Roberts, the author of the 1932 classic, "Birds of Minnesota." This 13-acre sanctuary, on the northeast side of Lake Harriet, is part of the Minneapolis "Chain of Lakes" which includes Lake Calhoun, Cedar Lake, and Lake of the Isles. All the lakes are popular destinations for birders, joggers, bike riders, and dog walkers. This oasis is a magnet for birds in an urban area. The sanctuary is located near the parks rose gardens and is a popular place for wedding ceremonies.

Habitat: woods and lakes Birds To Look For: Ring-billed Gulls, Barred Owls, American Coots, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Nothern Cardinals, Broad-winged Hawks Notes: located along the northeast side of Lake Harriet in Minneapolis near the rose gardens; Hours: 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Contact: 4124 Roseway Rd., Minneapolis, MN 55409; (612) 230-6400

44.) Minnehaha Falls Regional Park This city park in Minneapolis is known for the waterfall created by Minnehaha Creek, and immortalized by Longfellow in "The Song of Hiawatha." It is well used by walkers, bike riders, and dog walkers. Some of the trails can be strenuous. The park was acquired by the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board in 1889.

Habitat: This park is great for warblers and vireos in spring and has a resident Barred Owl pair. Watch the cedar trees in winter for Northern Saw-whet Owls. Be sure to watch overhead for hunting Peregrine Falcons Birds To Look For: Barred Owls, American Redstarts, Yellow Warblers, Double-crested Cormorants, Peregrine Falcons, Indigo Buntings, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Northern Saw-whet Owls Notes: open year round; Hours: 6 am-10 pm; continue through the Minnehaha Falls Regional Park to the Ford Bridge and Lock and Dam #1 and watch for nesting Peregrine Falcons on top of the cliffs just downriver Contact:4801 Minnehaha Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55417; (612) 230-6400

45.) Wood Lake Nature Center The visitor's center is always worth a check before heading out on the trails to fin out what birds and wildlife are being seen throughout the park. This is one of the Twin Cities best birding spots and is easily accessible. This park has had nesting owls including Barred Owls and Great Horned Owls. Though a popular destination in spring and fall for migrating warblers, vireos, flycatchers, and sparrows, it is also good for waterfowl including Ruddy Ducks, Pied-billed Grebes, Ring-necked Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, and Wood Ducks. Watch the reeds for Soras, Virginia Rails, and Least Bitterns. Bluebirds and Swallows nest throughout the park.

Habitat: boardwalk trails through marsh and wetland habitats as well as wooded areas and restored prairie Birds To Look For: Eastern Bluebirds, Hooded Mergansers, Wood Ducks, Barred Owls, Pied-billed Grebes, Soras, Least Bitterns, Green Herons, Wood Ducks Notes: open year round; Building Hours: 8:30 am - 5 pm (Monday-Saturday) Noon - 5 pm (Sunday) Park Hours: 5 am - 11 pm Contact:6710 Lake Shore Dr., Richfield, MN 55423; (612) 861-9365

46.) Minnesota River Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor's Center These are known to many Twin Cities birders and include both the Bass Ponds and Long Meadow Lake area of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is one of the best places in the Twin Cities for viewing birds during spring migration with its woods, thickets, grasslands and ponds. From late March to early June, the Bass Ponds are flooded with a long list of spring migrants.

Habitat: woods, thickets, grasslands and ponds Birds To Look For: Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, Cardinals Notes: open year round Contact:3815 E 80th St, Bloomington, MN 55425; (612) 854-5900

47.) Bass Ponds These are known to many Twin Cities birders and include both the Bass Ponds and Long Meadow Lake area of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is one of the best places in the Twin Cities for viewing birds during spring migration with its woods, thickets, grasslands and ponds. From late March to early June, the Bass Ponds are flooded with long list of spring migrants.

Habitat: woods, thickets, grasslands and ponds Birds To Look For: White-crowned Sparrows, American Redstarts, Blackburnian Warblers, Tennessee Warblers, Nashville Warblers, Eastern Bluebirds, Wood Ducks Contact:Bloomington, MN; from the NWR, return to American Blvd and 34th Ave. S. and continue west on American Blvd. for 0.8 miles to 24th Ave. S. Turn left on 24th Avenue S. and travel south 0.5 miles to Old Shakopee Rd. Continue south on Old Shakopee Rd. and then south-west 0.3 miles to a stoplight at 86th Street E. Turn left at 86th Street E. and travel 0.1 mile to a small gravel road on your left. There is a parking area at the end of this gravel road. If you are handicapped, you can get a key from the Visitors Center that will open a gate allowing you to drive down the hill to a second, closer parking area.

48.) Staring Lake Outdoor Center Staring Lake is a hidden gem located in Eden Prairie with woods, prairie, and lake habitats. The Outdoor Center offers programs and field trips, so it is worth a call to find out what is being offered. The Park is great for warblers in spring and fall, waterfowl, bluebirds, wood ducks, and nesting Great Horned Owls.

Habitat: woods, prairie, and lake Birds To Look For: Great Horned Owls Notes:Open Year round Contact: 13765 Staring Lake Pkwy, Eden Prairie, MN 55347; (952) 949-8479

49.) Carver Park Lowry Nature Center is located in the park and has feeding stations that are always worth a look and a good place to check for recent sightings. Programs are offered throughout the year, one of the most popular is songbird banding every third Saturday of the month. Carver Park is a popular destination for watching American Woodcocks doing their mating dance in spring. There are Osprey nesting platforms, and Bluebird boxes for viewing. Other birds around the park include egrets, waterfowl, Bobolinks, Northern Shrikes, Bald Eagles, and Trumpeter Swans.

Habitat: 3,500 acres of mixed oak and maple forest, grassland, prairie, marsh, and wetland habitats Birds To Look For: American Woodcocks, Osprey, Bluebird, Bobolinks, Northern Shrikes, Bald Eagles, Trumpeter Swans Notes: Open year-round; Hours: 5:00 a.m. - Sunset Contact: 7025 Victoria Drive, Victoria, MN 55386; (763) 694-7650

50.) Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park The dam is divided into two regional parks on either side of the river. Anoka County Park and Recreation operates the east side of the river, while Three Rivers Park District operates the west side. Both areas have a visitor center and a 12 foot pedestrian walkway connects the two parks. This entry is for the Anoka County side.

Habitat: a heron rookery and nesting Ospreys; also a great spot for migrating warblers in the spring Birds To Look For: Ospreys, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets Notes: Hours: 5 am-sunset. Visitor Center Hours: Mon-Fri 8 am-8 pm; Sat-Sun 8 am-6 pm; both the east and west side charge a parking fee since they are operated by two different communities; both areas have trails for winter activitiesContact: 10360 West River Road, Brookyn Park, MN 55444; (763) 757-4700

51.)Springbrook Nature Center The nature center is widely recognized for its naturalist programs. Springbrook's original 124 acres were purchased by the City in 1970 and 1971 using Land and Water Conservation Funds from federal grants. The Nature Center designation the Fridley City Council occurred in 1974. An additional three acres was added on the south boundary in 1981 by Northern States Power Company to compensate for the park area that their second high power line would cover. This brought the nature center to its current size of 127 acres. In 1986 a widely photographed tornado spent several minutes in the nature center, bringing national media attention. It took several years to clean up, with the loss of thousands of century old trees and extensive areas of mature forest habitat. Springbrook offers an interpretive center, 3 miles of trails and gets 5,000 annual visitors. The land around the nature center was intensely developed for residential and commercial uses. A result of this development is that Springbrook is an island of nature today, making it an oasis for migrating and nesting birds.

Habitat: oak and aspen woods and some prairie and wetland habitat Birds To Look For: Great-crested Flycatchers, Eastern Bluebirds, Indigo Buntings, Yellow Warblers Notes: Interpretive Building Hours: Nov 1-March 31: Mon-Sat 9 am-5 pm; Sun 12-4 pm; April 1-Oct 31: Mon-Fri 9 am-9 pm; Sat 9 am-5 pm; Sun 12-4 pmContact: 100 85th Ave. N.W., Fridey, MN 55432; (763) 572-3588; info@springbrooknaturecenter.org 

52.) Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area At more than 23,000 acres, this is the largest public land holding in the Twin Cities area. Carlos Avery WMA offers 23 miles of hiking trails and a seven mile auto tour. You can pick up maps at the DNR headquarters on Broadway St. Part of the WMA is a sanctuary and does not allow trespassing; be sure to follow the maps and obey the signs. On the grounds of Carlos Avery WMA is the Wildlife Sciences Center, a nonprofit education and research facility that is home to wolves, lynx, bears, fox, and birds of prey. Many of the animals are on exhibit for public viewing. It is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area, especially if you have kids (of all ages) with you. 

Habitat: a mixture of marsh, open water grasslands, and oak woods Birds To Look For: Sandhill Cranes, Northern Shrikes, Rough-legged Hawks, Snow Buntings, Short-eared Owls, Bald Eagles Notes: W.M.A. is open year round, seven days/week from 4 am-10 pm; Office hours for wildlife staff are Mon-Fri 8 am-4:30 pm; Office is closed on certain holidays Contact: 5463-C West Broadway, Forest Lake, MN 55025; (651) 296-5920

53.) Islands of Peace Park This is a floodplain forest and part of the Mississippi Regional Park. There's a Great Blue Heron rookery visible from the park.

