You don't want to waste any time in birders' paradise - Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. More than 275 species of birds are found in Becker County. Why? Because the Detroit Lakes area is in the heart of a transition zone of tall grass prairie, northern hardwood and conifer forest ecosystems. Serious birders flock here each spring for the annual Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds.
The 23rd annual Festival of Birds is scheduled for May 14-16, 2020. Carrol Henderson will return with a presentation on Hummingbirds of the Americas. He has photographed more than 100 species to share their amazing life history, flight and adaptations to life in the fast lane. Ready for a humorous encore? Humorist Al Batt returns to the festival on Friday evening. Neil Hayward shares his 2013 Big Year on Saturday night. Hayward traveled nearly 250,000 miles to rack up a new ABA record of 749 species. Hear about exotic birds and remote places with an entertaining twist! Greg Hoch presents a Saturday workshop on the Wood Duck and will sign his book With Wings Extended: A Leap into the Wood Duck's World. On Saturday, learn about the SPRUCE project in a presentation by John Latimer. Researchers are simulating climate change to see the effects on trees, peatland and other habitat. There are alarming results only a few years into the project.
Birding by Pontoon returns Thursday evening as well as some new field trip sites on Friday and Saturday morning.
A total of 165 species were recorded during the 2019 festival. The field trip to North Ottawa lead the way with 108 species, followed by 104 at Hamden Slough and Tamarac National Wildlife Refuges on Friday. Windy, rainy weather slowed the count on Saturday, even so stops at Agassiz Refuge resulted in 97 species including looks at the Prothonotary Warbler! A total of 79 species were recorded at Blue Stem Prairie and Buffalo River.
Festival attendees throughout the years have learned much about birds, wildlife and the environment through presenters such as John Fitzpatrick, John Marzluff, Joel Greenberg, Melissa Groo, Rosalind Renfrew, Sue Leaf, Drew Wheelan, Charlie Walcott, Richard Crossley, Scott Wiedensaul, David Sibley, Bill Thompson III, Laura Erickson, Don and Lillian Stokes, Kenn Kaufmann, Dr. Paul Johnsgard, Stan Tekiela, Dr. James Grier, Sharon Stiteler, Al Batt, Jeff Gordon, Joe Hautman, Jeb Barzen, Ernesto Reyes, Noah Strycker and Lyanda Haupt.
If you would like to receive future Festival of Birds programs and are not on the current mailing list, please contact us at dlchamber@VisitDetroitLakes.com or call toll free 800.542.3992. For updates, "like" us on facebook. See the list of recorded species below. Enjoy our small town hospitality while in Detroit Lakes, including several lodging options.
In recent years, birders have checked these species off their list: Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Rough-legged Hawk, Chestnut-collared Longspur, LeConte's and Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrows, Rock Wren, Golden-winged and Northern Parula Warblers, Alder Flycatcher and Black-backed Woodpecker.
Any time of year, we welcome you to check out several sites along the Pine to Prairie International Birding Trail that are near Detroit Lakes. Download the Bird Checklist of 275 species along the trail below. For more birding opportunities in Minnesota, see the MOU website.
Everywhere you go in Detroit Lakes' bird paradise, you're guaranteed to see birds to check off your bird list. We welcome you to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Happy birding!