Birds & Wildlife

Return to Plan Your Visit

Part of one of the most important migratory flyways in North America, the Mississippi River provides a 2350-mile continuous watercourse from southern wintering areas to northern nesting areas. Situated in the middle of a densely populated urban area, the Mississippi supports a surprising variety of environments for a diverse population of birds and wildlife. There are many places to watch for birds and wildlife, these are just a few:

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary
Intersection of East Fourth Street and Commercial Street in St. Paul
The 29 acre park is being restored to its native plant communities and the wildlife is returning. Two small ponds attract waterfowl and the uplands are home to grasslands bird species. Turkey vultures, bald eagles, and redtail hawks soar along the sandstone bluffs

Coon Rapids Dam
9750 Egret Boulevard Coon Rapids, MN 55433
At Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park just west and north of the west side of the dam is an osprey platform. Trails south of the visitor center wind through floodplain forest along the river occasionally giving access to small islands that harbor a variety of river mammals including beaver, otter, mink and muskrat. Wading and songbirds are frequently seen here.

Fort Snelling State Park
101 Snelling Lake Road, St. Paul, MN 55111
Hiking within Fort Snelling State Park along the river and backwaters will provide many opportunities for birding and wildlife watching. The mud flats are great places to spot the track of animals that make their home there. Deer, beaver, muskrat, mink, otter, and other animals make their home here.

Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge
3815 American Blvd. East Bloomington, MN 55425
Stretching along the Minnesota River from the Fort Snelling area to Jordan, the refuge includes eight different units that provide resting, nesting, and feeding for many animals, waterfowl, and other migratory birds.

North Mississippi Regional Park
4900 Mississippi Court, Minneapolis, MN 55430
In Spring, just downstream from the North Mississippi Regional Park visitor center is a rookery of herons. Small in comparison to the more inaccessible rookery at Pig’s Eye SNA, this rookery can be viewed from the riverbank.

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