Bird Watching

Bird Watching

Due to the unique transition zone of three ecosystems located within our County, bird watchers enjoy their hobby here observing some 250 different species of birds. Bring your binoculars and camera along and marvel at our variety of feathered friends.

For more details, see the links below...

  • Greenwater Lake SNA

    This is an 815 acre SNA (Scientific & Natural Area). Greenwater Lake is a pristine, spring fed lake with an undeveloped shoreline. The site contains surrounding hills covered with a mixed forest of aspen and birch. Visit the MN DNR Greenwater Lake SNA page for more information.

    Birds to look for:
    22 types of Warblers, Thrushes, Sparrows, Grouse, Sora, Common Yellowthroats, Swamp Sparrows, Sedge Wrens, Wilson's Snipe, raptors, numerous woodland birds.

    Contact Information:
    MN-DNR, Wildlife
    14583 Co Hwy 19
    Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
    218-846-8374

Pine to Prarie Birding Trail

The Pine to Prairie Birding Trail (click here for a trail map) is a popular and internationally known birding trail that passes through Becker County. The trail highlights our diverse collection of habitats here in Nortwestern Minnesota that offers homes for an immense variety of birds. Although the trail is over 200 miles long and contains 45 distinct birding destinations, our County is fortunate to contain 5 birding 'hotspots' popular with birders of all experience levels:

  • Helliksen Prairie Waterfowl Production Area

    This is a 1372 acre native tall grass prairie with numerous 'prairie pothole' wetlands. The area is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Birds to look for:
    Waterfowl, Peregrine Falcon, Greater Prairie-Chicken, Sandhill Crane, Upland Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Sedge and Marsh Wren, prairie sparrows.

    Contact Information:
    Detroit Lakes Wetlands Management District
    26624 N Tower Rd
    Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
    218-847-4431
    detroitlakes@fws.gov
  • Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge

    This 3,200 acre USFWS refuge was established in 1989. The refuge features the prairie wetland ecosystem and is located in the prairie-hardwood transition zone.

    Birds to look for:
    Waterfowl, including Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Common Goldeneye and Ruddy Duck. Shorebirds when marshes are in drawdown, Snowy Owl (winter only), Sedge and Marsh Wrens, grassland sparrows, Bobolink and Yellow-headed Blackbird. Rarities seen include Cattle Egret and Piping Plover.

    Contact Information:
    Hamden Slough NWR
    21212 210th St
    Audubon, MN 56511
    218-439-6319
    hamdenslough@fws.gov
  • Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge

    Close to 43,000 acres. Prairie, bogs, hardwoods and pine forests. The refuge has an interpretive center, hiking trails, auto tour routes as well as boating available on refuge lakes and ponds. Managed by the USFWS.

    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.

    Contact Information:
    Tamarac NWR
    35704 Co Hwy 26
    Rochert, MN 56578
    218-847-2641
    tamarac@fws.gov
  • Detroit Lakes Wetlands Management District - Marsh Trail & Boardwalk

    Cattail marsh; wetlands; prairie; tallgrass; Prairie Marsh Trail and boardwalk. Managed by the USFWS.

    Birds to look for:
    Waterfowl including Trumpeter Swan and Canada Geese; Northern Harrier; Common Nighthawk; woodpeckers; flycatchers; Sedge Wren; Eastern Bluebird; prairie sparrows; Rose-breasted Grosbeak; Baltimore Oriole; finches and osprey. An active osprey nest can be viewed from the Prairie Marsh Trail.

    Contact Information:
    Detroit Lakes Wetlands Management District
    26624 N Tower Rd
    Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
    218-847-4431
    detroitlakes@fws.gov
  • Dunton Locks County Park

    County park located 2-1/2 miles south of Detroit Lakes. There are hiking and bike trails in the park as well as two picnic shelters. A wonderful feature is a restored waterway between Muskrat Lake and Lake Sallie. The Detroit Lakes DNR office is located adjacent to this county park.

    Birds to look for:
    Common Loon, Red-necked Grebe, waterfowl, woodpeckers, vireos, warblers and finches.

    Contact Information:
    Becker County Parks and Recreation
    200 State St E
    Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
    218-846-2612