5 Spring Birds to see in Northern Minnesota

A few years ago one of our resort guests, an Ornithologist, identified 70 different species of birds at our resort! We thought you might like to come see some.

We always knew we had a great bird population up here on Gull Lake, but it was pretty cool to hear from an expert. The list below includes some of our favorite birds to show up in the northland during the spring vacation season. Some are seen frequently and some are pretty sneaky. If you are planning a family lake vacation in the Bemidji, Minnesota area, you may want to keep a lookout for these wonderful local species.

1. Northern Cardinal
Rare worldwide, but thriving here in Northern Minnesota, it’s easy to take for granted how special and beautiful this local bird is. You can hear males singing all spring. Their bodies are a rich red with a crest on their heads and black on their faces. Visitors up from the south will be thrilled to spot and hear this stunning bird. Listen for their song which sounds like cheer, cheer, cheer or birdie, birdie, birdie.

2. Wood Duck
The wood duck is one of the most beautiful of all waterfowl, and very common here in the Bemidji area. The males are covered in iridescent feathers in chestnut and green, with accents of purple, blue and red, as well as striking black and white patterns. An ornate crest flips off the back of their heads, and eyes ringed in bright red make them very distinct. Look for wood duck houses along the lakeshore, built to attract mating pairs who like to build their nests in hollow trees.

3. Baltimore Oriole
Bright, bright orange with black and white on head and back, the Oriole winters in Central America, but is a common Minnesota favorite summer song bird. Look up high in trees and you may see the Oriole’s unique fuzzy hanging nest made of soft slender fibers. It’s common to see half oranges nailed to trees to attract Orioles, but it’s been said they prefer grape jelly when they can get it.

4. Scarlet Tanager
A famously gorgeous bird found in the forest in summer, its blood-red body is set off by jet-black wings and tail. It’s beauty is only surpassed by its frustrating shyness. When on the look out for the Tanager, listen for the unique chick-burr call it makes and then look for the small red source. Bragging rights go to anyone who spots one around the resort this summer

5. Bald Eagle
When we were younger an eagle sighting was a rare and wonderful thing. Now, as the population has recovered and grown it is much more common to see and hear them, even up close. While not as rare anymore (thankfully), the experience of watching an eagle is still wonderful, even spiritual. Though they can be seen in the Bemidji area all winter long, they really start to show up when the lakes open up, nesting high in the pines. True to our namesake, a pair of Bald Eagles return to Eagle Ridge every year. You can watch them raising their young. In June you can see the adults bringing fish to the juvenile eaglets, and by August you can watch the first flights of those juveniles!


If you are planning a lake resort vacation to Northern Minnesota and love wildlife, then you needn’t go further than the front porch to experience the beauty and variety of birds and waterfowl that call Gull Lake and the Bemidji area home. We’ve saved the list our ornithologist friend made us and are happy to provide it to our guests (with pictures) to help in their discovery of great Northern Minnesota birds. Maybe you should think of joining these feathered friends and come north this spring!

Would you like to find out more about vacationing in the Bemidji, Minnesota area, including Eagle Ridge Resort on Gull Lake?

Please contact Janine or Mark today by phone or email and we’ll help you any way we can.

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