Habitat: floodplain forest Birds To Look For: Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Black-crowned Night Herons, Green Herons Notes: Open year round; dawn to dusk Contact: 5100 East River Road, Fridley, MN 55432; (763) 757-3920

54.) Snail Lake/Vadnais Lake These lakes provide the water supply for the city of St. Paul and help contribute to the water quality of the surrounding area. A road splits Lake Vadnais and you can either walk or drive slowly along it to scan for birds. You can bird watch at the fishing areas of Sucker Lake. Two miles northwest of Lake Vadnais is Grass/Snail Lake Regional Park, which is also good for birds. Some of the roads are closed in the winter. Lake Vadnais is one of the most reliable spots to see Common Loons in spring and summer in the Twin Cities metro area. All spots are good for Caspian Terns, Pied-billed Grebes, Double-crested Cormorants, Green Herons, and Bald Eagles.

Habitat: lakes Birds To Look For: Caspian Terns, Pied-billed Grebes, Double-crested Cormorants, Green Herons, Bald Eagles Notes: Contact: 4200 Snail Lake Boulevard, Shoreview, MN 55126; (651) 777-1707

55.) Harriet Alexander Nature Center The Nature Center is surrounded by 52 acres of marsh, prairie, and forest habitat. The park has Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, vireos, Red-tailed Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, and warblers during spring and summer.

Habitat: surrounded by 52 acres of marsh, prairie, and forest habitat Birds To Look For: American Redstarts, Red-tailed Hawks, Great-crested Flycatchers, Eastern Bluebirds, Warbling Vireos, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks Notes: open year round; Hours: Tue-Sat 10 am-4 pm; Sun 1 pm-4 pm; Closed Mondays Contact:2520 Dale St. N., Roseville, MN 55113; (651) 765-4262; hanc@ci.roseville.mn.us 

56.) The Raptor Center at the University of Minnnesota University of Minnesota's Raptor Center is a world-renowned hospital for birds of prey. Tours of the center can be scheduled to view live eagles, hawks, owls and falcons. Wild raptors are sometimes attracted during mating season.

Birds To Look For: eagles, hawks, owls, falcons Notes: open year round; Hours: 10 am-4 pm Tue-Fri; 12-4 pm Sat-Sun; A Raptors of Minnesota program is offered at 1 pm Sat & Sun Contact: 1920 Fitch Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55108; (612) 624-4745

57.) Como Park & Zoo When Lake Como is open, waterfowl from teal to loons can be found on the surface. The park has nesting Cooper's Hawks, is a great migrant trap during the spring and fall.

Habitat: Lake Como Birds To Look For: Common Loon, Cooper's Hawks Notes:Open year round, however, not all exhibits are open in winter; Hours: Oct-March 10 am-4 pm; April-Sept 10 am-6 pm Contact: 1100 No. Hamline Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108; (651) 632-5111

58.) Hidden Falls Park The park dates back to 1887, when it was selected by Henry Cleveland, a nationally known landscape architect and park planner, as one of four major park sites for the City of Saint Paul. This Park has a spring fed waterfall and is flood plain and mixed oak forest. The bluff and beach along the river provide a great opportunity for watching raptors catch thermals. Hidden Falls connects with Crosby Farm Park. Watch for waterfowl and for Peregrine Falcons hunting them. The areas is a popular destination during spring and fall migration for people to watch for waterfowl, warblers, vireos, and raptors.

Habitat: a spring fed waterfall and is flood plain and mixed oak forest Birds To Look For: Red-tailed Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, Turkey Vultures, Bald Eagles, Double-crested Cormorants, Belted Kingfishers, Eastern Phoebes, Indigo Buntings, Nashville Warblers, Tennessee Warblers, Red-eyed Vireos Notes: open year round; Lock and Dam #1 has nesting Peregrine Falcons and this park is connected to Crosby Farm Park Contact: 1100 No. Hamline Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108; (651) 632-5111; ParksPermits@ci.stpaul.mn.us 

59.) Crosby Farm Park The park is named after Thomas Crosby, an English immigrant who staked out 160 acres in the valley southwest of the present-day junction of Shepard Road and Interstate 35E in 1858. The park offers over six miles of paved trails along a beautiful setting for a walk, run, or ride. Trails run along shady, wooded bottomlands next to the Mississippi River, along the marshes of Crosby Lake and Upper Lake, past scenic picnic areas and connecting to the Mississippi River Boulevard parkway. Crosby connects with Hidden Falls Park where the Minnesota River meets with the Mississippi River, making this a bird superhighway during spring and fall migration.

Habitat: shady, wooded bottomlands next to the Mississippi River; marshes Birds To Look For: Great Egrets, Turkey Vultures, Belted Kingfishers, Black-billed Cuckoos, Broad-winged Hawks, Prothonotary Warbler Notes: open year round; attached to Hidden Falls Regional Park Contact: 1100 No. Hamline Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108; (651) 632-5111; ParksPermits@ci.stpaul.mn.us 

60.) Battle Creek Regional Park The west end of Battle Creek is in St. Paul and has 1,840 acres of woods, wetlands, and prairie. Read the signs; some of the trails were developed for mountain biking. Another good spot for warblers in spring, this park also has Eastern Towhees, Broad-winged Hawks, Wild Turkeys, and a Band Swallow colony. Herons, egrets, and bald eagles nest on an island on nearby Pig's Eye Lake, so watch for those birds flying overhead.

