North Dakota's Most wanted avian species can be found in the Minot Area. You can look for a Ferruginous Hawk, Gray Partridge, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Yellow Rail, Piping Plover, Sprague's Pipit, Baird's Sparrow, Le Conte's Sparrow, Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, and the Chestnut-collared Long spur. Good bird watching areas include the River walk path along the Mouse River in Minot, as well as these five nearby Wildlife Refuges:
Audubon National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is located in west-central North Dakota and is part of a landscape marked by numerous wetlands or "potholes" that remained after glaciers melted more than 10,000 years ago. This landscape is commonly called the "Prairie Pothole Region." The Prairie Pothole Region extends into Canada, Minnesota, western Iowa, South Dakota, and eastern Montana. The Refuge encompasses 14,735 acres of native prairie, planted grasslands, and wetlands. These lands are managed to provide food, water, shelter, and space to meet the needs of waterfowl and other migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, and resident wildlife. The Refuge is home to 243 bird, 34 mammal, 5 reptile, 4 amphibian, and 37 fish species.
Des Lacs NWR encompasses more than 19,500 acres along the Des Lacs River from the Canadian border to a point eight miles south of Kenmare, North Dakota. A mix of natural lakes and managed wetlands in the valley provide a haven for migrating and nesting waterfowl and marsh birds.
Spring visitors can enjoy the courtship dance of western grebes. Four other species of grebes also nest on the Refuge. During summer, American white pelicans are easy to spot as they feed on small fish. Broods of ducklings of various ages paddle through the marshes. Giant Canada geese commonly nest on the Refuge, producing between 150 and 200 young annually.
Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge was officially named one of America's top 500 Globally Important Bird Areas (IBA) by the national non-profit organization, American Bird Conservancy (ABC), in recognition of its significance in the ongoing effort to conserve wild birds and their habitats.
J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is located along the Souris River in north-central North Dakota. This 58,700-acre Refuge extends south from the Canadian border for approximately 45 miles and is the largest refuge in North Dakota. The diverse habitat types found on the refuge - mixed grass prairie, river valley, marshes, sandhills, and woodlands - support an abundant variety of wildlife. The Refuge serves as an important feeding and resting area for hundreds of thousands of waterfowl which annually migrate through the Central Flyway. The refuge has developed into one of the most important duck production areas in the United States and is a favorite spot for birds of all descriptions to stop during their migrations north and south. More than 300 species of birds have been observed here since the refuge was established. Nearly 125 species nest here. Gadwall, blue-winged teal, mallard, and Canada goose are the most numerous nesting waterfowl. Many species of shorebirds and grebes, the white pelican, sandhill crane, lark bunting, longspurs, and the sparrows- including Baird's and LeConte's, are among the list that take summer residence on the refuge. The Refuge is designated as a Globally Important Bird Area and is a regional site in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. Managing upland areas for waterfowl nesting habitat has also benefited upland game birds. The sharp-tailed grouse, ring-necked pheasant, gray partridge, ruffed grouse, and wild turkey are all occupants of the refuge.
Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge lies in the highly productive prairie pothole region that produces more ducks than any other region in the lower 48 states. Their refuge is a land of rolling hills mantled in short-grass and mixed grass prairie interspersed with numerous wetlands. Established to preserve a unique wildlife habitat, Lostwood is an important link to our nation's system of National Wildlife Refuges. Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge was officially named one of America's top 500 Globally Important Bird Areas (IBA) by the national non-profit organization, American Bird Conservancy (ABC), in recognition of its significance in the ongoing effort to conserve wild birds and their habitats.
Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge lies in the beautiful Souris River Valley of north-western North Dakota and extends for nearly 30 miles along the River. This 32,000-acre Refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is an important unit in a series of national wildlife refuges in the great waterfowl migration corridor know as the Central Flyway.
Waterfowl numbering up to 350,000 can be seen during spring and fall migrations. Tundra swans along with pintails, canvasbacks, redheads, buffleheads, and other waterfowl either nest on the Refuge or use the Refuge during migration. Up to five species of grebes have been seen on the Refuge during the summer.
Several colonies of nesting cormorants and great blue herons use tree groves near the lake. While pelicans also use the Refuge as a loafing area but do not nest here.
Serious birders will also be able to find Baird's, LeConte's, and sharp-tailed sparrows, as well as Sprague's pipit.
Click here for a map of the Top 5 Birding Locations around Minot.
North Dakota Birding Society - Here to promote the study of birds in North Dakota. To help stimulate public interest in birds. Foster the preservation of birdlife and its natural habitat.