If you bought a federal duck stamp last year at the new price of $25, enjoy your investment this spring by visiting Detroit Lakes for its annual birding festival. Land for Tamarac Wildlife Refuge, where much festival birding is done, has been almost purchased entirely with duck stamp proceeds.

Tamarac purchases — 99.9 percent — have been funded with dollars from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. Stamp dollars are the major, but not the only, contributor. A portion also comes from excise/import fees and some other sources.

Regardless, it's your refuge, and a marvelous place to find birds. Use it.

Dates for the 2017 festival are May 18-21.

Birders see nearly 200 species each spring during migration, heavy during festival days. The refuge has tall-grass prairie, northern hardwood and conifer forests, and wetlands.

Festival participants will find field trips, workshops, and socials. Famed bird identification author David Sibley will speak on the psychology of bird identification. Ernesto Reyes will talk about birds of Cuba. Carrol Henderson from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will report on effects of the bp oil spill on Common Loons. Doug Buri, well known for his sparrow identification workshops will give participants a 10-step method to get a dream bird.

Key species that visitors will have a chance to see include Greater Prairie Chicken, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Golden-winged Warbler, Bobolink, LeConte's Sparrow, American Woodcock, Trumpeter Swan, Sedge Wren.

Register on-line at


American Woodcock -- more often heard than seen.