Wildlife Watching & Birding in The St. Croix Valley
In the Scenic St. Croix River Valley a wonderful world of wildlife watching and birding opportunities awaits you. Extensive wetlands, acres of wild places, a broad range of natural habitat and a commitment to environmental stewardship have made both the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides of the St. Croix River Valley an outstanding regional birding and wildlife destination.
Here are just a handful of birding viewing trails in the St. Croix Valley. To learn more about birding in the St. Croix Valley visit: The St. Croix Valley Bird Club
Wild River State Park – Center City, MN – Outstanding location for birding; great diversity of species, over 200. Excellent for viewing – warblers, vireos, thrushes, flycatchers, and sparrows during migration. Red-shouldered Hawks and Barred Owls are widespread.
William O’ Brien State Park – Marine on St. Croix, MN – Woodland provides for wild turkeys, ruffed grouse, and wood thrush and there is excellent edge habitat for eastern towhee and for golden-winged and blue-winged warblers.
Afton State Park – Afton, MN – Provides an excellent combination of grassland, woodland and riverine habitat for a wide variety of bird life. Restored prairie areas are excellent for eastern meadowlark, bobolink, savannah, vesper, field and Henslow’s sparrows. 29 species of warblers have been recorded in the park.
Interstate Park, St. Croix Falls, WI, Taylors Falls, MN – Steep cliffs provide updrafts for raptors, Northern rough-winged swallows are common along the river, the west edge of the park provides habitat for sparrows, thrushes, vireos and flycatchers.
St. Croix Islands State Wildlife Area, Somerset, WI – A delta is formed where the Apple and St. Croix River meet. Important migratory route in Spring and Fall for viewing – ducks, geese, swans, raptors, including – Eagles, Osprey, Hawks, Northern Harriers.
Freedom Park Visitor & Learning Center – Prescott, WI – Located at the confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers, this is one of the best places to bird watch in the area. Large number of hawks, songbirds and raptors are impressive both during Spring and Fall migration.
Kinnickinnic State Park – River Falls, WI.- Offers panoramic views of the river gorge as well as secluded hiking trails that traverse both prairie and upland forests. Signature species include: Northern Waterthrush, Common Mergansers and Blackburnian Warblers.
Willow River State Park – Hudson, WI – Varied habitats to explore, views of Willow River waterfall and gorge can be enjoyed from several trails. Common species include: Henslow’s Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Meadowlarks.
Oak Ridge Lake & National Waterfowl Production Area – New Richmond, WI – A major stopover lake during migration for Tundra and Trumpeter Swans. Summer brings many types of ducks, herons, egrets, signature species include – Le Conte’s Sparrow, Short-Eared owls, and Northern Harriers.