Welcome to Northwestern Minnesota where a unique collection of habitats provide homes for a tremendous variety of birds. Pine forests, deciduous woodlands, native tallgrass prairie, aspen parkland, sand dunes (remnants of Glacial Lake Agassiz), calcareous fens, bogs, marshes, large and small lakes and rivers make up the transition zone that offers over 275 species of birds. Most of the sites are on public land or private reserves open to the public. There are not facilities at all sites.

Some of the unique “lifers” you can see here include the Northern Goshawk, Ruffed Grouse, Greater Prairie-Chicken, Yellow Rail, American Woodcock, Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Great Gray Owl, Three-toed and Black-backed Woodpeckers, Boreal Chickadee; Bay-breasted, Connecticut and Mourning Warblers; Red and White-winged Crossbills and Pine and Evening Grosbeaks.

This Web site will help you get started. It provides a reference for beginning to advanced birders. The trail is over 200 miles in length with 45 sites to view birds. These sites offer some of the most spectacular birding in the state, along with scenic beauty and friendly communities. Although spring, summer and fall offer an abundance of birds, winter is also an exciting time to see winter specialties.

The International Pine to Prairie Birding Trail is dynamic. Birding trail logo signs are in place at a number of birding locations; however, complete signage is not currently in place. Interpretive signs are in place at featured sites; the future will bring additional signage and informational improvements.

Currently, check with Tourism Officials at Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Pelican Rapids, Roseau, Thief River Falls and Warroad for information on bird sightings and assistance with trip planning.

The International Pine to Prairie Birding Trail is a unique partnership between the NW Minnesota communities of Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Pelican Rapids, Roseau, Thief River Falls and Warroad; Manitoba, participating agencies U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Non-game Wildlife Program, Explore Minnesota Tourism; the birding entities of the Minnesota Ornithologist’s Union, Audubon Minnesota, Lakes Area Birding Club and the Agassiz Chapter of the National Audubon Society.

Information provided by


Had the name Verendrye been that of an American, it would have been bannered across Minnesota, and a legend nationwide. But we seldom, if ever, hear of the dauntless french explorer who led the way across the American wilderness, probing the routes west and northwest nearly on hundred years before Lewis and Clark. Sieur de la Verendrye opened the way for the fur traders through Minnesota, Lake of the Woods, and beyond, into Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He searched the upper Missouri River and visited the Black Hills. He named and mapped more of Northern Minnesota’s major landmarks than any other single individual. One of Verendry’s sons was killed in a massacre by a Prairie Sioux war party. two of his sons were the first white men to reach the Rocky Mountains. One of his sons claimed the Red River valley for France. The elder Verendrye died in 1749 at the age of sixty-four. Shortly before his death, the King of France bestowed upon him the Cross of St. Louis. In 1874 a bill was introduced in the Minnesota Senate to name a northern county in honor of Vererndrye, but the county was instead named Cook, to commemorate a Minnesota casualty of the Civil War. It is fitting, if not a bit skewed, that the St. Louis River in Minnesota appears to have been named by Verendrye as a measure of gratitude for the kin’s blessing. Yet this, and the county of the same name, are the closest the state came to honoring his great sacrifices and achievement. Verendrye named Roseau Lake on his 1737 map, translating into French the Ojibway word meaning “reed,” referring to the bullrushes (or phragmites) common in shallow water here. Don’t miss: State Highway 210. This eTrail provides information on birding strategies for this location, birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, and helpful maps.

This information was found on and is © Copyright Birding Minnesota. Published by Falcon Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

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