• Mississippi National River and Recreation Area


    National River & Recreation Area Minnesota

Waterbird Ground Counts

The Mississippi River is a great place to observe migrating birds. In the Twin Cities, fall migration runs from September through December and spring migration occurs from late February through May. Each species of waterbird has its own unique migration strategy which means that groups of birds arrive at different times.

Fall Ground Counts

The National Park Service monitors each fall at Red Rock Lake, St. Paul, MN (map). Even though the lake is surrounded by industry and near a former landfill, rich marsh habitat along the lake's shore provides valuable food and shelter for birds migrating along the Mississippi Flyway.

Counts are taken from the same vantage points weekly throughout the fall migration. Survey numbers are used to estimate trends in the number and diversity of waterbirds using these habitats over several years.

The purpose of this study is to better understand our Park's resources, ensure the health of waterfowl and waterbird populations, and to protect these resources for the enjoyment of future generations. Survey data helps biologists and officials make important decisions about hunting regulations and habitat management.

Species List (Red Rock Lake)

Red Rock Lake Survey Data 2009 - 2012

Dabbling Ducks

Dabbling Ducks


Ducks, Geese and Swans

Diving Ducks

Diving Ducks
Other Waterbirds

Other Waterbirds


Did You Know?

Mississippi River Watershed

The Mississippi River Basin, or watershed, drains 41% of the continental United States including 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces.