Festival of Birds

Golden-winged-warbler Festival-of-birds-for-blog Trumpeter-swan-in-flight

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 250 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.

The 16th annual Festival of Birds will be held in Detroit Lakes May 16-19, 2013.

The festival kicks off Thursday, May 16 with a festival favorite – Carrol Henderson. Through recent studies, Carrol will enlighten us about what effect the Gulf oil spill has had on migrating birds such as the Common Loon.

Friday night you’ll get a behinds-the-scenes tour of nature photography by Paul Sundberg. Paul will share intriguing stories of capturing images of wildlife, plants and other natural scenes. Paul lives along the North Shore in Minnesota and served as the Park Manager of Gooseberry Falls State Park for 28 years. His passion for wild places will be evident in this stunning visual program.

Our Saturday evening keynote will emphasize the vital roles that birds continue to play in fostering conservation of worldwide biological diversity in his presentation, “Discovering How Birds can save the World.” John W. Fitzpatrick is the Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, NY and had a bird species discovered in 2012 in Peru named in his honor.

You’ll be able to hone your Raptor I.D. skills as well as learn the latest on grassland species through our festival workshops. Morning field trips will return to some favorite refuges and make first time stops at new locations.

If you were fascinated about visiting Oak Hammock Marsh through Paula Grieef’s presentation in 2012, make plans now to get on the bus! On Sunday, May 19, we’ll travel north to a unique site near Warren, MN – the Agassiz Audubon Center and Water Resources Management Project. We’ll overnight in Winnipeg, MB. Monday morning we’ll spend time at one of North America’s birding hotspots – Oak Hammock Marsh! Our afternoon visit at Narcisse will lead us back to Detroit Lakes with an appreciation of Manitoba stops along the Pine to Prairie International Birding Trail.

If you would like to receive the 2013 Festival of Birds program and are not on the current mailing list, please contact us at dlchamber@VisitDetroitLakes.com or call toll free 800.542.3992. Look for the program in December 2012.

Enjoy our small town hospitality while in DetroitLakes, including several lodging options.

Field trip leaders and naturalists for the 2012 festival included John Marzluff, Carrol Henderson, Denny and Barb Martin, Mike Murphy, John Voz, Wayne Brininger, Lowell Deede, Judd Brink, Greg Hoch, Matt Mecklenberg, Rhett Johnson, Ryan Frohling, Becky Esser, Steve Midthune, Earl Johnson, Donna Dustin, Sally Hausken and more.

Fieldtrip highlights in 2012 included seeing six or more Red headed Woodpeckers at Balmoral Golf Course, Red necked Phalarope among the 99 species recorded at Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge and 112 species at Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge that included a White-faced Ibis.
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. Best of all, you’ll hear the winsome call of the loon, Minnesota’s state bird. Several Minnesota State Birds were fitted with transmitters during summer 2011 to track their migration locations and other habits. You may follow their daily location, including the three males fitted with the transmitters at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge (TA, LM and BL) as they migrate to and from their winter locations.

For more information on the 16th Annual Festival of Birds program, book signing, silent auction, dinners, luncheons, tours, etc. go to: VisitDetroitLakes.com

Be sure to stop by the Friends of Tamarac booth to find your favorite birding book or gift at the Birders’ Bazaar on Saturday May 18, 11 am- 5 pm.  Enjoy appetizers and a special book signing event with authors Carrol Henderson and Sharon ‘the bird chick’ Stiteler from 3:00 – 4:00 pm.

We welcome you to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Happy birding!


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