Explore Minnesota Birding Update - April 2019

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Explore Minnesota Birding Update - April 2019 
Yellow-rumped warbler; photo by Roger Schmidt

This is your monthly Explore Minnesota Birding Update.

Happy birding!


April Nature Notes

After a long winter, we are in need of some uplifting spring color. Fortunately, the spring migration is well underway and our early spring migrants are adding color to our drab landscape. Watch for eastern bluebirds and red-winged blackbirds, as well as the first waves of warblers including yellow-rumped, orange-crowned, palm, Tennessee and Nashville warblers. And towards the end of April, keep an eye out for ruby-crowned kinglets and scarlet tanagers.

Also adding to the beauty of the season are the sweet spring songs of American robins, red-winged blackbirds, house finches, tufted titmice, hermit thrush and eastern phoebe.

Shorebird migration heats up in mid- to late April. Check the shallow wetlands and mudflats for yellowlegs, willets, dunlins and other sandpipers. Learn about shorebird behavior, the various species and tips for identification at the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer's Spot a Shorebird.

Did You Know?

Another April attraction is the unusual mating dance of the prairie chicken in northwest Minnesota. Consider renting a blind on booming grounds to view this spectacular display. Learn about 6 prime viewing sites at the Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society website. 

Are you eager to see your first hummingbird of the season? Check out Hummingbird Central's Spring 2019 Hummingbird Migration Map & Sightings.

Spring is an ideal time to plan a bird-friendly yard. Audubon offers a detailed list of steps and helpful resources to make your yard more welcoming to our feathered friends. Learn more at How to Make Your Yard Bird-Friendly.

Upcoming Birding Events

April 6, Cannon Falls
2019 Bluebird Recovery Expo
Learn all about bluebirds through a variety of programs and speakers during this all-day, all-bluebird expo. Popular keynote speakers include Al Batt and Jim Gilbert. In addition, enjoy breakout sessions, exhibits, vendors and a silent auction. If you want to learn how to attract bluebirds, this is the place to be! Cannon Falls High School 507-645-9470

April 6, Hastings
Bird Hike
Learn to identify birds by sight and sound with local experts. Binoculars and field guides will be available or you can bring your own. Registration is recommended. Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center. 651-437-4359

April 6, Rochester
Zumbro Valley Monthly Bird Walk
Enjoy a casual walk through Quarry Hill Park at 9 a.m. Walks usually last about one hour. Families and children are encouraged. Bring binoculars if you have them, or borrow a pair from the nature center. Free and open to the public - no registration required. Quarry Hill Nature Center. 507-328-3950

April 13, Victoria
Bird Banding at Lowry Nature Center
See banders working with live songbirds, and view the birds up close. You may even get the opportunity to release one! Drop in any time between 9 a.m. and noon. Lowry Nature Center. 763-694-7650

April 13 & 27, Wabasha
Bald Eagle Viewing Field Trips
Learn about bald eagles in the Upper Mississippi River Valley and enjoy great views of bald eagles in the wild on guided tours with expert naturalists. Little walking is required - just step on and off the bus. Field trips return to the National Eagle Center for light refreshments and a chance to share photos and stories from the day. Field trips conclude by 5 p.m. National Eagle Center. 651-565-4989

April 21, Victoria
Raptors Up Close at Lowry Nature Center
Meet captive raptors and learn about these amazing birds of prey. Cameras are welcome. Drop in anytime from 2 to 4 p.m. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Lowry Nature Center. 763-694-7650

April 26-28, Marietta
Salt Lake Birding Weekend
The 42nd Annual Salt Lake Birding Weekend offers birders a chance to view over 140 species of birds. Volunteers will guide birders around Salt Lake, Big Stone Refuge, and the lakes, wetlands and native prairies of Lac qui Parle, Yellow Medicine and Big Stone counties. This event is free and open to all who are interested. No pre-registration is required. 952-595-9265

April 27, Hastings
Earth Day Birding Festival
Celebrate the many birds of Minnesota at the 6th Annual Hastings Area Earth Day Birding Festival. Attend classes and demonstrations on raptors, birding and bird banding, and take guided bird trips throughout the Hastings area. Reservations required. Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center. 651-437-4359

April 27, Rochester
Rochester Reservoir Field Trip
The flood control reservoirs around Rochester have created some of the best bird habitat in Olmsted County, and these are often where local rarities are found. Visit several of these reservoirs with knowledgeable leaders. Bring binoculars or borrow a pair. Meet at Heintz Center at 8 a.m.

April 28, Carver
Refuge Bird Watching: Rapids Lake
Enjoy a bird walk and learn about the birds that migrate to and through Minnesota. Birders of all skill levels are welcome. Bring your binoculars, favorite field guide and dress appropriately for the weather. Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. 952-240-7647

May 4, Hastings
Bird Hike
Learn to identify birds by sight and sound with local experts. Binoculars and field guides will be available to use or you can bring your own. Registration is recommended. Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center. 651-437-4359

May 4, Rochester
Zumbro Valley Big Birding Day
Spend the day birding at numerous locations in the Rochester area and count as many species as possible while enjoying the beauty of the local parks. Come to one, two or all five of the walks, and enjoy an after-party at LTS Brewery at the end of the day. Participants should be able to walk on uneven ground. Bring binoculars. This event is not suitable for young children. For more details, check out the printable map and schedule.

Recent Bird Sightings

Check the Minnesota Ornithologists' Union web site for recent bird sightings and rare bird alerts.

For additional information, consider joining the Minnesota Birding community on Facebook.



Eastern bluebird; photo by www.mikelentzphotography.com

Yellow-rumped warbler; photo by Terence P. Brashear

Orange-crowned warbler; photo by Gerald Hoekstra

Red-winged blackbird; photo by David Cahlander

Tennessee warbler; photo by Larry Sirvio

Nashville warbler; photo by www.mikelentzphotography.com

Palm warbler; photo by Terence P. Brashear   
Ruby-crowned kinglet; photo by Travis Bonovsky   
Scarlet tanager; photo by Bruce Lees    

Eastern phoebe; photo by Dani Porter Born Photography

Tufted titmouse; photo by Arthur Overcott 

Hermit thrush; photo by Gerald Hoekstra

Lesser yellowlegs; photo by David Cahlander

Dunlin; photo by Larry Sirvio   

Willet; photo by David Cahlander


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