Weather Forecast


Some songbirds didn't make it through cold

This is the Northwest Minnesota Birding Report for Thursday, May 8, sponsored by the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce. You may also hear this report by calling (218) 847-5743 or 1-800-433-1888.

Most reluctantly, the weather is warming up, and this is the first week when there has been no snow reported in the northwest. Migration continues, and I have several reports of songbirds that did not make it through the cold spell last week.

Meantime, some warblers and other insect eaters are starting to show up so we hope that the weather does not have another relapse. Two unusual sightings were reported this week: Lawrence Lewandowski sent in a photo of a hen mallard perched on the roof of a wood duck box in Becker County, and Bob O'Connor reported what appeared to be a junco/white-throated sparrow hybrid in his yard on May 5.

Jerry Bonkoski found an American three-toed woodpecker in Itasca County on May 4 at the Lost Forty SNA in the northern part of the county. The bird was seen along the hiking trail.

Jeff and Amy Drake in Otter Tail County reported their observations of greater scaup, horned grebe, eared grebe, and Baltimore oriole on May 3. Sarah Knutie at Big Pine Lake saw ruby-crowned kinglet, orange-crowned warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, black-and-white warbler, chipping sparrow, and northern cardinal on May 6. Brad and Dee Ehlers saw Harris's sparrow and rose-breasted grosbeak in Fergus Falls on May 6. Dan and Sandy Thimgan reported sora on May 5, bank swallow on May 6, chimney swift, cliff swallow, gray catbird, and yellow warbler on May 7, and ruby-throated hummingbird on May 8. Kelly Blackledge at Tamarack NWR in Becker County reported yellow warbler, pine warbler, chipping sparrow, clay-colored sparrow, white-throated sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, and rose-breasted grosbeak on May 2. Susan and John Kroll saw a pair of broad-winged hawks at the refuge on May 3. Char Legenhausen saw an American bittern on May 8, while Judy Welu reported two pairs of Northern cardinals and a belted kingfisher at Lake Sallie.

In Clay County, Patrick Beauzay found 8 Smith's longspurs along the longspur road just north of the wind generators at Felton Prairie. Mel and Elaine Bennefeld observed barn swallow, Harris's sparrow, and rose-breasted grosbeak at the Ponderosa Golf Club on May 6.

Bruce Flaig in Polk County saw a large flock of double-crested cormorants on the lake near his home in the southern part of the county on May 5.

Shelley Steva observed about 200 swans moving through Red Lake County on May 2, and also the first brown-headed cowbird. On May 4 I saw a variety of ducks, horned grebe, and eared grebe at the Red Lake Falls WTP. Also in Red Lake County, there were barn swallows, palm warbler, black-and-white warbler, vesper sparrow, and savannah sparrow.

Michael Furtman, while birding at Agassiz NWR in Marshall County, spotted 30 Wilson's phalaropes at Tamarack Pool, and 5 marbled godwits at South Pool. Agassiz staff reported some new arrivals such as ruddy duck, American bittern, osprey, peregrine falcons, Virginia rail, Forster's tern, palm warbler, black-and-white warbler, and swamp sparrow among others. They reported the presence of thousands of ducks at Farmes Pool.

Kelly Larson in Clearwater County, reported ruffed grouse, sandhill cranes, Wilson's snipe, American woodcock, tree swallow, barn swallow, white-throated sparrow, rose-breasted grosbeak, and purple finch, all present on May 2.

In Beltrami County on May 6, Kelly Larson reported that chimney swifts were back in Bemidji. Dave Carman observed Harris's sparrow, and white-crowned sparrow on May 7. Mary Lou Marchand had eight species of sparrows on May 6, and reported brown thrasher and Baltimore oriole on May 7.

Larry Wilebski in Kittson County reported least sandpiper, Wilson's phalarope, cliff swallow, and palm warblers on May 7 near Lancaster.

Beth Siverhus in Roseau County mentioned several common ducks, as well as horned grebe, purple martin, tree swallow, brown thrasher, fox sparrow, white-throated sparrow, red-winged blackbird, yellow-headed blackbird, and evening grosbeak on May 6.

Please report bird sightings to Jeanie Joppru by email, no later than Thursday each week, at or call the Detroit Lakes Chamber's toll free number 1-800-542-3992. Detroit Lakes area birders please call 847-9202.

Please include the county where the sighting took place.