Habitat: 1,840 acres of woods, wetlands, and prairie Birds To Look For: Eastern Towhee, Broad-winged Hawks, Wild Turkeys, Bank Swallows, Bald Eagles, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Black-crowned Night-herons Notes: Hours: open year round, but please call before you arrive for exact park hours; Pig's Eye Lake is just to the south of the park Contact: Winthrop Street, St. Paul, MN 55119; (651) 748-2500

61.) Maplewood Nature Center The visitor center has mixed woods with a shallow lake and 1.5 miles of trails to explore. A floating boardwalk is great for scanning and photographing waterfowl. Another good spot for warblers in spring but also watch for waterfowl and herons.

Habitat: mixed woods with a shallow lake Birds To Look For: Wood Ducks, Purple Martins, Eastern Bluebirds, Green Herons Notes: Open year round; Visitor center open Tue-Sat 8:30 am-4:30 pm; Trails open 1/2 hr before sunrise and close 1/2 hr after sunset daily Contact: 2659 7th St E, Maplewood, MN 55119; (651) 249-2170

62.) Lake Elmo Park Reserve Lake Elmo is 2,165 acres of rolling hills and forest, prairie, and lake habitat. This park is popular, but it is great for waterfowl, herons, warblers, native sparrows, Ring-necked Pheasants, and Wild Turkey.

Habitat: 2,165 acres of rolling hills and forest, prairie, and lake habitat Birds To Look For: Ring-necked Pheasants, Wild Turkey Notes: Hours: 7 am until one-half hour after sunset; park facilities include modern and equestrian campgrounds, picnic areas, a fishing pier, a boat launch, and a sand bottom, chlorinated swim pond. The swim pond is open daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day Contact: 1515 Keats Ave N, Lake Elmo, MN 55042; (612) 430-8370

63.) Afton State Park This park has 1,695 acres with trails through native and restored prairie, deep wooded ravines, and scenic bluffs along the St. Croix River. There is a Visitor's Center with educational programs and it is worthwhile to check in and find out what's being seen around the park. Afton is a good place for warblers in the spring and fall and the prairie areas are good for grassland birds including Field Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrows, and Henslow's Sparrows. Watch for eagles and vultures along the bluffs.

Habitat: 1,695 acres native and restored prairie, deep wooded ravines, and scenic bluffs along the St. Croix River Birds To Look For: Field Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrows, Henslow's Sparrows Notes: open year-round; certain facilities, trails and activities are not available during the colder months Contact: 6959 Peller Ave S, Hastings, MN 55033; (651) 436-5391

64.) Lost Valley Prairie Scientific and Natural Area Lost Valley SNA contains a series of limestone ridges and lowlands full of native prairie grasses. This is an excellent stop for native sparrows and raptors. Listen for Clay-colored Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows, Savanna Sparrows, and Indigo Buntings.

Habitat: limestone ridges and lowlands full of native prairie grasses Birds To Look For: Clay-colored Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows, Savanna Sparrows, Indigo Buntings Notes: open year-round Contact: 10501 Nyberg Avenue South, Hastings, MN 55033

65.) Grey Cloud Island This area is private property, so stay on the roads while watching for birds. Someone in the area does keep peacocks on their property, and you can hear their loud wailing calls. This is a good observation spot for migratory birds in spring and fall. In winter, open water attracts Bald Eagles. Waterfowl and gulls can be found in late fall and early spring. This is an excellent spot for passerines, and the adjacent farmlands support pheasants, bluebirds, Bobolinks, and sparrows.

Birds To Look For: Bald Eagles, Bobolinks, Eastern Bluebird Notes: Contact:Saint Paul Park, MN 55071; From the intersection of I-94 and I-35E in St. Paul, take I-94 east to US 61 going south. US 61 will merge with Hwy 10. Continue south to St. Paul Park and Co. Rd. 75. Head south on Co. Rd. 75 across the backwaters to grey Cloud Island at the edge of Spring Lake.

66.) Dodge Nature Center This was one of the first nature centers to open in Minnesota. Dodge offers great nature related educational programs that include farm animals, birds of prey, bee-keeping, maple sugaring, and organic gardening. Over 200 species of birds have been documented around Dodge Nature Center! This is a good place to see a variety of nesting species such as Black-billed Cuckoos, Bobolinks, Clay-colored Sparrows, Savanna Sparrows, and Indigo Buntings.

Habitat: over 5 miles of trails through prairie, marsh, ponds, orchards, and oak savanna Birds To Look For: Black-billed Cuckoos, Bobolinks, Clay-colored Sparrows, Savanna Sparrows, Indigo Buntings Contact: 365 Marie Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55118; (651) 455-4531

67.) Fort Snelling State Park In pre-settlement times, the Dakota lived along the two rivers and was believed by some tribes to the origin of the center of the earth called Mde-wa-kan-ton-wan Dakota, the "Dwellers by Mystic Lake." By the late 1600s, Europeans had visited the area. In the 1820s, historic Fort Snelling was built on the bluff above the two historic rivers. The area became a state park in 1962. This site has had 244 avian species recorded, one of the highest total for any Minnesota State Park. This park features 18 miles of trails along the river bottoms where the Minnesota River joins the Mississippi River. This area offers great birding year round. 

