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Orr, D.J. 1981. Western Minnesota colonial waterbird nesting site inventory. Final report submitted to the Nongame Wildlife Program, Department of Natural Resources. 47 pp.


One characteristic of Minnesota's bluestem prairie northern hardwood transition zone is the interspersion of lakes and marshes. This is ideal habitat for a number of colonial nesting waterbirds. Interest in these birds has increased in the past decade for several reasons. Many of these species are large and easily noticed by even the casual observer. Their colonial nesting habits make them even more obvious, but also make them vulnerable to some unique problems. If even one colony site is destroyed the loss of nests may be in the hundreds or even thousands. Also these birds are at the top of the food chain and are therefore susceptible to buildup of toxic chemicals. Their continued success in Minnesota is a measure of our environmental quality.

Data on colonial nesting waterbirds has, in the past, been collected by a network of interested volunteers. Known colonies have for the past few years, been inventoried annually to obtain data on population trends. Much valuable information has been collected by these people. This study was initiated to thoroughly survey one area of the state. Known colonies were to be inventoried and an attempt made to discover new or previously unknown colonies.

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