March 28, 2017

Seemingly overnight northern Minnesota transforms from the colorless dead of winter to colorful ecosystems brimming with life. As green blossoms appear on trees and early bloomers add bursts of color to the ground, we also welcome bursts of color to the skies overhead along with bursts of song to the forests.

If you’re into birding (and even if you’re not), the Minnesota Northwoods are truly a birder’s paradise in the spring. Dozens of species of migratory birds return to northern Minnesota each year for optimal nesting habitats where they’ll raise their young before eventually beginning their fall and winter migration south in pursuit of habitats with more food sources.

The longer, warmer first days of spring bring the first of migratory birds to the northland. If you look to the skies you’ll see waterfowl such as wood ducks and Canada geese, as well as land birds like bald eagles, broad-winged hawks, and great horned owls who will soon begin to nest and incubate their eggs. April brings the return of the common loon and shorebirds like dunlins, sandpipers, yellowlegs, and willets, as well as the first wave of early migrant songbirds like the yellow-rumped warbler, ruby-crowned kinglet, and purple martin.

If that sounds vibrant to you, just wait. As spring progresses, so does the variety of spectacular color that infuses the northern skies!

Beginning in May the colorful plumage expands its brilliance to include yellow warblers, ruby-throated hummingbirds, red-eyed vireo, northern parula, scarlet tanagers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, orange baltimore orioles, and indigo buntings to name a few. In June, trumpeter swans welcome their hatchlings to nests along marshes throughout northern Minnesota’s wetlands.

While planning your Minnesota Northwoods resort vacation, add a day trip to nearby Lake Bemidji State ParkItasca State Park, or Big Bog State Recreation Area to your itinerary. There are dozens of bird species in each park and the included checklists can spur a friendly Minnseota bird watching competition for your crew. This cool tracker provides additional info about each species’ migration, breeding grounds and more. We hope you have fun lifting your eyes to the skies this spring for prime Minnesota bird watching!

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