Pine to Prairie Birding Trail

Minnesota's first birding trail, the Pine to Prairie Bird Trail consists of 45 sites spanning a 223 mile corridor from pine to prairie in the northwestern part of the state. Situated at the juncture of 3 major ecosystems-tall grass prairie, boreal forests and aspen parkland-this Northwestern Minnesota trail provides a unique collection of habitats which provide homes for a tremendous variety of birds. 

WARROAD MARINA

Birds To Look For: Common Loon, Red-necked Grebe, American White Pelican, Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Bonaparte’s, Franklin’s and Herring gulls, Caspian and Common Tern, shorebirds and migrant passerines. In migration, look for rarities such as: Red-throated Loon, Harlequin Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Scoters, Little and Sabine’s Gulls and Piping Plover.Contact: 800-328-4455 or  www.warroad.org. 

 

RED LAKE WILDLIFE  MANAGEMENT AREA

Habitat: Deciduous and coniferous forest, peat bog and meadow. Birds To Look For: Northern Goshawk; Ruffed Grouse; Spruce Grouse; Northern Hawk,
Great Gray and Boreal Owls; Black-billed Cuckoo; Whip-poor-will; Three-toed and Black-backed Woodpeckers; Alder Flycatcher; Boreal Chickadee; more than 20 species of nesting warblers including Golden-winged, Cape May, Blackburnian, Pine, Bay-breasted, Connecticut and Mourning; Pine and Evening Grosbeaks; Red and White-winged Crossbills. Contact:  218-783-6861.

 

HAYES LAKE STATE PARK

Features: Hayes Lake State Park, located 15 miles south and nine miles east of Roseau. It is located at the western edge of the extensive peat lands and forests of Roseau and Lake of the Woods counties. This 2,950 acre state park features hiking, a campground, a group camp and camper cabins. A new bog boardwalk provides the visitor with opportunities to view boreal bird species, as well as ladyslippers. Contact: (218) 425-7504. 

 

WALLACE C. DAYTON 

CONSERVATION AND WILDLIFE AREA

Features: 12,600 acres of aspen parkland habitat owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Birds To Look For: Sharp-tailed Grouse; Yellow Rail; Sandhill Crane; Marbled Godwits and Wilson’s Phalarope. Contact: 218-436-3455.

 

LAKE BRONSON STATE PARK

Features: Lake Bronson State Park, 3,598 acres in size, is located two miles east of the town of Lake Bronson, in Kittson County. Birds To Look For: Waterfowl, Sharp-tailed Grouse, shorebirds including Upland Sandpiper, Long-eared and Northern Saw-whet Owls, woodpeckers, warblers, sparrows and finches. Contact: 218-754-2200.

 

THIEF LAKE WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA

Birds To Look For: Five species of grebes, American Bittern, Black-crowned Night-Heron, waterfowl including Canvasback and Ruddy Duck, Franklin’s Gull, Sandhill Crane, warblers and grassland sparrows. Notes For Birding The Area: There is a “wildlife viewing mound” along the south end of the lake.  Look for shorebirds by the thousands in August. Contact: 218-222-3747.

 

AGASSIZ NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Habitat: Large pools, marshes, grassland, brushland, aspen woodlands. Birds To Look For: Five species of grebes; Black-crowned Night-Heron; waterfowl; rails; American Bittern; Black-billed Magpie; Yellow-headed Blackbird; Sandhill Crane; shorebirds; Short-eared Owl; Sedge Wren; LeConte’s and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows. Rarities recorded include: Snowy and Cattle Egrets; White-winged Scoter; Golden Eagle and Willow Flycatcher. Contact: 218-449-4115. 

 

GULLY RICE PADDIES/GULLY FEN 

SCIENTIFIC AND NATURAL AREA

Habitat: 406 acres. Deciduous woodlands; coniferous plantations; aspen parkland; oak savannah; prairie; wet meadows; river and lakes. Features: The park features hiking/ski trails and a steam powered flour mill, as well as a campground and swimming beach. Old Mill State Park is operated by the Minnesota DNR. Birds To Look For: Sharp-tailed Grouse, Snowy, (winter only) Long-eared, Short-eared and Northern Saw-whet Owls, Pileated Woodpecker, vireos, wrens, warblers and finches. Rarities seen here include Clark’s Nutcracker and Mountain Bluebird. Notes For Birding The Area: Vehicle permits are required. Area map and bird checklist are available. Picnic area and camping available. Birding can be excellent with over one hundred species commonly found in the park. Contact:  218-437-8174.

 

GULLY FEN SNA

Habitat: Rice paddies, fields, pastures, shrubby grasslands, woodland edges, calcareous fens, conifer and hardwood seepage swamps. Birds To Look For: Waterfowl, including Snow Goose and Tundra Swan; Rough-legged Hawk; Peregrine Falcon; Marbled Godwit and other early shorebirds; Snowy and Short-eared Owls. Watch for Ross’s Geese mixed with Snow Geese. 651-297-2357. 

