Spring weather is coming, and so are the birds — plus events designed to help you see them.

Many birding events and festivals are planned in Minnesota this spring, particularly in the metro area. There are guided birding trips on foot and by bus, plus exhibits, speakers, classes, bird banding, and much more. Here’s a list to get you started.


March, each weekend: National Eagle Center, Wabasha, Soar With the Eagles programs. $7-$10 admission. (nationaleaglecenter.org), 651-565-4989.

March 28: Bird migration presentation, Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter. Jim Egge, past president of the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis, will discuss migration research. 7-8:30 p.m., Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge (MVNWR) Bloomington Education and Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd. E., Bloomington. (fws.gov/refuge/minnesota_valley), 952-854-5900.


April 6: Minnesota Bird Hike. 8-10 a.m. $6. Carpenter Nature Center, Hastings. (carpenternaturecenter.org) Register at 651-437-4359.

April 7: Bird language workshop. 9:15 a.m. to 1 p.m., MVNWR. Bloomington Education and Visitor Center, Classroom A, 3815 American Blvd. E., Bloomington. Bring notebook, pencils and something to sit on outdoors. Registration encouraged via www.mntracking.org, or via Facebook. Enter Administrative Doors on west end of the building. (fws.gov/refuge/minnesota_valley), 952-854-5900.

April 13: Wisconsin Prairie Chicken Festival, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. Visit observation blinds on prairie chicken courtship grounds, 4:30 to 9 a.m. (pre-register). Grassland birding tour and many other activities follow throughout the morning and afternoon. cleangreenaction@gmail.com, (www.cleangreenaction.org).

April 15-May 20: Backyard Birding class, Anoka/Hennepin Community Education, 2727 N. Ferry St., Anoka. 5:30-7:30 p.m. $59 for six Mondays. Field trips Saturdays April 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13, and 20. Registration required (ahschools.us, search on adult education), 763-506-5766.

April 25: Nick Minor will talk about finding the Stresemann’s bristlefront, the world’s rarest bird, in a Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter program. 7-8:30 p.m., MVNWR. Bloomington Education and Visitor Center, Classroom A, 3815 American Blvd. E., Bloomington. (fws.gov/refuge/minnesota_valley), 952-854-5900.

April 26-28: Hawk Ridge Spring Migration Celebration. Programs on the Duluth ridge, Nature at Night field trip, raptor migration workshop, presentation by Carrol Henderson on bird restoration efforts. Registration required. (hawkridge.org), 1-218-428-6209.

April 27: Earth Day Birding Festival, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. $5. Carpenter Nature Center, Hastings. Raptor and introduction to birding classes, bird-banding demonstrations, guided birding trips. Reservations required. (carpenternaturecenter.org) 651-437-4359.

April 28: Bird Walk, Rapids Lake, MVNWR, 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center, 15865 Rapids Lake Road, Carver. Bring binoculars, field guide if you have one. Meet at the visitor center parking lot. Walks, not weather-sensitive, led by refuge volunteer naturalist Craig Mandel. (fws.gov/refuge/minnesota_valley), 952-854-5900.


May 2-23: Bird Hikes, Brainerd Lakes Area Audubon Society. 7 a.m. May 2, 9, 16, 23; 8 a.m. May 4, 11, 25. Northland Arboretum, 14250 Conservation Dr., Brainerd. LeAnn Plinske, leann.plinske@gmail.com.

May 10-12: Spring Warbler Weekend, Lake City, Minn. St. Paul Audubon Society hosts. Hok-Si-La Park in Lake City. Beginner bird walks, speakers, birding games, evening owl walks. Register by April 25. (saintpaulaudubon.org)

May 11: World Migratory Bird Day, MVNWR. Schedule TBA. (fws.gov/refuge/minnesota_valley).

May 11 and 18: Bird tours at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. Mahnomen Trail, 8-10 a.m. May 11, Blue Hill Trail, 8-10 a.m. May 18. Binoculars available. Spring Celebration, Oak Savanna Learning Center, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., May 18, nature crafts, guided hikes, plant sale. Check in at refuge headquarters, 17076 293rd NW., aka County Road 9, Zimmerman, Minn. (fws.gov/refuge/sherburne). 763-389-3323.

May 16-19: Urban Bird Festival, MVNWR. Schedule of events TBA. fws.gov/refuge/minnesota_valley, 952-854-5900.

May 16-18: Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds. Registration required by May 10. Bus tours, pontoon birding, field trips to North Ottawa Impoundment and Tamarac/Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuges (NWR, Blue Stem Prairie/Buffalo River State Park and, Agassiz NWR. Speakers Al Batt, humorist; Carrol Henderson on peregrine falcon restoration; Lyanda Haupt, author of book “Mozart’s Starling.” $12 for day pass, $20 for multiple days. (visitdetroitlakes.com/events/festival-of-birds), 1-218-847-9202.

May 18: Spring Birding Festival, Crex Meadows, Grantsburg, Wis. Migrating bird tour, 7 a.m., other tours throughout the day, songbird banding, activities for children, wild edibles class, lunch focusing on wild game and other wild edibles, and more. (crexmeadows.org), 1-715-463-2896.

May 18: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Several birding walks and workshops, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., $99 Arboretum members, $119 nonmembers, coffee, snack, lunch, and Arboretum admission. Registration required for variety of classes (see website). Speakers include Stan Tekiela, photographer and author; Jim Gilbert, naturalist and author; Raptor Center program, and more. (arboretum.umn.edu/BirdingDay.aspx). 952-443-1400.

May 31-June 2: Northern Landscapes Festival, Grand Marais, Minn. Workshops and field trips, host North House Folk School. Topics include boreal birding, birding by ear, bird basics, and banding. Course fees vary. (northhouse.org), 1-218-387-9762.

Through end of May: birding walks in many Minnesota state parks. (stateparks.com). Select park, call for information.

In season: Three Rivers Park District birding programs include monthly bird banding at Lowry Nature Center in Victoria, 763-694-7650, and spring bird hikes at Silverwood Park, St. Anthony, 763-694-7707. (threeriversparks.org).

In season: Bird walks at MVNWR, Bloomington — 8-10:30 a.m. March 23, March 31, April 1, April 29, May 5, June 1, Meet at Bass Ponds Trail head at the Long Meadow Lake Unit, 2501 86th St. E., Bloomington. 220 species of birds during migration. Birders of all levels welcome. Bring binoculars and a field guide if you have one. Walks, not weather-sensitive, led by refuge volunteer naturalist Craig Mandel. Walks also scheduled for Louisville Swamp in Shakopee, and Rapids Lake Education & Visitor Center in Carver. (fws.gov/refuge/minnesota_valley), 952-854-5900.

State parks: Many state parks offer bird hikes. Beaver Creek Valley near Caledonia, Warbler Walks; Interstate, Women’s and Girl’s Birding Adventure; Minneopa, bird-banding; St. Croix, a Bird Bonanza Weekend; and Whitewater, bird-banding. Most state parks lend free birding kits that include binoculars, guidebooks and bird lists unique to each park; standard admission fees apply. (dnr.state.mn.us)

Helpful planning site: (midwestweekends.com)

Note that many of these events may require advance registration, and several have fees associated with at least some events, so check websites for details.


Read Jim Williams’ birding blog at startribune.com/wingnut.