Habitat: primarily woods, thickets, grassland and wetlands Birds To Look For:Bald Eagles, Baltimore Orioles, American Redstarts, Osprey, Bank Swallows, Indigo Buntings, Song Sparrows, Warbling Vireos, Peregrine Falcons, Lesser Scaup, Yellow Warblers Notes: open year round Contact: 101 Snelling Lake Road, St. Paul, MN 55111; (612) 725-2724

68.) Old Cedar Ave Bridge Another good year-round birding spot. The water near the road is great for all sorts of waterfowl. The old bridge itself is closed, but there are plans to replace it sometime in the future. This should not deter you from visiting this prime birding location.

Habitat: part of a corridor along the Minnesota River that totals 2,200 acres of woods, thickets, grasslands, wetlands, ponds, and lake Birds To Look For:American Wigeons, Gadwalls, Ring-necked Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Belted Kingfisher, Virginia Rails, Soras, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Baltimore Orioles, Eastern Towhees Contact: Eagan, MN; take 77 South to E Old Shakopee Rd. Turn right, then left onto Old Cedar Avenue South.

69.) Black Dog Preserve and Scientific and Natural Area Great for Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons year round. This is a popular destination in winter because the open water attracts gulls and waterfowl. Part of the lake remains open year round because of the power plant, which also serves as a nesting site for Peregrine Falcons.

Habitat: lake, marsh, and prairie Birds To Look For: Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Common Mergansers, Trumpeter Swans Contact: Burnsville, MN; From I-35W and I-494, head south on I-35W to the Black Dog Rd. exit. Turn right and follow Black Dog Rd. to Hwy 77 and scan for eagles and waterfowl. When finished, retrace your steps back to I-35 and continue south to Cliff Rd. Head east on Cliff Road and watch for the pull-off parking for Black Dog Preserve SNA; (952) 845-5900

70.) Spring Lake Nature Preserve Spring Lake and Pool 2 were formed when Lock and Dam#2 was completed in the 1930s. A trail takes you through an evergreen forest of ponderosa, jack, red, and white pines. The Park has an overlook onto the river for viewing Bald Eagles, herons, egrets, and waterfowl. 

Habitat: evergreen forest of ponderosa, jack, red, and white pines Birds To Look For: Bald Eagles, Eastern Bluebirds Contact: 8500 127th Street East, Hastings, MN 55033; (612) 437-6608

71.) Carpenter Nature Center Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center has property on both the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides of the scenic St. Croix River. There are over 10 miles of hiking trails; some strenuous, and some paved for people with mobility issues. Carpenter has a wonderful interpretive center and offers daily programs and special events; a favorite is songbird banding offered every Friday morning.

Habitat: tall pines, oak savanna, restored prairies, wooded ravines, and an apple orchard Birds To Look For: Bald Eagles, Field Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Catbirds, Chipping Sparrows, Sharp-shinned Hawks Notes: Hours: Hiking trails, Beach access, and the Interpretive Center are open to the public 7 days a week 8 am-4:30 pm and are only closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day Contact: 12805 St. Croix Trail, Hastings, MN 55033; (651) 437-4359

72.) Hastings Scientific and Natural Area The Hastings site contains two forest communities. The upland hardwood forest is dominated by old growth red oak, sugar maple, and basswood; the floodplain forest, by cottonwood, green ash, and silver maple. American elm, formerly the most important species, has all but vanished due to Dutch elm disease. A wide diversity of plant species occur on this site, including the very rare snow trillium. 

Habitat: remnant maple and basswood forest; floodplain forest Birds To Look For:Warblers, hawks, owls, woodpeckers, herons, Bald Eagles Notes: there are no trails leading into this area, but it is public land Contact: MN Hwy 291, Hastings, MN 55033; South on Hwy. 61 from Hastings, turn left onto 10th St. This will become Hwy. 54 as you head out of town. Turn right onto Cty. Rd. 91. A small parking lot is located 1 mile up the road. 

73.) Vermillion River Bottoms - Gores Pool Wildlife Mgmt Area This WMA is located next to the Mississippi River which offers many recreational. The purpose of this WMA is to preseve and provide recreation in a large, unbroken area of floodplain forest, as well as preserving waterfowl and furbearer habitat. There is a designated Migratory Waterfowl Refuge near the south end of the unit, which is off limits to all activities. This is a very scenic side trip away from the Great River Road that offers access to the Hastings Scientific and Natural Area on the north end of Hwy. 54, before rejoining Hwy. 61.

