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Bird report: Lack of insects causing problems for migrating birds

This is the Northwest Minnesota Birding Report for Thursday, May 23, 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.

Spring is reluctantly arriving in the northwest this year, causing migration to be late and stressful for the migrants, as it has been too cold most days for insects to be available for food.

Rain, also, has been hard to come by, so dry conditions prevail, leaving little habitat for migrating shorebirds. However, pressure to reproduce is driving birds to come north anyway, albeit more slowly than usual.

One unusual sighting was reported this week. Kelly Larson found a snowy owl on May 17 at Bluestem Prairie SNA between two and three miles east of CR 23 on 17th Ave. S.

In Otter Tail County, Brad and Dee Ehlers reported a northern cardinal, an indigo bunting, a rose-breasted grosbeak, and an American goldfinch at the feeder together on May 17. On May 18, Nancy Jackson found 40 black terns at the Henning WTP.

Sarah Knutie who reported species seen at Itasca State Park on May 17 included northern parula, chestnut-sided warbler, Cape May warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, rose-breasted grosbeak, and pine siskin. On May 20 she reported blackburnian warbler and indigo bunting. In Hubbard County on May 20, she saw black-and-white warbler, Connecticut warbler, and Harris's sparrow. A bobolink was seen near Guthrie.

Linda Schumann, at the northern edge of Tamarac NWR in Becker County on May 19, reported indigo bunting, purple finch, and evening grosbeak.

Connie Norheim found red-headed woodpeckers near Oak Mound School on 10th St NW in Moorhead, Clay County, where they have been found in the past. Nancy Jackson reported marbled godwit, upland sandpiper, loggerhead shrike, grasshopper sparrow, chestnut-collared longspur, and orchard oriole at Felton Prairie on May 18.

Russ Wilber was birding in Polk County on May 18 where he reported red-headed woodpecker, and yellow warbler in East Grand Forks. Nathaniel Emery reported finding 4 short-eared owl nests in a small area near CR 46 south of CR 45 and north of MN 102 this week.

Here in Pennington County, a clay-colored sparrow turned up at the bird feeder on May 15. A red-headed woodpecker came on May 17, and bobolinks were seen that day also.

At Agassiz NWR in Marshall County on May 18, several lesser yellowlegs, spotted sandpipers, marbled godwits, dunlin, and short-billed dowitchers were seen. Also found was one white-rumped sandpiper, and one Baird's sandpiper. Few warblers were seen , but the group from the Detroit Lake Festival of Birds had great looks at ruby-crowned kinglets and Cape May warblers at headquarters. On May 22, Peder Svingen found that warblers had arrived tallying 21 species in a couple of hours. Also seen was one ferruginous hawk along the county road that runs along the west boundary north of CR 7.

In Clearwater County, Sarah Knutie observed a Baltimore oriole and pine siskin on May 17.

Beltrami County sightings by Pat DeWenter on May 18 included winter wren, Swainson's thrush, Tennessee warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, bay-breasted warbler, black-and-white warbler, ovenbird, northern waterthrush, and indigo bunting. Also on the 18th, Pat Rice reported two Caspian terns, four species of thrush- veery, gray-cheeked thrush, Swainson's thrush, and American robin, and twelve warbler species. She also saw three blue-headed vireos, and a Philadelphia vireo. These sightings were at Three Island County Park and Beltrami County Park. there was a red-bellied woodpecker at the Rice home. On May 16, on Wildwood Road, she saw brown thrasher, and eastern towhee and five species of shorebirds. Pat DeWenter on May 20 reported least flycatcher, and 11 species of warbler among others.

Larry Wilebski in Kittson County reported willet, upland sandpiper, short-eared owl, and gray-cheeked thrush on May 17.

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 at 1-800-542-3992. Detroit Lakes area birders please call 847-9202. Please include the county where the sighting took place.