DESCRIPTION: Welcome to the 21st annual Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds! Whether you’re a beginner or experienced birder, or somewhere in between, the Festival of Birds has something for you! You’re invited to join us May 16-19, 2018. Detroit Lakes is located in a transition zone of tallgrass prairie, hardwood and conifer forests and a landscape peppered with lakes and wetlands - a migration hotspot with more than 250 species of birds! Our goal is to provide you with a quality birding experience. Each field trip by coach bus includes a naturalist and experienced birding leaders to help you get the best looks. We’ll take new looks at favorite field trip locations as well as first time visits to sites! The festival kicks off this year on Wednesday evening with the show For the Birds at the Historic Holmes Theatre. We offer suggestions for birding on your own Thursday morning, then meeting other birders Thursday evening during our social and birding by pontoon. Friday and Saturday morning we invite you to board our coach buses with leaders and naturalist to head out in the field birding. You’ll want to attend our Friday evening keynote by Carrol Henderson recounting his 45 years in the DNR and Saturday night keynote by Noah Strycker detailing his epic big year of 6042 species in 2015!

REGISTER EARLY: Register by May 1 to be included in a drawing for an 8.5 x 32 Raptor binoculars from Vortex. Registration for the festival closes at Noon (central time) on May 11, 2018. Cancellations must be made by 4:00 pm on May 11, with the registration event fee of $15.00 (one day) or $20.00 (multiple days) non-refundable. To receive updates on the festival, please include your e-mail address (we do not share your address with outside parties). See information on Detroit Lakes lodging options while in the area for birding.

REGISTRATION: This year you’ll be able to pick up your welcome packets and register Wednesday-Friday 8:00 am-5:00 pm at the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce office at 700 Summit Avenue. You may also register 5:15 am-5:30 am Friday and Saturday mornings at M State College as well as 1:00 pm-5:00 pm on Saturday at M State College.

FIELD TRIP NOTES: Field trips will be by coach bus with onboard restroom, and guided by field trip leaders and a naturalist. Since the birding experience begins as the bus departs, we are not able to accommodate boarding at other locations. Spring temperatures may vary from 70’s to 30’s, so refer to the program’s general information on layering clothing and wearing waterproof footwear and outerwear. No field trips will be cancelled unless weather is severe. No refunds will be issued for cancelled field trips, or for speakers who are unable to deliver their presentation due to an emergency. Please read the field trip descriptions to find those most suitable for your mobility. Maps will be available for the Friday evening keynote location as well as birding hotspots.

Find complete information by downloading the Festival Program on this site.


Registration Steps: » Complete Form » Submit Payment » Print Confirmation

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Festival Event Fee (non-refundable)

Full Festival - $20.00 per person
One day - $15.00 per person
Student 18 years and younger FREE


Register at for the show For the Birds at the Historic Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes. Tickets for festival attendees are discounted to $12.00 online or by mentioning you are a Festival of Birds participant when you call 218-844-7469. The 7:00 pm-9:00 pm show features Kevin Kling and Zeitgeist.

THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

Social at Hub 41 and Birding by Pontoon, 4:30 pm-7:00 pm, Free with Festival Event Fee. Please register if attending to ensure accurate food count. FREE

FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2018

One field trip selection – you are not able to attend two events with conflicting times
Field trip: Blanket Flower SNA/Shallow Wetlands, 5:30 am-1:30 pm, $55 - SOLD OUT
Field trip: Itasca State Park, 5:30 am-1:30 pm, $55

Dinner/Keynote Program at The Barn at Five Lakes Resort: Carrol Henderson, "Eagles, Swans and Falcons, Oh My!" 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm, $35.00


SATURDAY, MAY 19, 2018

One field trip selection – you are not able to attend two events with conflicting times

Field trip: Hamden Slough/Tamarac Refuges, 5:30 am-1:30 pm, $55.00 - SOLD OUT
Field trip: Felton Prairie/Wetlands, 5:30 am-1:30 pm, $55.00 - SOLD OUT

Book Signing with Henderson/Strycker, 3:30 pm, Free

Dinner & Keynote Program at M State College: "Birding without Borders" with Noah Strycker, 5:00 pm-7:00 pm, $37.00


For all meals/sack lunches

By checking this box, I agree to hold harmless the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce and any employees, volunteers, instructors, and any contractors hired in connection with the Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds for any injury, accident, damage to or loss of property, or illness that could occur as a result of participating in this event. As an attendee of the Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds, I give permission for my inclusion in photos and videos taken during the event.

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