Habitat: Mississippi and Vermillion River Flood Plain Forest and backwater marshes Birds To Look For: Wintering eagles, warblers in migration, herons, woodpeckers and owls Notes: for excellent viewing of eagles in winter, follow the road to Lock & Dam 3 Contact: Hastings, MN; from Red Wing, drive north on Hwy. 61, turn right onto Hwy. 18. Follow Hwy. 18 to Hwy. 54. From Hastings, turn left on 10th St. This will become Hwy. 54

74.) Colville Park A small marina in the town of Red Wing that has gained notoriety for winter flocks of Bald Eagles. This is a good trip to take with non-birding friends. This is a prime winter destination for eagle viewing. As the water along the Mississippi freezes, the nearby power plant keeps this marina open and stuns fish at the same time. Anywhere from 50-300 Bald Eagles can be easily viewed from the warmth of your car. Waterfowl are always present. Scan the trees for Eagle nests. From this point, you can return to Red Wing and cross the bridge into Wisconsin, or continue south along the Minnesota route.

Habitat: open marina waters along the Mississippi Birds To Look For: Bald Eagles, Mallards, Hooded Mergansers, Lesser Scaup, Ring-neck Ducks, American White Pelicans Notes: Open year-round; Eagles in abundance in winter Contact:Red Wing, MN; from downtown Red Wing, take US 61 south about 1 mile to the right turn for the Marina. Follow the signs into the park, you will double-back under US 61 to enter park.

75.) Frontenac State Park Explore spectacular views of a part of the Mississippi river known as Lake Pepin from the bluffs or hike through the flood-plain forest. Naturalist programs are presented on a seasonal basis - generally mid-May through Labor Day. Check at the park fro the program schedule. Take your time driving through the neighborhoods and watch some of the residential feeding stations for hungry migrants. Remember to be mindful of private property.

Habitat: 2,773 acres of bluffs, prairie, flood-plain forests, and hardwood forestBirds To Look For: Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Scarlet Tanagers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Bell's Vireos, Henslow's Sparrows, Orchard Orioles, Bobolinks, Prothonotary Warblers, Turkey Vultures, Tundra Swans Notes: open year-roundContact: 29223 Cty 28 Blvd, Frontenac, MN 55026; (651) 345-3401

76.) Hok-Si-La City Park Hok-Si-La is a small, 252 acre park located on the Minnesota side of Lake Pepin and is one of the best areas along the river to explore for spring warblers. If you only have time for one stop in spring, this is the place to be. Three words for this park in spring: warblers, warblers, warblers. Also watch for Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and Pileated Woodpeckers.

Habitat: Lake Pepin, Mississippi River Birds To Look For: Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Pileated Woodpeckers Notes: open year roundContact: 2500 N Hwy 61, Lake City, MN 55041; (651) 345-3855; hoksila@ci.lake-city.mn.us 

77.) Reads Landing Check out the scenic overlooks near Reads Landing for great views of the river. As parts of the Mississippi River freeze up in winter. This area can have a large concentration of Bald Eagles. If you scan the trees you will find a few eagle nests and a heron rookery as well. In November, large flocks of Tundra Swans and Common Mergansers can be found here also.

Habitat: river Birds To Look For: Bald Eagles, Tundra Swans, Common Mergansers Notes: open year round Contact: Hwy 61, Reads Landing, MN 55968; (651) 565-4158

78.) National Eagle Center and Wabasha Eagle Observation Deck The National Eagle Center is located in downtown Wabasha and offers programs with live eagles and has an observation deck to view wild eagles along the river.

Birds To Look For: Bald Eagles Notes: open year round; Hours: Daily 10 am-5 pm; daily eagle shows at 11 am, 1 pm and 3pm Contact: 50 Pembroke Ave, Wabasha, MN 55981; (651) 565-4989; info@nationaleaglecenter.org 

79.) Wilcox Landing - State Wildlife Area Located between Kellogg and Wabasha, this wildlife area offers great habitat for a diversity of birds from ducks to warblers to birds of prey. There are particularly good sightings especially during spring flooding. Be sure to drive carefully in May and June to avoid the rare Blanding's Turtles crossing Hwy 84.

Habitat: open fields, upland forests, river Birds To Look For: almost all duck species, Tundra Swans, shorebirds, Woodcocks, Bald Eagles, Prothonotary Warblers, Lark Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrows, Red-shouldered Hawks Notes:particularly good sightings during spring flooding Contact: located between Kellogg and Wabasha, MN; turn off Hwy 61 north of Kellogg to Co. Rd. 30. Go north past Co. Rd. 24 intersection. Turn right at the second Co. Rd. intersection. Sign for wildlife area is on left. From Wabasha: Co. Rd 30, turn left at the first Co. Rd 24 intersection and proceed.

