Winter wildlife in Minnesota state parks

Birding in winter

 

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Coming to the park? Know the "key three":

  1. Plan ahead. Buy your vehicle permit in advance to minimize person-to-person contact. Record your confirmation number and place it on your car's dashboard. If you'll be skiing on groomed trails, buy your ski pass in advance too.
  2. Arrive prepared. Buildings and warming shelters may not be open. Dress appropriately for the weather, and bring extra supplies with you.
  3. Follow the rules. Continue to follow all COVID-related guidance listed in the Outdoor Recreation Guidelines. Pay attention to signs, stay home if you feel sick, try to recreate only with members of your immediate household, and practice social distancing--even outdoors.

How to see winter wildlife 

Minnesota winters provide a stunning backdrop to any wildlife viewing. Stop by a Minnesota state park for some great programs on winter birding and how to identify animal tracks in the snow. Check out the snow conditions before you go

Purchase a vehicle permit today and get a year of unlimited visits to all of Minnesota's state parks and recreation areas.

Helpful tips

Red squirrel track

  • Bring binoculars
  • Go out at dawn and dusk for the best viewing
  • Be alert and move slowly and quietly
  • Search for tracks in the mud or snow
  • Look near the edges of forests and fields, pond margins and treetops
  • Try these wildlife and nature viewing tips

Suggestions

November/December - Visit the Weaver Bottoms along the Mississippi River and watch thousands of migrating tundra swans en route to North Carolina and Virginia. From there, head south to Whitewater State Park to check for wintering bald eagles.

January/February - Try reading mammal tracks in the snow. You might find tracks for white-tailed deer, red fox, or coyotes. Open water along rivers provides habitat for Canada geese, trumpeter swans, and bald eagles.

Want some more tips? Check out our nature viewing guide.

Please note: Occasionally, due to extreme weather or poor snow conditions, an event may need to be canceled or changed. When in doubt, call the park.