Nearly 75% of the 423 species spotted in Minnesota can be found in the prairies, farm fields, woodlots, and wetlands in vicinity of Crookston.
Spring begins in mid-March with one of the most dramatic nuptial displays in the bird world: male Greater Prairie Chickens dancing in leks. You’ll find their cousins, the Sharp-tailed Grouse here too. Tundra Swans, Snow Geese, and Sandhill Cranes arrive about the same time. Snow Bunting, Lapland Longspur and Horned Lark numbers are increasing. Shorebird migration is in full swing by May.
Summer is nesting time on the prairies. Look for Wilson’s Phalaropes, Upland Sandpipers, Eastern and Western Meadowlarks, Yellow Rails, LeConte’s Sparrows, Boblinks, Short-eared Owls and Marbled Godwits.
Fall marks shorebird migration in August. Tour the prairies east of town to experience the Sandhill Crane staging area near Pembina Trail Preserve Scientific and Natural Areas. Be on the watch for an errant Whooping Crane. Around mid-October, drive the loop around the city aeration ponds west of the American Crystal Sugar beet processing plant. Look for Bald Eagles and wter-fowl including: Trumpeter Swans, wading birds and White Pelicans.
Winter is time to see our boreal visitors: owls (Snowy and the occasional Great Gray, Boreal and Northern Hawk-owl), finches (Pine and Evening Grosbeaks, redpolls, crossbills), Gray Partridge, Snow Buntings, Lapland Longspur, Horned Larks, Rough-legged Hawks and perhaps a Golden Eagle.