80.) Kellogg-Weaver Dunes SNA (Upper Sand Prairie) Kellogg-Weaver Dunes contains a rolling sand dune topography well above the current floodplain of the Mississippi River, on a terrace where the Mississippi, Chippewa, and Zumbro Rivers once came together. Some dunes are 30 feet high. The site encompasses a diversity of successional stages ranging from blowouts with bare sand, to mature dunes with dry, mesic, or wet prairie species. An oak savanna, with pin oak, bur oak, and jack pine, occurs along the edges. One of the largest populations of the rare Blanding's turtle uses this site, which provides an ideal habitat of calm, shallow waters rich in aquatic vegetation, with sandy uplands for nesting. Unfortunately, roadways separate the water and upland Blanding's habitats, which means that both the mature females and their hatchlings risk roadkill during their journeys in June and late August. The sand dunes provide another special mid-summer event when the rough-seeded fameflower blooms daily after 4:30 p.m. for just three hours. Midsummer is a good time, too, to observe the rare yellow-fruited sedge and Ottoe skipper butterfly amidst the unusual grasses and wildflowers. 

Habitat: deciduous woods, blufflands, open fields Birds To Look For: Sandhill Cranes, flycatchers, Eastern Kingbirds, swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, Bell's Vireos, Red-eyed Vireos, warblers, Yellow Warblers, American Redstarts, Dickcissels, Bobolinks, Eastern meadowlarks, Orchard Orioles, lark Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrows Notes: watch for the rare Blanding's Turtle, which uses this habitat; a side road leads to a public water access Contact: Kellogg, MN; take Cty. Rd. 84 south. The northern tract has a sign and limited parking off of CR 84, 4.3 miles south of Kellogg. The southern tract has a parking area at the end of Township Rd. 141, which intersects with CR 84, 5.5 miles south of Kellogg.

81.) Weaver Bottoms Each fall, the Mississippi River valley becomes a migration corridor for many species of waterfowl, raptors and shorebirds moving from their northern summer homes to warmer southern wintering grounds. One of the more spectacular birding opportunities in the southeastern Minnesota region is witnessing the impressive concentration of thousands of tundra swans in November at the Weaver Bottoms marshes of Winona County. Such great numbers of tundra swans only appear in this area on their route south.

Habitat: open fields and water Birds To Look For: almost all duck species, Bald Eagles, American White Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Tundra Swans, gulls, Forster's Terns, Black Terns Notes: in late fall, this is a major staging area for Tundra Swans; there is a public parking lot, boat landing, and kiosk at Weaver where you can scout for birds; to get a view from up high, drive roughly 2 miles south of Weaver on Hwy 61 Contact: Weaver, MN; located 7 miles south of Kellogg, below the town of Weaver and north of Lock &Dam 5. 

82.) Whitewater State Park and Whitewater WMA Picturesque limestone bluffs and deep ravines make Whitewater State Park a very popular southeastern park. The 2,700 acre park is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise trout fishing, a sandy swimming beach, a year-round visitor center, easy-to-challenging hiking trails, camping, a group camp, and a modern group center. All through the year, discover the natural and human history of the area at one of the many interpretive programs, visitor center exhibits or self-guided trails. 250 kinds of birds use the Whitewater River Valley during the course of a year. Wild turkeys are in the valley and bald eagles can be found year-around. In the spring, listen and look for the rare bird, the Louisiana waterthrush.

Habitat: upland forests, open fields and water Birds To Look For: geese, ducks and other waterfowl, nesting Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles in winter, Wild Turkeys, Barn Swallows, Turkey Vultures, Ospreys, Ruffled Grouse, Whip-poor-whills, Pileated Woodpeckers, Wood Thrushes, Louisiana Water-thrush; great variety of warblers during migration (including the Blue-winged Warbler) Notes: wonderful side trip from the Great River Road; there is an excellent interpretive center with displays at Whitewater State Park, as well as camping and cabins; great place to watch birdfeeders from indoors in winter; easily accessible Contact: 19041 Hwy 74, Altura, MN 55910; (507) 932-3007

83.) Prairie Island The road leading into Prairie Island Park has fantastic views of bottomland forest and marshlands. Thousands of ducks use the area above the spillway.

Habitat: bottomland forests, marshlands, open fields and water Birds To Look For: Thrushes, warblers, Great Horned Owls, Barred Owls, woodpeckers, nuthatches, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, vireos Contact: Winona, MN 55987; follow Huff St. to the river, where it curves sharply to the left and becomes Riverview Drive. Continue 1.5 miles and turn right on Prairie Island Rd. Follow to park entrance on the left.

84.) Aghaming Park Bring your hiking boots and long pants for a trek through Aghaming Park -1,950 acres of some of the best preserved floodplain forest in the country and a pristine destination for bird watching.

