Winter wildlife in Minnesota state parks

Birding in winter


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

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04/04/20CANCELED Junior Naturalists - River AnimalsJay Cooke State Park
04/15/20H.O.P. Into the Park: Healthy Older PeopleWhitewater State Park
04/16/20The Story Tree (dibaajimowaatig) Preschool Program: Bird's the WordLake Bemidji State Park
05/02/20Sounds of Spring HikeWild River State Park
05/02/20Birding for beginnersFort Snelling State Park
05/03/20Animal TracksFort Snelling State Park
05/07/20Timberdoodle DanceAfton State Park
05/09/20Outdoor Moms Blue Mounds State Park
05/13/20H.O.P. Into the Park: Healthy Older PeopleWhitewater State Park
05/16/20Fossil Field TripWhitewater State Park
05/16/20Take Flight! Spotting Spring BirdsItasca State Park
05/16/20May Bursting Buds Phenology WalkJay Cooke State Park
05/17/20Turtle TalkFort Snelling State Park
05/23/20Take Flight! Spotting Spring Birds Itasca State Park
05/23/20Kids, Birds and BinocularsInterstate State Park
05/23/20Prescribed Fire: A story of Habitat RestorationForestville Mystery Cave State Park
05/24/20Trail Walk: Woods, Wings & Wildlife Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
05/30/20Ribbit - Frogs and ToadsForestville Mystery Cave State Park
05/30/20Beginning Birding: From Books to BinocularsGooseberry Falls State Park
05/31/20Stayin' AliveForestville Mystery Cave State Park
06/05/20Full Moon Night HikeLake Bemidji State Park
06/06/20Take Flight! Spotting Spring Birds Itasca State Park
06/06/20Paleoecology of the Red Lake PeatlandsBig Bog State Recreation Area
06/06/20American BisonFort Ridgely State Park
06/12/20Bog (mashkiig) Discovery: Roving Bog Walk Lake Bemidji State Park
06/13/20Outdoor Recreation Day Father Hennepin State Park
06/13/20Northwoods NicheWild River State Park
06/13/20Live Peregrines at the ParkTettegouche State Park
06/13/20MN ZoomobileMinneopa State Park
06/20/20Nature GamesLake Bemidji State Park
06/20/20Owls of MN & WIWild River State Park
06/21/20Father's Day Geocaching ChallengeInterstate State Park
06/27/20Skins and SkullsFort Snelling State Park
06/27/20Minnesota Raptors: Live!Old Mill State Park
06/27/20Minnesota Raptors: Live!Red River State Recreation Area
07/03/20Full Moon Night HikeLake Bemidji State Park
07/04/20Amazing Animal AdaptationsWild River State Park
07/11/20BatsFort Ridgely State Park
07/17/20Bog (mashkiig) Discovery: Roving Bog Walk Lake Bemidji State Park
08/01/20Wild about WildlifeFort Ridgely State Park
08/01/20Bog (mashkiig) Discovery: Roving Bog Walk Lake Bemidji State Park
08/06/20Wet and Wild Mississippi River DayItasca State Park
08/14/20Bog (mashkiig) Discovery: Roving Bog Walk Lake Bemidji State Park
08/15/20S'mores Stories: Night-Time AnimalsLake Bemidji State Park
08/17/20Little Explorers: N is for Nature TailsInterstate State Park
08/22/20Animal TracksFort Snelling State Park
08/23/20Ripe EdibleFort Snelling State Park
08/28/20Bog (mashkiig) Discovery: Roving Bog Walk Big Bog State Recreation Area
08/29/20Bog (mashkiig) Discovery: Roving Bog Walk Lake Bemidji State Park
09/06/20Three Miles of PikeFort Snelling State Park
09/19/20Birding for beginnersFort Snelling State Park
09/26/20Itasca's 13th Annual Autumn Harvest Festival and Lantern Lit HikeItasca 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.