The Fertile Sand Hills is a great destination for experienced birders, or those new to the hobby. We are located along many migratory routes and, with Minnesota’s lakes, wetlands and three biomes providing a large range of habitats for a huge variety of game birds, songbirds, waterfowl, and raptors, this is a great spot to be a birder!!!.
New to birding? This is a great place to start. Grab some binoculars and head out. Find a place to sit quietly and observe or take a quiet hike and use your eyes and ears to locate birds. Birding is a skill, so the more you do it and the more you learn about it the better you will get at observing and identifying beautiful and interesting birds.
Here is a list of some of the birds you might encounter while on the trails.
Birds of the Fertile Sand Hills
The list indicates the likelihood you will encounter each species during each season.
In the spring and early summer, visit the prairies south and west of the nature center to observe Eastern Bluebirds nesting in the nesting boxes there.
Once you have spent some time discovering all the avian wildlife in the Sand Hills, visit some of the other locations along the Pine to Prairie International Birding Trail:
Take a field guide or learn to use an app so you can identify the birds you see. Merlin is an app and website from Cornell University that is very useful in identifying birds.
eBird is also a Cornell product. This app or website can be used to record your bird observations.
There is even an eBird page devoted to bird sightings at AELC!
This link will take you to eBird Essentials, a free course that will give you an introduction to eBird:
Another very cool app is iNaturalist. Use your camera to take pictures of birds (or any plant or animal, for that matter). iNaturalist will help you identify your observation and you’ll be helping AELC to catalog all the flora and fauna found in the Fertile Sand Hills. You’ll be a citizen scientist. For more information about iNaturalist, visit here: https://aelcfertile.org/inaturalist