The Whitefish Chain of Lakes Region in Minnesota's Brainerd Lakes Area at the heart of one of the world’s major flyways for migrating birds. With a four-season weather pattern and diverse blend of prairie, evergreens and deciduous forests wrapped in and around a variety of lakes, streams and even the mighty Mississippi River, birding in the Whitefish Area is unlike any other area in the world.

It’s not unusual for a keen-eyed birder to log more than 100 different species in an eight-hour day. The luckiest may spot a Northern Goshawk or an American Woodcock, found in woodland openings. Seeing either of these species, let alone both, is an experience of a lifetime. For some of the most common birds found in Minnesota, visit the MN DNR's Birding page.

BywayBirdsCover[1]Plus, convenient lodging offers a vacation destination full of abundance of wildlife and other nature-oriented experiences.

The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association developed a Birds of the Byway brochure and tour guide checklist to help travelers appreciate, explore and enjoy birding. Download a copy of the checklist. Or contact us request the full color Birds of the Byway brochure, which includes the Tour Guide Checklist. Your lodging host can also set up a birding tour with the Whitefish Chain Region's local expert, Judd Brink of BirdMinnesota.

If you're new to birding, here are a few birding tips:

  1. Note the color of the bird — many guidebooks are organized by bird color
  2. Note the size of the bird
  3. Note the size, shape and color of the bird's bill
  4. Be aware of the bird's surroundings (Is it a marsh, high in a tree or a long the forest floor?)
  5. What is the bird eating?
  6. Flight — does the bird soar, glide, hover, dive or have an undulating flight?

You may also use the bird's posture (how does the bird perch?) and it's flight as indentifiers, but birds are usually easiest to identify when they are at rest. It takes practice to make these observations, but being aware of these bird traits will speed up your birding skills. A great book to use on your birding adventure is Birds of Minnesota Field Guide by Stan Tekiela (Adventure Publications, Cambridge, MN).

Birding Links for even more information

Links for Birding with Kids

Local Birding Articles

  • BluebirdsRead more
  • Minnesota MartinsRead more
  • The Common Loon Read more
  • Attract Birds to Your Backyard Read more
  • Birds of a Feather And the Byway — New online guide to the birds along the national driving route. Read more
  • Christmas Bird Count: Counting inaugural event a success — Area birders flock to establish the first bird count on a Scenic Byway.  Read more
  • Birding Along the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway — Birding is the second largest recreational activitiy in the US. Read more
  • Attracting Orioles — Attracting Orioles to your back yard can be done with oranges and jelly. Read more
  • Owl Prowl — Owls have been a part of culture and mythology for a long time. Read more
  • Spring Migration in Minnesota — Spring in Minnesota can be very unpredictable weather-wise, but it’s always a hotbed for migrating birds. Read more

Previous Birding Reports

Weekly Birding Report

Hooded Merganser

April 22, 2017 — This week's recent bird sightings: Bird sightings for the area include: Common Loon, Woodduck, Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, Blue-winged Teal, Mallard, Goose, Trumpeter Swan, Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, Turkey Vulture, Bald Eagle, American Kestrel, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Coopers Hawk, Eastern Bluebird, Great-blue Heron, Junco, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Tree Swallow, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, American Woodcock, Great-horned Owl, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Phoebe, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, Brown-headed Cowbird, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, House Finch, Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, American Goldfinch, American Robin, Sandhill Crane, Ruffed Grouse and Pileated Woodpecker.

A few locations to look for waterfowl and other spring migrants in the Crosslake area is to explore the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway.  Thanks for following the reports watch for next week’s bird report and my guiding adventures.  Happy Birding!

Common Loon


Try out a Birding Hike
Join the Brainerd Lakes Area Audubon Society on Thursdays and Sundays mornings until early June for a free and informative birding hike at the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd. (download the flyer)


FREE Birding Kits

Click to learn more!