The riparian zone along the Red River provides a fairly unique opportunity for birders. A long contiguous zone of trees and flowing water mark the river’s course toward Lake Winnipeg to our north. While it slices through a flat, largely agrarian landscape, this narrow strip of trees acts as an oasis for many birds. It may not rival the Mississippi or Missouri Rivers in terms of migratory corridors, but at times, it is very productive.
Birdable private lands are at a premium in these counties rife with highly cultivated farm acreage. With a few notable exceptions, city parks in Fargo and Moorhead provide arguably the best chance for birders to view migrant and nesting woodland avifauna. Within these twin cities the landscape is quickly changing as community leaders address the ongoing flood threat from the Red River. As a result, birding opportunities have blossomed with the removal of many homes and structures along the river’s course. We will make every attempt to update these birding sites as landscape changes are implemented.
Birds found here constitute a curious mix of Eastern passerines, prairie specialties, an occasional western species, and erratic northern visitors due to our location near the intersection of major biomes. During any one spring (or fall) as many as 25 warbler species, five vireos, 12 tyrant flycatchers, nearly 20 sparrows, up to five thrushes, and numerous other species can be expected. In addition, migrant raptor numbers can be high during appropriate times. In winter the scene can be quite stark with few species present. Still, redpolls, Purple Finches, a Snowy Owl or two (on the edge of town), and the occasional Bohemian Waxwing or Varied Thrush, can provide a seasonal spark.