Riverway Specialties

An osprey sits in a pine tree.
Watch for osprey feeding on fish while perched in shoreline trees.

NPS/VanTatenhove

Common Riverway Species

You are likely to see these species on most stretches of the Riverway and during most seasons of year with the exception of winter.

Bald Eagles
  • Over 30 pairs are known to nest on or near the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers.
  • Large concentrations of eagles heading north are common after ice breakup.
  • Eagles are abundant at times with 30-40 birds seen per hour in St. Croix Falls during fall migration.
  • You can see occasional year-round resident birds near open water, especially between Highway 8 and the hydroelectric dam.

Osprey
  • Osprey breed within the park boundaries, building nests similar to eagle nests.
  • Watch for interactions between ospreys and bald eagles.

Common Mergansers
  • Swimming groups, containing multiple females with broods of their young, are common on the rivers.
  • They dive for fish and are sometimes called "sawbills" because of their serrated beaks.

Great Blue Heron
  • Several heron rookeries are located on or near the rivers.
  • Watch for them stalking prey near the shoreline.

Turkey Vultures
  • These large birds gather over the dam in St. Croix Falls and Taylors Falls, riding the thermal air currents as they rise.
  • They hold their wings in a "V" and tip from side to side as they soar.
 
A small yellow songbird sits in a tree.
A prothonotary warbler shows its colors.

Brian Collins

Home to Uncommon Species

The Riverway is a stronghold for these birds which are sometimes rare in other places.

Red-shouldered Hawks
  • The St. Croix River is one of the best places in Minnesota and Wisconsin to find these birds.
  • Common from St. Croix State Park south on the St. Croix.

Prothonotary Warblers
  • These birds nest in tree cavities in bottomland forests and are common south of St. Croix Falls/Taylors Falls, especially along the smaller back channels.

Golden-winged Warblers
  • The Riverway is located at the heart of their breeding range.
  • See them north of Highway 70 on the St. Croix and on the Namekagon River.
  • This species is under consideration for the Federal Threatened and Endangered Species List.

Trumpeter Swans
  • Successfully reintroduced to this area in the 1980s.
  • Some birds wear yellow collars with numbers that help biologists track individuals and estimate populations.
  • In winter, they congregate on the St. Croix River near Nevers Dam Landing and at the mouth of the Willow River in Hudson—anywhere near open water.

Louisianna Waterthrush
  • Listed as rare by the State of Wisconsin and of special concern by the State of Minnesota.
  • Requires mature forest in wet areas.
  • Frequently found along rocky, swift flowing streams in forested steep sided valleys.

Cerulean Warbler
  • Listed as threatened by the State of Wisconsin and of special concern by the State of Minnesota.
  • These birds prefer lowland deciduous forests dominated by mature stands of trees.
 

Last updated: May 1, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

401 North Hamilton Street
St. Croix Falls, WI 54024

Phone:

(715) 483-2274

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