May 14-16, 2020

You don’t want to waste any time in birders’ paradise – Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. More than 275 species of birds are found in Becker County. Why? Because the Detroit Lakes area is in the heart of a transition zone of tallgrass prairie, northern hardwood, and conifer forest ecosystems. Serious birders flock here each spring for the annual Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds.

The 23rd annual Festival of Birds is scheduled for May 14-16, 2020. Carrol Henderson will return with his presentation “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. Watch for updates on presenters. For the third year, the Thursday evening birding by pontoon on Detroit Lake returns. Look for new field trip locations and returning favorites.

A total of 165 species were recorded during the 2019 festival. The field trip to North Ottawa leads 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.

Festival attendees throughout the years have learned much about birds, wildlife and the environment through presenters such as John Fitzpatrick, John Marzluff, Joel Greenberg, Melissa Groo, Rosalind Renfrew, Sue Leaf, Drew Wheelan, Charlie Walcott, Richard Crossley, Scott Wiedensaul, David Sibley, Bill Thompson III, Laura Erickson, Don and Lillian Stokes, Kenn Kaufmann, Dr. Paul Johnsgard, Stan Tekiela, Dr. James Grier, Sharon Stiteler, Al Batt, Jeff Gordon, Joe Hautman, Jeb Barzen, Ernesto Reyes, Noah Strycker and Lyanda Haupt.

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 Trailthat are near Detroit Lakes. Download the Bird Checklist of 275 species along the trail below. For more birding opportunities in Minnesota, see the MOUwebsite.

Everywhere you go in Detroit Lakes’ bird paradise, you’re guaranteed to see birds to check off your bird list. We welcome you to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Happy birding!