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.
Make plans to join us May 15-18, 2014 for the 17th annual Festival of Birds. The festival will be kicked off by observing the Passenger Pigeon Centennial with author Joel Greenberg. Learn how 3-5 billion birds were brought to extinction in a few decades by human exploitation and the film project underway that will document this story.
A festival favorite - Carrol Henderson, will share Wildlife Photography tips in his workshop. Henderson has had more than 1000 photos published in his own publications as well as Audubon, the New York Times, Wild Bird and BirdWatching magazines. Learn from the pro how to improve your photography skills!
What was Minnesota like for the father of MN ornithology, Thomas Sadler Roberts (1858–1946) during his life in bird work? Author Sue Leaf will explore this bird lover's contributions from the first full biography, "A Love Affair with Birds: the life of Thomas Sadler Roberts."
Where do Bobolinks migrate to after they leave our grasslands in the summer? Dr. Rosalind Renfrew will explain the distance these birds fly and help us discover the other side of their life in her presentation "The double life of the Bobolink: a new conservation paradigm." We'll learn new ways biologists are seeking to tackle conservation challenges.
Besides field trip favorites to see the birds of the three ecosystems, look for new locations. Offered for the first time, be sure to get your spot in the blind on the Greater Prairie Chicken field trip at five locations throughout the prairies!
When registration opens, beat the early bird deadline and you might win a free pair of binocs from Eagle Optics! Look for the online program the week of March 10 and online registration to follow. Here's a peek at the upcoming schedule:
Thursday, May 15 - Registration opens at Noon
- Workshops at Maplelag Resort, 1-3 pm: Birding Basics, and Wildlife Photography Tips with Carrol Henderson
- 3:45 pm: Social at Richwood Winery with Joel Greenberg book signing
- 5:30 pm: Pan fried fish dinner at Maplelag Resort followed by Joel Greenberg presentation on Echoes of the Wings of the Passenger Pigeon
Friday, May 16
-Fieldtrip to Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge for their 25th anniversary
- Greater Prairie Chicken fieldtrips
- 3:30 pm: Social at Seven Sisters Spirits and book signing with Sue Leaf
- 5:15 pm: Dinner at Meadows on Lind and Sue Leaf presentation on Thomas Adler Roberts, the father of MN ornithology
- 7:00 pm: S'Mores Campfire Fun at Meadows on Lind
Saturday, May 17
- Fieldtrips to Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, Rainbow Resort and Mahnomen Forest, and Bio Blitz to Ogema Springs
- Lunch, Birders Bazaar and Silent Auction
- Optics by Nikon
- 6:00 pm: Keynote by Rosalind Renfrew on the Double life of the Bobolink: A new conservation paradigm
Sunday, May 18
- Fieldtrips to Ulen/Felton (home t othe Chestnut-collared Longspur) and Agassiz Audubon Valley Water Impoundment
During the 16th annual Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds, 177 species were recorded on fieldtrips. The Friday, May 17 fieldtrip to the Mahnomen area netted 118 species, including a festival first - the Lapland Longspur! The premier two-day Great North American Birding Tour along the Pine to Prairie International Birding Trail to Manitoba totalled 108 species. Of particular interest were Red-breasted Mergansers, great numbers of Canvasbacks, Willet, Ruddy Duck, Horned Grebe and Chestnut-collared Longspur. See the 2013 Festival of Birds checklist below.
If you would like to receive the 2014 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.
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. We welcome you to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Happy birding and see you at the 17th annual Festival of Birds May 15-18, 2014!