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Singing Wings is a collection of material related birds and birding in Southwest Minnesota. Content includes topics such as ideas on taking field notes, local birding location guides, and a detailed assessment of useful plants for inviting birds to your [hardiness zone 4] backyard. I use this site to share information/provide support to participants in classes and presentations I've done. The material is free for use to enhance your bird watching experiences. Enjoy!
On the Lincoln-Lyon County Border, Gislason Lake and the surrounding upland acres has was designates a National Wildlife Refuge in 2010. This land is a most welcome addition to Southwest Minnesota. Combined with Sioux Prairie WMA to the Southeast, birders could spend an entire day searching this complex for nesting species indicative of the prairie pothole region. There is good woodlands to the north (not part of the NWR) and suitable woodlands on the NWR property. A close wetland rounds out this area a destination location for birders. Not far from this location in 2008, Whooping Cranes spotted over for a brief time in the fall.
As management objectives continue to be implemented, this complex will no doubt experience changing migratory species, but the nesting activity should become stable in short time.
"Good birding in 30 minutes or less." should be the slogan for this park. Wayside park offers good birding for those who are visiting Marshall, but who do not have enough time for a trip away from city limits. There is suitable woodland here to trap migrants, and play host to nesting Eastern Screech Owl, and about 20 acres of tallgrass prairie for grassland birds - especially during migration. Fall migration is the best time here as the grasses are tall, and the fruit trees are providing for fall migrants. Red-shafted Flicker has been seen here, and I'm convinced the next Northern Mockingbird will be found here. The trails are good and flat, and offer prairie, river, and woodland access.
Before Spring has sprung its time to prepare for the arrival of waves of bird species that may visit your backyard, or rural environment. The link below opens a chart that lists migration dates for the most common species that may visit our yards and acreages, and what they may be looking for. Keep in mind this is only a partial list, and is intended to be representative of similar species that may be in your local area. It may prove helpful when deciding what food, or plants to purchase and offer to the variety of species coming your way.
Your local Department of Natural Resources (DNR) division of waters may be able to let you know which lake/marsh habitats are scheduled for drawdown. Drawdown wetlands often provide excellent shorebird watching opportunities.