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Spring migrating birds on the Minneapolis Riverfront

As you read this, millions of birds are flying over our region, migrating back from the southern hemisphere. One perk of being next to the Mississippi River, a major flyway, is we get to witness this incredible mass movement of our feathered friends. Fetch your binoculars, take advantage of this event, and plan for a full day tour along the river.

Here are some recommended places, from our very own birding expert Matt Karl and the Minnesota Audubon Society. And if you can’t get enough, check out the Twin Cities Urban Birding Festival, May 10 – 21, for a two-week long celebration with multiple birding opportunities throughout the metro area.

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Coldwater Spring
Best to visit in the A.M.
One of the top birding sites in Minneapolis, Coldwater Spring is located south of Minnehaha Creek on the Mississippi River. The diverse fauna of this shrubby wetland offers a great sighting of waterfowl (ducks, geese, and swans) and warblers. It is one of the favorite local sites for birding enthusiasts.

Minnehaha Creek, Minnehaha Regional Park
Best to visit in the A.M.
Take an early morning hike down Minnehaha Creek, starting from the falls and walking toward the Mississippi River. You might find a family of mallards, see falcons dancing in the sky, or Great Egrets glide gracefully above the water, as they seek out their morning breakfast.

Winchell Trail
Visit any time of the day
Hike on the 2.5-mile-long hidden trail between Franklin Avenue and 44th Street, off of West River Parkway.  Stop by White Sand Beach, located on the path to observe sparrows and eagles as they fly over.

Heron Rookery, North Minneapolis
Visit any time of the day
If you have access to a kayak or canoe and the Mississippi River is safe to be on, float down river from the Soo Avenue North boat ramp and see the Heron Rookery. The island is south of the mouth of Shingle Creek. There, you will locate Great Blue Herons and their nest. The island is off limits to anchor or human activities.


Featured Image, courtesy of Rich Hoeg (

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