The Minnesota River Basin features unlimited opportunities for going bird watching starting at the two national wildlife refuges – Minnesota River Valley and Big Stone – found at either end of the river. Other hot spots include the river town of Henderson with their ode to Hummingbirds, Marsh Lake south of Appleton featuring Minnesota’s largest American Pelican rookery and any of the wildlife management areas scattered across the basin. Keep your eye out for one of the many spots to go birdwatching (Photo below by Ron Bolduan).
Minnesota River Valley Birding Trail - http://www.birdingtrail.org/ From Fort Snelling to the South Dakota border this web site features the best birding sites in the Minnesota River Basin.
DNR Wildlife Management Areas - http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/wmas/index.html Minnesota DNR manages a large system of wildlife management areas open to a variety of recreation opportunities including bird and wildlife watching.
New Ulm Chamber of Commerce - http://www.newulm.com/visitors-community/activities/#bird In the area check out Flandrau State Park on the southern edge of the city and Swan Lake off of Highway 14 near Nicollet.
Big Stone Lake State Park - http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/big_stone_lake/index.html . Found on east side of the Big Stone Lake, this state park features a landscape of tall and mid-grass prairie, interspersed with marshes, lakes and streams. There is also 80 acres of native oak savanna and glacial till prairie habitat in the Bonanza Scientific and Natural Area.
Lac qui Parle State Park - http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/lac_qui_parle/index.html Situated at the south end of the lake, this state park is known for good bird watching.
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge - http://www.fws.gov/midwest/minnesotavalley/ One of the few urban national wildlife refuges in the country, the Minnesota Valley is well known for waterfowl migrations and other birding opportunities.
Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge - http://www.fws.gov/refuges/profiles/index.cfm?id=32640 Found near the South Dakota border, this wildlife refuge is a haven for migrating waterfowl including 17 species of ducks and 23 species of shorebirds.