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Annual Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds

May 20 - May 22


Celebrate migration in Minnesota’s unique transition zone of tallgrass prairie, hardwood and conifer forests, and wetlands. This annual event includes presentations, socials, and morning field trips; Friday and Saturday night keynotes;  Wednesday evening show at Holmes Theatre; and Thursday social.

Carrol Henderson will present “Hummingbirds of the Americas.” He has photographed more than 100 species to share their amazing life history, flight, and adaptations to life in the fast lane. Humorist Al Batt returns to the festival on Friday evening. Neil Hayward shares his 2013 Big Year on Saturday night. Hayward traveled nearly 250,000 miles to rack up a new ABA record of 749 species. Hear about exotic birds and remote places with an entertaining twist! Greg Hoch presents a Saturday workshop on the Wood Duck and will sign his book With Wings Extended: A Leap into the Wood Duck’s World. On Saturday, learn about the SPRUCE project in a presentation by John Latimer. Researchers are simulating climate change to see the effects on trees, peatland, and other habitat. There are alarming results only a few years into the project. Birding by Pontoon returns Thursday evening as well as some new field trip sites on Friday and Saturday morning.

A total of 165 species were recorded during the 2019 festival. The field trip to North Ottawa led the way with 108 species, followed by 104 at Hamden Slough and Tamarac National Wildlife Refuges on Friday. Windy, rainy weather slowed the count on Saturday, even so, stops at Agassiz Refuge resulted in 97 species including looks at the Prothonotary Warbler! A total of 79 species were recorded at Blue Stem Prairie and Buffalo River.

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.

Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce


Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
700 Summit Avenue
Detroit Lakes, MN United States
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Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce
Cornell Lab of Ornithology

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