Northwest Birding Report for March 22, 2019

This is the Northwest Minnesota Birding Report for Friday, March 22, 2019 sponsored by the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce. You may also see this report on the Chamber of Commerce website:

Spring has finally come to the northwest. Temperatures have been in the forties for the last two days, and there has been freezing at night, leading to a long slow melt. That is just what we needed.  The birds have noticed the change also, and feeders are busy, while early migrants are streaming in.  Canada goose scouts have been observed as far north as Polk and Pennington Counties and maybe further. Good luck to them as there is no open water yet. Merlins have been seen in Polk and Pennington Counties, and flocks of horned larks can be need along the roadsides. Now is the best time to get good looks at them as they have not dispersed to nest, and fields are mostly still white.

A pair of PILEATED WOODPECKERS are visiting our yard in Pennington County, usually together so probably getting ready to nest. Many HORNED LARKS can be seen along the roadsides. Gary Tischer reported a flock of about 15 CANADA GEESE over Thief River Falls on March 19. A MERLIN was also heard in Thief River Falls. PINE SISKINS and COMMON REDPOLLS continue to dominate feeders.

The first TRUMPETER SWANS returned to southern Polk County on March 20 as reported by Bruce Flaig. John Loegering and Sandy Aubol both reported the return of MERLINS this week. SHARP-TAILED GROUSE and many HORNED LARKS were seen in Polk County this week. Gary Tischer also saw a few SNOW BUNTINGS on March 19, but their numbers are declining as temperatures warm.

Chris Walker reported a MERLIN in Clay County on March 12.

TRUMPETER SWANS have returned to Tamarac NWR in Becker County as of March 17th.

Otter Tail County is seeing increasing numbers of waterfowl as more and more open water appears.  A COMMON LOON was heard over Fergus Falls on March 20. Wayne Perala reported a WESTERN MEADOWLARK near the Orwell Dam on March 20, and a MOURNING DOVE on March 21st.

Please report bird sightings to Jeanie Joppru by email, no later than Thursday each week, at OR call the Detroit Lakes Chamber’s numbers 218-847-5743 or 218- 847-9202. Please include the county where the sighting took place. The next scheduled update of this report is Friday, March 29, 2019

Jeanie Joppru

Pennington County, MN