Northwest Minnesota Birding Report for Thursday, February 23, 2017

This is the Northwest Minnesota Birding Report for Thursday, February 23, 2017 sponsored by the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce. You may also hear this report by calling (218)847-5743 or 1-800-433-1888.

With all the warm weather and melting, birds have been on the move, and the first wave of early spring waterfowl are starting to come in. A few stragglers are appearing in the north, but larger flocks of CANADA GEESE, TRUMPETER SWANS, and other waterfowl are being reported in the southern part of the area. Also HORNED LARKS and LAPLAND LONGSPURS are increasing in numbers. Northern owls are still being reported, and SNOWY OWLS seem to be increasing here in the north, suggesting that they are now on the move north to their breeding areas. The first flocks of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS are being observed in the southern part of our area.

BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS were reported in Roseau and Roosevelt in Roseau County by Doug Kieser and others on February 20. Tim Driscoll was in Roseau County on February 18 where he found several NORTHERN HAWK OWLS and two GREAT GRAY OWLS in locations where they have been previously reported. He also found an immature NORTHERN GOSHAWK on the Sprague Creek Road north of Roseau. Other species seen included NORTHERN SHRIKE, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, GRAY JAY, and SHARP-TAILED GROUSE.

A MERLIN was found by the Doug Kieser group along MN 11 in Kittson County at CR 5. Matt Mecklenburg found four adult male SNOWY OWLS not far from Donaldson on February 20. Kurt Ellwanger reported that the BALD EAGLE nest along CR 11 east of Karlstad is now occupied.

In Beltrami County, the Doug Kieser group found a pair of NORTHERN HAWK OWLS north of Upper Red Lake, and PINE SISKINS, PURPLE FINCH, and COMMON REDPOLLS in Kelliher on February 20.

In Pennington County, Doug Kieser found a pair of GREAT HORNED OWLS about two miles west of St Hilaire on February 20.

Emily Hutchins reported several small flocks of CANADA GEESE and increasing numbers of TRUMPETER SWANS in southern Polk County on February 21. A GOLDEN EAGLE was found along MN 32 a little north of Fertile on February 22 by Doug Kieser’s group. Terry Johnson saw a MERLIN near East Grand Forks on February 19, and reported SNOW BUNTINGS, HORNED LARKS and LAPLAND LONGSPURS in the area. SNOWY OWLS are still being reported from western Polk County.

From Clay County, Kara Susag reported that the RUSTY BLACKBIRD reported earlier has returned to her yard in Moorhead.

Many ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS were still at Hamden Slough in Becker County on February 21. Matt Mecklenburg reported two SNOWY OWLS along CR 14 in Becker County on February 23.

In Otter Tail County, Alma Ronningen reported an influx of AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS, adding to the few that have overwintered. Doug Kieser’s group found GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE in the southwestern part of the county on February 21. GREATER SCAUP, LAPLAND LONGSPURS, NORTHERN HARRIER, and BALD EAGLES were observed by Wayne Perala in the Fergus Falls area this week. An EASTERN BLUEBIRD was found at the Orwell reservoir on February 21.

In Grant County, a great variety of waterfowl was reported by Doug Kieser at the North Ottawa impoundment including CANADA GEESE, CACKLING GEESE, four ROSS’S GEESE, 10 SNOW GEESE, 250 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, and a large variety of ducks.

Thanks to all who sent in sightings this week.

Please report bird sightings to Jeanie Joppru by email, no later than Thursday each week, at OR call the Detroit Lakes Chamber’s toll free number: 1-800-542-3992. Detroit Lakes area birders please call 847-9202. Please include the county where the sighting took place. The next scheduled update of this report is Thursday, March 2, 2017.