More than 220 species of birds frequent this site including several considered threatened or special concern, such as the Trumpeter Swan and Bald Eagle. Itasca State Park has three to four active Bald Eagle territories. Records indicate that Great Blue Heron colonies have been present between 1924 and 1990. The University of Minnesota maintains the Itasca Biological Station within the park. Students and faculty conduct research as well as monitor a variety of species in the park and surrounding area.
The Itasca State Park IBA includes all of Itasca State Park and is managed by the DNR. This IBA is home to the headwaters of the Mississippi river.