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Spring is coming, so are the birds

This is the Northwest Minnesota Birding Report for Thursday, April 30, 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.

We thought spring had arrived in the northwest, but last week we had a reminder that snow is still possible. All that is gone now, and we have reverted to rain, but temperatures are still cool, and roads are getting soft and muddy. The first wave of migration appears to have peaked, and now we await the colorful visitors of May.

Susan Olin at Zippel Bay State Park on Lake of the Woods reported common loons in Zippel Bay, and American white pelicans on Wabanica Bay on April 27. Gretchen Mehmel at Norris Camp in the Beltrami Island State Forest saw a spruce grouse a half mile east of Norris Camp. Pileated woodpeckers are being seen, and the first yellow-rumped warblers have arrived there.

Beth Siverhus in Roseau County observed a yellow-rumped warbler in Roseau on April 23, a savannah sparrow on April 27, and surprisingly two pine grosbeaks on April 28.

In Itasca County near Dixon Lake she saw some greater yellowlegs on the weekend.

Cliff Steinhauer saw a short-eared owl along Marshall CR 12 on April 28, and a tree swallow was seen on April 29. Gary Tischer sent a report from Agassiz NWR. A black-crowned night-heron, eared grebe, and peregrine falcon were seen on April 24; American bittern, Cooper's hawk, and yellow-rumped warbler on April 25, and white-throated sparrow on the 27th. On April 28, sightings included ruddy duck, sharp-tailed grouse along CR 7, ruffed grouse drumming, and western grebe. While I was there on April 26, I found a common loon, and two horned grebes on Headquarters Pool. A few shorebirds were also seen, including killdeer and both yellowlegs.

Shelley Steva reported the first purple martin in Thief River Falls, Pennington County on April 24. On April 29, she saw a flock of about 250 Lapland longspurs along CR 3 two miles east of US 59.

Beau Shroyer was birding in Becker County on April 26 where his group found about 300 Lapland longspurs near Audubon. Other species seen included greater prairie-chicken, lesser yellowlegs, marbled godwit, white-throated sparrow, and red-bellied woodpecker. Dave and Betty Hochhalter sent in a list, which included common loon, American white pelican, sharp-shinned hawk, and northern cardinal, all near Detroit Lakes.

In Otter Tail County, Brad and Dee Ehlers saw white-throated sparrows in Fergus Falls on April 25. Alma Ronningen saw American white pelican, Forster's tern and yellow-rumped warbler on April 29. She reports that the osprey pair has returned to nest on a pole in their yard.

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.