Habitat: bottomland forest, open water/river view Birds To Look For: excellent for Spring warblers, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Prothonotary Warblers, Cerulean Warblers, geese, ducks, rails, Bald Eagles, Red-shouldered hawks, Ospreys, cuckoos, woodpeckers, flycatchers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers Notes: this park is undeveloped and accessible only on foot or by boat from the Minnesota side, although the park is in Wisconsin Contact: Latsch Island, Winona, MN 55987; cross the Hwy. 54 bridge to Wisconsin, turn right directly after bridge onto Latsch island, follow the left fork at the "Y", park in front of the old concrete wagon bridge and walk across to Aghaming Park; (507) 457-8258

85.) Great River Bluffs State Park This is beautiful bluff country! The park contains two Scientific and Natural Areas - King's and Queen's Bluff. The King's Bluff trail offers a breathtaking view of the Mississippi River Valley. Bring your binoculars; the river valley is a major flyway for waterfowl, eagles, and hawks. Explore the diversity in this park: oak-hickory and maple-basswood forests, pine plantations, fields, and goat prairies offer visitors excellent hiking and a diversity of wildlife. Look for ruffed grouse, wild turkeys, coyotes, and many species of songbirds.

Habitat: goat prairie habitat, high wooded bluffs and great views of the Mississippi River Valley and Driftless Area Birds To Look For: Wild Turkeys, Whip-poor-whills, Henslow's Sparrows, Bell's Vireos, Blue-winged Warblers Notes: watch for nesting Peregrine Falcons on the cliffs Contact:43605 Kipp Dr., Winona, MN 55987; off of I-90/Hwy 61; (507) 643-6849

86.) Mound Prairie Marsh SNA Located within the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest, just south of the Root River, the site contains three southwest-facing goat prairies separated by oak forests and the steep, rocky ravines of ancient stream beds on the north side of Hwy 16. An additional three goat prairies are found on the south side. Stream terraces contain remnants of fine, glacial silt deposited when the valley floors were higher. The superb goat prairies support a highly diverse plant community that includes such rare species as white wild indigo, goat's rue, jewelled shooting star, Ohio spiderwort, and the narrow-leaved milkweed with its greenish flowers. The prairie vole, a rare mammal typically found in northwestern Minnesota, is found at this site. Removal of encroaching trees and brush by cutting and prescribed burning is enhancing the prairie and rare species habitat. Hike the goat prairies in early to late summer to find the rare species in bloom. Spectacular views from this outstanding prairie SNA make the upward climb well worthwhile.

Habitat: goat prairies, oak forests and steep rocky ravines of ancient streambedsBirds To Look For: Sandhill Cranes, Common Moorhen, Least Bittern, Yellow-headed Blackbirds Notes: spectacular views from climbing the SNA prairieContact: Hokah, MN; take Hwy. 16 west about 4 miles. Park on gravel forest road on the north side of the highway.

87.) Shepherd's Marsh

Habitat: marshlands, open fields and water Birds To Look For: waterfowl, marsh birds, Common Yellowthroats, swallows, Belted Kingfishers Notes: Contact: La Crescent, MN; take the old highway (Main St.) along the east side of Highways 14/61, turn east at the car wash on Main Street, cross the tracks and drive to the marsh.

88.) Reno Bottoms Dike

Habitat: bottomland forest, open water Birds To Look For: wading birds, waterfowl, woodpeckers, warblers Contact: Reno, MN; entrance and parking located just north of Reno on the east side of Hwy 26, drive or walk down to the access, walk the long dike that extends into the east river bottom.

89.) Reno SRA & Reno Bluff Overlook One of the best hawk-watching sites in Mennesota south of Duluth. In fall look for migrating Monarch butterflies.

Habitat: bluffs, upland forest, open fields Birds To Look For: Cooper's, Broad-wings, Northern Harriers, Red-tails, Peregrines, Goshawks, Kestrels, Red-shoulders, Merlins, Turkey Vultures, warblers, vireos, gnatcatchers, kinglets, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Orchard Orioles, yellow and Black-billed Cuckoos, Eastern Towhees, Wood Thrushes, Scarlet Tanagers, Wild Turkeys, owls, woodpeckersNotes: panoramic views of river; volunteers staff the observation deck weekends November to March from 1-3 p.m., providing visitors with eagle education, spotting scopes and binoculars Contact: Reno, MN; turn west off of Hwy 26 on the gravel road and follow signs, about 0.3 miles pass entrance on the left for the primitive campground and continue about one mile, watch for gate and trail on right, and park in the small parking lot, follow trail up for about 0.3 miles, hold to the right when trail forks, take the trail to old quarry and follow along rim.

90.) Millstone Landing Located in the relatively undeveloped, forested land that forms the western bank of the Mississippi River just north of the Iowa-Minnesota border is the entrance to Millstone Landing, one of four recreational areas operated by the St. Paul District of the Army Corps of Engineers. This facility has a public boat access to the Mississippi, picnic tables and grills, campsites, two privies, and a beautiful forested site. It is connected to a long series of calm backwater channels and great for fishing.

Habitat: bottomland forest, open water Birds To Look For: warblers in spring and woodland raptors Contact: Caledonia, MN 55921; Hwy 26, three miles north of New Albin, Iowa.

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