 

PEMBINA TRAIL PRESERVE SNA

Habitat: Tallgrass prairie, aspen woods, wet meadows, willow thickets, marsh and sedge. Birds To Look For: Sharp-tailed Grouse; Greater Prairie-Chicken; Yellow Rail; Sandhill Crane; Upland Sandpiper; Wilson’s Phalarope; Short-eared Owl; Marsh Wren; LeConte’s Sparrow; Bobolink.

 

TYMPANUCHUS WMA

Features: 840 acre native prairie wildlife management area, managed by Minnesota DNR. Birds To Look For: Greater Prairie-Chicken; Upland Sandpiper; Marbled Godwit; Short-eared Owl; LeConte’s and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows. 218-281-6063. 

 

BURNHAM CREEK WMA

Features: This unit, comprised of 1,460 acres of prairies and a wetland impoundment, is managed by the Minnesota DNR. Birds To Look For: Waterfowl, Rough-legged Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Sandhill Crane, prairie sparrows, longspurs, passerines along brushy edges of impoundments. Notes For Birding The Area: Large concentrations of Sandhill Cranes are most likely in April. Longspur flocks move through in early spring. Shorebirds often use the impoundments; best time to look is late April, May, July and August. Check brushy edges of east side of east pool for passerines. Area is closed to the public during Sept.-Oct. (waterfowl refuge). Contact: 218- 281-6063.

 

GLACIAL RIDGE

Features: 24,700 acres. Tallgrass prairie; aspen woods; sedge meadows; calcareous fens; oak savanna; and cropland. When completed, largest tallgrass prairie restoration area in region. Birds To Look For: Sandhill Cranes, Greater Prairie-Chickens, Bobolink, Marbled Godwits, Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Savanna Sparrow, shorebirds and waterfowl. 218-637-2146. 

 

RYDELL NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Habitat: Marshes, deciduous woodlands, fields. Birds To Look For: Trumpeter Swan, passerines, including Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, grassland sparrows, Bobolink and finches. Notes For Birding The Area: Checklist available. Call ahead for visitor center and trail access hours. Contact: 800-841-0172. 

AGASSIZ DUNES SNA 

Birds To Look For: Sharp-tailed Grouse, Greater

Prairie-Chicken, Sandhill Crane, Upland Sand-piper, Marbled Godwit, Wilson’s Phalarope, Marsh Wren, Clay-colored, LeConte’s and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows and a variety of migrant songbirds. 651-297-2357. 

 

WAUBUN WMA

Habitat: Tallgrass prairie, cattail/sedge marsh, wet meadow. Birds To Look For: Northern Harrier, Greater Prairie-Chicken, Yellow Rail, Sandhill Crane, prairie sparrows including Nelson’s Sharp-tailed. (218) 847-1578.

 

HELLIKSEN PRAIRIE 

WATERFOWL PRODUCTION AREA

Features: A 1,372 acre native tall grass prairie with numerous “prairie pothole” wetlands. Birds To Look For: Waterfowl, Peregrine Falcon, Greater Prairie-Chicken, Sandhill Crane, Upland

Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Sedge and Marsh Wren, prairie sparrows. Notes For Birding The

Area: Moose seen in this area. (218) 847-4431.

 

TAMARAC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Birds To Look For: Common Loon; Trumpeter Swan; Wood Duck; Bald Eagle; Red-shouldered and Broadwinged Hawks; Peregrine Falcon; Ruffed Grouse; American Woodcock; Winter, Sedge and Marsh Wrens; many neotropical migrants including 25 species of warblers possible in mid-May. Rarities seen include: White-

winged Scoter; Great Gray Owl; Black-backed

Woodpecker; Boreal Chickadee; Townsend’s Solitaire; Northern Mockingbird; Cerulean  Warbler and Spotted Towhee. (218) 847-2641.

 

DUNTON LOCKS COUNTY PARK

Birds To Look For:

Common Loon, Red-

necked Grebe, water-fowl, woodpeckers, vireos, warblers and finches. Contact: 218-847-1578.

 

FELTON PRAIRIE

Native and restored prairie, woodlots, gravel pits. Birds To Look For: Greater Prairie-Chicken, Upland Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Snowy Owl (winter only), Loggerhead Shrike, Willow Flycatcher, Grasshopper and LeConte’s Sparrows, Chestnut-collared (breeding) and Lapland (migrant) Longspurs, Orchard Oriole. Rarities seen include: Prairie Falcon, Say’s Phoebe, Sprague’s Pipit, Baird’s Sparrow. CONTACT: 218-739-7576.

 

 

BUFFALO RIVER STATE PARK

Features: This state park contains over 1,300 acres of prairie and prairie riverine habitats. There are hiking trails, a campground and picnic areas. Nearby, an interpretive center owned and operated by Minnesota State University Moorhead features educational programming about the area. Birds To Look For: Upland Sandpiper; Bobolink; grassland sparrows; woodpeckers; finches and migrant passerines. The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher can be found at the park on the periphery of its Minnesota range. Notes For Birding The Area: Vehicle permit required for the park. Checklist available for entire area. Walking trails at both the park and science center. Interpretive center located at the science center features a bird feeding area and bird exhibit. Contact: 218-498-2124. 

