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Minnesota Birding in Detroit Lakes

Set the alarm. Grab the binoculars. Put on good walking shoes.

You don't want to waste any time in birders' paradise - Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. More than 275 species of birds live in Becker County. Why? Because the Detroit Lakes area is in the heart of a transition zone of tall grass prairie, northern hardwood and coniferous ecosystems. Serious birders flock here each spring for the annual Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds. Check out the ebird sightings recorded in the Detroit Lakes area and along the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail.

Mid-May birding is especially spectacular! 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.

For a unique experience, reserve a blind on the prairie lek! See the dramatic mating ritual, known as booming, of the Greater Prairie Chickens. Males confront each other to attract hens, making low booming noises. The blind is located on Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge, about 10 miles northwest of Detroit Lakes. It sits four and there is no fee. The best viewing time is April, although the ritual begins in March and chickens are on the lek through mid-May. Call 218-847-4431. Another location 30 miles west of Detroit Lakes is Blue Stem Prairie. Call 218-739-7576 to reserve their Prairie Chicken blinds.

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. See the Bird Checklist of 275 species along the trail on their website. 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. Best of all, you'll hear the winsome call of the loon, Minnesota's state bird. We welcome you to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Happy birding!