Winter wildlife in Minnesota state parks

Birding in winter


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Coming to the park? Know the "Key 3:"

  1. Plan to be flexible. Explore new destinations and consider mid-week travel. Parks are busy as more people get outdoors, so we encourage you to discover a new favorite this summer!
  2. Arrive prepared. Buy your vehicle permit, check visitor alerts and campfire restrictions, and download maps before your trip.
  3. Recreate responsibly. Help conserve these special places for the future by staying on trails and leaving no trace.

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


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.

Events Calendar

Scroll table right to see more »
08/01/21Birding in the Big WoodsNerstrand Big Woods State Park
08/01/21Ask a Naturalist- Geology of the Big WoodsNerstrand Big Woods State Park
08/01/21Primitive Firestarting Demo - Drop-in CANCELEDTettegouche State Park
08/04/21Jr. Naturalist: Animal TracksItasca State Park
08/04/21Tree I.D. WalkItasca State Park
08/04/21Birding WalkGlendalough State Park
08/04/21Bugs, Bugs, Bugs: Insects ProgramGlendalough State Park
08/04/21"In Flight Meal"Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
08/05/21Floodplain Forest ForayFort Snelling State Park
08/05/21Wildflower Walk: Bugs and Blooms! Itasca State Park
08/05/21Skulls Nature Cart - Drop-inTettegouche State Park
08/06/21Birding for beginnersFort Snelling State Park
08/06/21Animals of the Night with a Naturalist Stop Sibley State Park
08/06/21Great Birds of the Whitewater Valley Field TripWhitewater State Park
08/07/21Wild about WildlifeFort Ridgely State Park
08/07/21Campfire program - Black Bears of MinnesotaJay Cooke State Park
08/07/21Osprey Wilds Presents: Raptors by Family Sibley State Park
08/07/21Fossil Field TripWhitewater State Park
08/07/21Feathered Friends Scavenger HuntInterstate State Park
08/07/21Woodpecker WondersNerstrand Big Woods State Park
08/08/21Wildflower WalkNerstrand Big Woods State Park
08/08/21Ask a Naturalist- Geology of the Big WoodsNerstrand Big Woods State Park
08/12/21Wildflower Walk: Bugs and Blooms!Itasca State Park
08/13/21Bats in the BlufflandsWhitewater State Park - Picnic Pavilion
08/13/21Jr. Naturalist: Owl Detectives!Itasca State Park
08/14/21Kids Bird WalkWhitewater State Park
08/14/21Tree I.D. WalkItasca State Park
08/14/21Jr. Naturalist: Animal SignsItasca State Park
08/14/21SquirrelsNerstrand Big Woods State Park
08/14/21Ask a Naturalist Sibley State Park
08/15/21Junior Naturalists: River AnimalsJay Cooke State Park
08/15/21Wildflower WalkNerstrand Big Woods State Park
08/15/21Science of SkullsNerstrand Big Woods State Park
08/18/21Women in the Parks: Signs of BigfootFort Snelling State Park
08/18/21Animal MysteriesGlacial Lakes State Park
08/18/21Lore of the Loon Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
08/19/21Floodplain Forest ForayFort Snelling State Park
08/21/21Falcons Live!Tettegouche State Park
08/21/21Down to the riverFort Snelling State Park
08/21/21Fossil Field TripWhitewater State Park
08/21/21Feathered Friends Scavenger HuntInterstate State Park
08/22/21Clever Camouflage Scavenger HuntInterstate State Park
08/22/21Kids' Activity: Nocturnal BINGO Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
08/25/21Women in the Parks: Techno-Identifying NatureFort Snelling State Park
08/25/21Minnesota Symbols Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
08/27/21Minnesota SymbolsMille Lacs Kathio State Park
08/28/21Nature Games 
08/28/21Nature GamesWhitewater State Park
08/28/21Kids' Activity: Nocturnal Wildlife BINGO Father Hennepin State Park
08/29/21Kids' Activity: Nocturnal BINGO Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
09/03/21Skins and SkullsFort Snelling State Park
09/04/21Birding for beginnersFort Snelling State Park
09/04/21Birds for Southwest MN: Talk then WalkCamden State Park - North Picnic Area
09/05/21Live Peregrine Falcon Meet & GreetWhitewater State Park
09/05/21Animal TracksFort Snelling State Park
09/18/21Falcons Live!Tettegouche State Park
09/19/21Three miles of PikesFort Snelling State Park
09/19/21The coming of winterFort Snelling State Park
10/17/21Falcons Live!Tettegouche State Park
11/06/21Tundra Swan Field TripWhitewater State Park

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.