Tromping around Weaver Dunes, south of Wabasha MN, for 8 hours trying to identify every bird we could find was exhausting but rewarding, and what an absolutely beautiful day to participate in The Nature Conservancy’s bird blitz on May 12.
The spring migration was running a little behind schedule, but we managed to find (and identify) 58 species (which admittedly doesn’t sound like a lot for 8 hours of work). We explored a variety of habitats, but the best places to look were edges between shrub and forest, or prairie and forest.
Our efforts were added to those of the birders walking other TNC properties throughout the tri-state region of MN, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Together all observers on May 12 found over 200 different bird species, or approximately 50% of those known to reside or pass through MN on migration in May. Not bad…it’s a nationwide competition, so we’ll see how MN bird numbers stack up with those elsewhere in the U.S.
Considering that our American birds have to navigate and survive stormy weather and drastic climate changes, glass windows and glass-covered buildings, marked habitat alterations, and depleted food supplies from all the pesticide and herbicide applications, it’s a wonder that we see the diversity that we do.