Birds of Minnesota Highlighted in Field Guide

In today’s post, Stan Tekiela, author of the Birds of Minnesota field guide, tells us where to find birds in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Millions of people in Minnesota have discovered the joy of bird-feeding. Setting out feeders is a simple and fun way to bring birds and their beauty closer to you. Watching birds at your feeders and listening to them often leads to a lifetime pursuit of bird identification.

More than 1,100 species of birds are found in North America. In Minnesota, upwards of 425 species of birds have been documented throughout the years. These bird sightings have been diligently recorded by hundreds of bird-watchers and are part of official state records.

At nearly 87,000 square miles (225,000 sq. km), Minnesota is the 12th-largest state in the country. Despite its large size, it has a population of only about 5.5 million. This is only about half the population in the Chicagoland area of Illinois! Because many Minnesotans live in or near major cities, there is plenty of room around the state for a wide variety of birds to roam.

Several distinct habitats in Minnesota support different groups of birds. Vast evergreen (coniferous) forests with thousands of lakes, streams, rivers, and bogs grace the northeastern third of the state. These woods are havens for Evening Grosbeaks, Common Ravens, and many warbler species. Common Loons and Hooded Mergansers dive for fish in the clean, clear lakes, and Ring-billed Gulls flock to the cold waters and rocky shores of the greatest of all lakes, Lake Superior.

A band of deciduous forest stretches from the northwest part of the state to the hills of southeastern Minnesota. Here, Scarlet Tanagers, Eastern Phoebes, Downy Woodpeckers, and other woodland birds make their homes. In these forests, Barred and Great Horned Owls hunt for food and raise families.

Open prairie habitat in southwestern Minnesota attracts many other species of birds. As Eastern Meadowlarks sing melodies and Tree Swallows perch on fences, Eastern Kingbirds hunt for insects. High above, Red-tailed Hawks soar in the sunlit sky.

The mighty Mississippi River and several other major rivers run through Minnesota. Our river valleys, lined with tall shade trees and flowing with cool water, are outstanding places for other birds. Black-crowned Night-Herons and Great Egrets are among the many waterbirds that nest here.

Make bird-watching even more enjoyable with Stan Tekiela’s famous field guide Birds of Minnesota. His book features 123 species of Minnesota birds, organized by color for ease of use.

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Liliane Opsomer
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