Lake Superior: Birds of the Region
The Greatest Lake



Other Pages: The Woodland Caribou of Lake Superior's Slate Islands    The Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale

Homepage: Lake Superior

Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve (Duluth):
The Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve, located in Duluth, Minnesota, provides some of North America's best autumn hawk watching. A seasonal average of over 94,000 raptors migrates past Hawk Ridge from mid-August through November.

Species Trends in Western Great Lakes (NRRI)

Audobon Society Christmas Bird Count Data for Grand Marais, MN

North Shore Bird List (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources) 

Common birds

Some birds are present year-round, others are seasonal.

  • Black-capped Chickadee (black cap & bib, white cheeks, smaller than a sparrow, "chick-a-dee-dee-dee" voice)
  • Pine Siskin (heavily streaked brown finch, some yellow on wings & tail base, pointed bill, social bird)
  • American Goldfinch
  • Purple Finch
  • American Crow
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Herring Gull (red spot on bill, pink legs, black wing tips with white spots)
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Veery
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Song Sparrow
  • Common Yellow Throat

Other birds include (partial list)

  • Bald Eagle
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk
  • Broad-winged Hawk
  • Killdeer
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • American Woodcock
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Northern Flicker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Alder Flycatcher
  • Blue Jay
  • Northern Raven
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • Nashville Warbler
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler
  • Magnolia Warbler
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Black-throated Green Warbler
  • Blackburnian Warbler (pictured above)
  • Black-and-White Warbler
  • American Redstart (warbler)
  • Ovenbird (warbler)
  • Mourning Warbler
  • Canada Warbler
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • Evening Grosbeak

Birding hotspots:

Birch Lake Dam, Hwy 1, south of Ely, Minnesota:  Located on on the South Kawishiwi River, this is area has been described as "one of the most dependable birding spots" in northeastern Minnesota. Plentiful morning sun attracts the warblers, flycatchers and other bird species, and nearby water attracts numerous waterfowl. Visitors can hike along the dike that extends on either side of the dam for a good view of surrounding treetops.

Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, Duluth:  From late September to early November watch Broad-winged hawks, Sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawks, Northern Goshawks, Golden Eagles and other rapters funnel down the shore of Lake Superior.  Movements may consist of more than 100,000 Broad-winged hawks.  Passerines include crossbills and many other species.

Park Point, Duluth:  In this habitat consisting of open beach, woods, and lake, spring and fall visitors can see Red-throated loons, scoters, Golden-winged and Connecticut warblers, and many other passerines.

Minnesota Winter Bird Tour description

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