Northwest Birding Report – March 15, 2018

This is the Northwest Minnesota Birding Report for Thursday, March 15, 2018 sponsored by the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce. You may also see this report on the Chamber of Commerce website: .

Spring appears to be on the way here in the northwest this week. We have been having a nice slow melt, with the sun doing the work and temperatures remaining quite close to freezing. Slowly the dirt in the fields will start to show, and more birds will arrive. In the southern part of the area, where some open water is appearing, waterfowl are already coming in, and HORNED LARKS are increasing greatly in numbers throughout the area. For now they are along the roadsides but as more black dirt shows up , they will be harder to see as they pair off and move into the fields for nesting.

ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS are also  increasing in numbers this week and we can expect a big push of them in the next couple of weeks. Wayne Perala saw 40 to 50 of them on March 15 from Grant County to Felton Prairie in Clay County so they are on the way, but  still not that common in the far north.

In Kittson County, a SNOWY OWL was observed on March 9 by Sparky Stensaas.
He also found a WESTERN MEADOWLARK near Lake Bronson.

In Pennington County, Josh Tharaldson saw two male WILD TURKEYS near Goodridge on March 14. Two CANADA GEESE were observed by Shelley Steva in Thief River Falls on March 10. A BARRED OWL reappeared in our yard on March 9.  We are hoping it nests nearby.

The BALD EAGLES have returned to the nest site near East Grand Forks in Polk County as reported by several observers. At Glacial Ridge, Sparky Stensaas found 15 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, 48 SHARP-TAILED GROUSE,  28 GREATER PRAIRIE-CHICKENS and one PILEATED WOODPECKER on March 9th and 10th. Three SNOWY OWLS were also seen that day in Polk County. In his travels through Polk and up to Kittson County, Sparky found 441 SNOW BUNTINGS and 373 HORNED LARKS.

The waterfowl are arriving in Otter Tail County to join those that have overwintered in the river near Fergus Falls. On March 1st, Wayne Perala reported NORTHERN SHRIKE, AMERICAN KESTREL and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD in Otter Tail County. By March 15, he found a pair of BALD EAGLES  at Battle Lake at a nest site. Gary and Marion Otnes reported COMMON REDPOLLS and HORNED LARKS on March 9, and also a male NORTHERN HARRIER in Western Township.

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 Thursday, March 22, 2018.

Jeanie Joppru
Pennington County, MN