Must-see FMR spring birding sites along the river

Ruby-crowned kinglet

Grab your binoculars and enjoy the songbird migration in the metro at sites our supporters have helped protect and steward. (Ruby-crowned kinglet photo by Keith Olstad)

Between April and May in Minnesota, a harbinger of spring takes flight. More and more migrating birds, including neotropical migrants that winter in Central and South America, pass through the metro river corridor on their way to their summer breeding grounds up north.

Protecting and restoring habitat along the Mississippi River, one of the most important migration corridors or flyways on the continent, has long been an FMR priority. Sites we've helped permanently protect and restore are top-notch birding spots.

Mississippi River Gorge Regional Park in MinneapolisPine Bend Bluffs Scientific & Natural Area in Inver Grove Heights and Hastings River Flats (see map below) are all longtime favorites with local birders, offering glimpses of warblers, phoebes, thrushes and other migrants. Volunteer Dave Zumeta updates and offers FMR supporters this bird list for the River Gorge each year, citing nearly 200 species.

William H. Houlton Conservation Area in Elk River and Hampton Woods Wildlife Management Area in Hampton Township are expansive birding areas more recently opened to the public. They're great places to view both migrating and resident bird species. (So good, in fact, that we had to include Hampton Woods WMA even though it's not along the river.) We began restoration on these sites in the 2010s, so make sure to return over the years to see the difference habitat restoration makes.

Suggested FMR birding spots

Take advantage of the spring migration season with a visit to these top Mississippi River flyway sites. Whether you’re looking for an urban birding spot, or prefer a location a little more off the beaten path, we've got you covered.

Help protect our flyway

If you'd like to help keep our local Mississippi River flyway healthy, let us know! Volunteer with us to steward habitat or become a member to support this vital work.

Explore all of our Conservation updates.

Upcoming Events

May 1-31, 2023
Orvis - Miracle Mile, St. Louis Park
Saturday, June 3, 2023 - 9:00am to 11:00am
William H. Houlton Conservation Area, Elk River
Tuesday, June 13, 2023 - 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Fair State Brewing Cooperative, Minneapolis
Ole Olson prairie, Mississippi River, Minneapolis skyline

Celebrate 30 years of FMR!

For our 30th anniversary, our wish is for you to join us in restoring, protecting and enhancing the Mississippi River.