 

BLUESTEM PRAIRIE SCIENTIFIC NATURAL AREA

Habitat: Tallgrass prairie, wet prairie, sedge meadow, calcareous fen. Birds To Look For: Greater Prairie-Chicken, Sandhill Crane, Upland Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Loggerhead Shrike, Henslow’s Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark (at

the western edge of its range). Notes For Birding

The Area: Information and map available through

The Nature Conservancy. Waterproof footgear recommended. Foot traffic permitted. Prairie chicken blinds are maintained here in April and

early May and may be reserved by contacting The Nature Conservancy. Contact: 218-498-2679. 

 

MAPLEWOOD STATE PARK

Habitat: Deciduous woodlands, lakes, fields. Birds To Look For: Great Egret; Green Heron; Trumpeter Swan; Turkey Vulture; Wood Duck; Osprey; Red-shouldered Hawk; woodpeckers; vireos; warblers including Golden-winged and Indigo Bunting. Contact: 218-863-8383.

 

ROTHSAY WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA

Birds To Look For: Gray Partridge, Greater Prairie-Chicken, Sandhill Crane, Marbled Godwit, Snowy (winter only) and Short-eared Owls, Willow Flycatcher, Lapland and Smith’s Longspurs. Rarities to look for include Ferruginous Hawk, Golden Eagle, Prairie Falcon, Henslow’s Sparrow. 218-739-7576. 

 

BRECKENRIDGE WATER TREATMENT PONDS

Features: Municipal treatment ponds. Birds To Look For: Waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls, terns, migrant sparrows. Contact: (218) 643-4681. 

 

PRAIRIE WETLANDS LEARNING CENTER

Features: This center, has an observation scope, programming and an interpretive center/ 

bookstore. Birds To Look For: Chipping, Clay-Colored, Vesper, Savannah, LeConte’s, Song, White-Throated, Harris’ and White-Crowned Sparrows, Lapland and Chestnut-Collared Longspurs, Dickcissel, Bobolink, Eastern and Western Meadowlarks. Contact: 218-736-0938. 

 

FERGUS FALLS RIVERVIEW 

WATERFOWL SANCTUARY

Features: This sanctuary includes the Otter Tail River within the city of Fergus Falls with easy viewing of ducks, geese and Trumpeter Swans. Birds To Look For: Trumpeter Swans, Canada Geese; Mallards; Wood Ducks and Ring-necked ducks. Contact: 218-739-0125. 

 

 

FERGUS FALLS - LAKE ALICE

Features: This site is a small island on Lake Alice, located within the city limits. Since 2000, the island has housed nests of various species of colonial water birds, providing an up-close view of these fascinating birds. Birds To Look For: Double-crested Cormorants; Great Egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons. Contact: 218-739-0125. 

 

AGASSIZ WATERFOWL PRODUCTION AREA

Birds To Look For: American Bittern, Greater Prairie-Chicken, Sedge Wren, Common Yellowthroat, Clay-colored, Savannah and Swamp Sparrows, Bobolink and American Goldfinch. Contact: 218-739-2291.

 

 

ORWELL WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA

Features: Reservoir, wetlands, riparian areas, brushy grasslands, planted juniper. Birds To Look For: Common Loon, waterfowl, Bohemian Waxwing in winter. Rarities seen include Long-eared and Northern Saw-whet Owls, Townsend’s Solitaire. Notes For Birding The Area: Use overlooks and back roads to get closer to the reservoir. There is a No Trespass Sanctuary within the WMA, so please observe this posted area. Contact: 218-739-7576.

 

GLENDALOUGH STATE PARK

Habitat: Managed specifically for wildlife appreciation and observation by the Minnesota DNR. There are eight miles of hiking trails plus observation platforms and wildlife blinds. Binoculars and field guides are available at the park office. Birds To Look For: Waterfowl, hawks, woodpeckers, flycatchers, vireos, warblers,

sparrows and finches. Notes For Birding The Area: Vehicle permits required. Camping and picnic area available. Map available. Inquire about wildlife viewing blinds. From Cty. Hwy 78 turn east on Cty. 16, follow signs to park entrance. Contact: Glendalough State Park, 25287 Whitetail Lane, Battle Lake, MN 56515-9654, 218-864-0110. 

 

EGRET ISLAND SCIENTIFIC NATURAL AREA

(PELICAN LAKE) Habitat: A 33-acre island with a egret/heron rookery; one of the largest in Minnesota. Birds To Look For: Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron. Rarities seen here include Tricolored and Little Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets.

 

For a more detailed list see: mn.trails.com or www.mnbirdtrail.com/

 


 

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