Birds of the Minneapolis River Gorge

An indigo bunting on a branch.

The indigo bunting has been seen in higher numbers since restoration began at the 36th St. Oak Savanna. Their nests occur in brushy areas or along woodland edges, and frequently occur in blackberry bushes below the canopy of large oaks. Photo credit:

For the past few decades, Dave Zumeta, Minnesota Forest Resources Council's former executive director, has been birding the Minneapolis River Gorge. Dave has provided FMR with an extensive list of species observations — complete with data about abundance and breeding status — to help us track the avian species using the river gorge habitat.

As of spring 2022, the list includes 192 species of birds, of which 59 are confirmed or likely breeding species. His data and anecdotal observations help us evaluate current River Gorge Stewards restoration projects and direct future projects to further improve river gorge bird habitat.

Dave has recorded roughly four times the number of indigo buntings (like the one pictured above) nesting at the 36th Street Oak Savanna since restoration began in 1999. We're excited to see both our professional and volunteer-powered restoration efforts making a difference in our local flyway!

Learn more about the River Gorge Stewards volunteer program, or email to receive 6-8 emails a year about upcoming river gorge volunteer habitat and educational events!

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, June 25, 2024 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Nicollet Island, Minneapolis
New date: Saturday, August 10, 2024 at 5 p.m.
Hidden Falls Regional Park, St. Paul
Wednesday, August 14, 2024 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Pine Bend Bluffs Scientific & Natural Area, Inver Grove Heights