Bird Watching at Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs National Park lies in northern Minnesota near the city of International Falls. It was recognized in 1975 and was named after the French-Canadian fur traders or voyageurs, the first European settlers who frequented the area in their travels. The park is renowned for its fantastic water resources and is popular among people for water sports activities like canoeing, kayaking, boating, and fishing. The Kabetogama Peninsula falls inside the park boundaries and forms the majority of its land. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness lies to the east of the park. The park is only accessible through boats or in winters by snowmobiles, skis, or snowshoes.

Major Attractions at Voyageurs National Park

Some of the notable attractions of Voyageurs National Park include Kettle Falls. The falls are formed from the water that descends from Namakan Lake into Rainy Lake. Although the original falls have disappeared, a large dam stands in its place. Boat tours are operated by the park rangers and offer five different cruisers. These tours take the riders to the park’s highlights, including Kettle Falls, Ellsworth Rock Gardens, the gold mining ruins of Little American Island, and Harry Oveson’s Fish Camp. Camping is the best way to immerse in the Voyageur’s experience fully. The park has over 127 front country campsites that can be reserved beforehand and about 14 backcountry campsites that are also reservable. The park contains over 30 lakes, multiple islands, and a few portages, making Voyageurs National Park the perfect location for kayaking, canoeing, boating, fishing, and other water-based outdoor activities.

Bird Watching at Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs National Park has been recognized as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by Audubon and provides a home to over 240 bird species. In addition, 68 of the identified birds are listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need or species of conservation concern. In Northern Minnesota, the largest concentration of breeding Warblers in the continent is found, and 24 species reside inside the Voyageurs National Park boundaries. Some of the commonly seen
birds found inside the park grounds include songbirds and Woodpeckers like small forest birds like Warblers, Vireos, Chickadees, and Thrushes. In addition, some birds of prey like Eagles, Osprey, Vultures, Hawks, and Owls can be seen soaring in the sky, searching for food. In addition, large populations of shorebirds and waterfowls like Sandpipers, Plovers, Gulls, Terns, Cormorants, Herons, Loons, and even freshwater duck species like Mallards and Mergansers can
be seen near the waters of Voyageurs National Park.

10 Birds to See at Voyageurs National Park

Blue-headed Vireo

Blue-headed Vireos are greenish with a blue-gray head and white throat. They live throughout eastern North America. They make their homes in mixed woods. Blue-headed Vireos tend to move slowly, looking for caterpillars and other insects to eat. These Vireos have a slow, cheery song. They lay 3 to 5 eggs in a nest low to the ground. These birds use moss, pine needles, and pieces of paper to make their nests. They migrate earlier in the spring and later in the fall than other Vireos.

Pine Warbler

Pine Warblers have beautiful yellow bodies. You can find them in the eastern United States. Their population is steady, with slight increases. Like their name, Pine Warblers make their homes in pine trees. They may be hard to see up in the high branches. Pine Warblers like to eat seeds, peanuts and cracked corn. They lay 3 to 5 eggs in a nest high above the ground in a pine tree. Their nests are made of pine needles, twigs, bark, spider-webs, and lined with feathers. They migrate early in the spring and again late in the fall.

  • Pine Warbler

Great Crested Flycatcher

Great Crested Flycatchers are reddish-brown with a gray head and neck and a yellow belly. They are a common bird in eastern North America. Their population is stable, although their habitat could be threatened by the loss of forests. They make their homes in woodlands and groves. Great Crested Flycatchers will fly after insects to eat and will fly into foliage looking for prey that is crawling on leaves. They also enjoy fruit and berries. These Flycatchers spend their winters in Mexico, Colombia, and even Florida.

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanagers have bright, beautiful red colors with black wings and tails. They have thick bills that allow them to easily catch insects and eat fruit. Scarlet Tanagers live in eastern North America. They are not on the endangered list but have seen losses in numbers. These birds make their habitat in forests and shade trees. They lay 2 to 5 eggs and build their nests 20 to 30 feet high in trees. Scarlet Tanagers migrate at night in the springtime.

Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warblers are black with white patches, a yellow belly and an orange throat. You can find these birds throughout eastern North America. Sadly, their population is decreasing because the forests they make their homes in are being cut down. They make their homes in forests and woodlands. Blackburnian Warblers are found high in the tops of trees where they eat insects but mostly caterpillars. They lay about 4 eggs and when the fledglings leave the nest the parents split up to care for each of them. Blackburnian Warblers migrate over a broad area, but most migrate across the Gulf of Mexico and spend the winter in South America.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are actually black and white with a red head and throat. You can find them in eastern North America. Their population has disappeared in some southern areas, but the overall population is widespread and steady. They make their homes in aspen groves, orchards, and trees. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers often peck a row of small holes in a tree to get sap out to eat. Along with tree sap, they like to eat insects and fruit. They lay 5 to 6 eggs in the same tree year after year, but use a different hole in the tree. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers migrate to the south.

  • Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpeckers are a beautiful black color with white stripes down their neck and a bright red crest. You can find them in the eastern region of North America. Their population is stable after a slight decrease prior to 1900. Pileated Woodpeckers like to drum on old logs or near the base of a tree. They like to dig rectangular holes in trees while trying to find ants to eat. They lay 3 to 5 eggs and make their nests in dead trees or utility poles. Pileated Woodpeckers are permanent residents.

  • Pileated Woodpecker

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrows have a brown and gray body with streaks. Their coloring can change depending upon the area they are in. You can find these birds all over North America. Their population is widespread and steady. They make their homes in thickets, brush, and around marshes. Song Sparrows eat small insects like wasps and ants, but will also come to bird feeders for seed. They lay 3 to 5 eggs in a nest low to the ground. Song Sparrows in the north migrate to the south for the winter.

  • Song Sparrow

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbirds are black with a red and yellow patch on their shoulders. They live throughout North America. Their population is widespread and stable. They make their homes near marshes and other wetlands. Red-winged Blackbirds prefer to feed on seeds and grain off the ground. Their song is one of the first signs of spring. They lay 3 to 4 eggs in nests close to water or fields of grass. Red-winged Blackbirds migrate south in flocks.

  • Red Winged Blackbird

Wood Duck

Wood Ducks have a unique look with pretty brown and green coloring and patterned feathers. You can find them in eastern and western North America. For some time, the population of Wood Ducks had been threatened, but their nest boxes are now protected and their population has grown. These Ducks live around the edges of wooded swamps, ponds, and rivers. Unlike other waterfowl, Wood Ducks can be found flying from tree to tree. They have strong claws to grip branches. Wood Ducks lay 9 to 15 eggs. After the eggs hatch, the young ducks leave the nest after one day! Northern Wood Ducks migrate south, but the ones already residing in the south are permanent residents.

  • Wood Duck

Final Thoughts

Voyageurs provide shelter to some of the most iconic North Woods wildlife, including moose, wolves, and beavers. But the true gems of this park can be spotted scattered throughout the forested floors and behind the branches of treetops. So grab your binoculars and start exploring the magnificent wildlife Voyageurs National Park has to offer.


Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes

At the Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.

Bird Watching Binoculars

The most common types of bird watching binoculars for viewing birds at Voyageurs National Park is the 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.

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