Winter wildlife in Minnesota state parks

Birding in winter

Minnesota winters provide a stunning backdrop to any wildlife viewing.

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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.

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.

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

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

Events Calendar

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05/27/22Birding in the Big WoodsNerstrand Big Woods State Park
05/28/22Archery in the ParksFort Ridgely State Park
05/28/22Junior Naturalists Solve a Bird MysteryInterstate State Park
05/28/22Junior Naturalists: River AnimalsJay Cooke State Park
05/28/22Campfire Program: Black Bears of MNJay Cooke State Park
05/28/22Birding at Bear HeadBear Head Lake State Park
05/28/22Let's Get Looney! Evening TalkItasca State Park
05/28/22Woodpecker WondersNerstrand Big Woods State Park
05/28/22Kids' Activity: Wildlife BINGO Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
05/28/22We've Been Trying to Reach You About Taking a Bird WalkWilliam O'Brien State Park
05/28/22Who's out in the Park Today?William O'Brien State Park
05/28/22Camouflage WalkWhitewater State Park - Visitor Center
05/29/22Jr. Naturalist: Animal SignsItasca State Park
05/29/22Science of SkullsNerstrand Big Woods State Park
05/29/22Falcons Live!Frontenac State Park
05/29/22Kids' Program: Grossology Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
05/29/22Kids' Activity: Wildlife BINGO Father Hennepin State Park
05/29/22Who's out in the Park Today?William O'Brien State Park
05/30/22American Bison ExperienceMinneopa State Park
05/30/22Feathered Friends Scavenger HuntInterstate State Park
06/03/22Archery in the ParksFort Ridgely State Park
06/04/22Take Flight! Spotting Spring Birds Itasca State Park
06/04/22Birding at Bear HeadBear Head Lake State Park
06/04/22Secrets of Skulls StationInterstate State Park
06/04/22Fossil Field TripWhitewater State Park
06/05/22Archery in the ParksMinneopa State Park
06/05/22Geocaching 101Minneopa State Park
06/05/22Minneopa State Park StoryMinneopa State Park
06/05/22Kids' Activity: Wildlife BINGO Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
06/05/22Birdsong WalkJay Cooke State Park
06/09/22"In Flight Meal"Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
06/10/22Archery in the ParksMinneopa State Park
06/10/22Owls of MinnesotaMinneopa State Park
06/10/22Campfire Program: Black Bears of MNJay Cooke State Park
06/11/22Archery in the ParksFlandrau State Park
06/11/22Wild about WildlifeFlandrau State Park
06/11/22Birding at Bear HeadBear Head Lake State Park
06/12/22Birdsong WalkJay Cooke State Park
06/12/22Birding in the Big WoodsNerstrand Big Woods State Park
06/12/22Ask a Naturalist-Geology of the Big WoodsNerstrand Big Woods State Park
06/18/22Birding at Bear HeadBear Head Lake State Park
06/25/22Birding at Bear HeadBear Head Lake State Park
06/25/22Prairie Trail Birding WalkFrontenac State Park
06/27/22Little Explorers: N is for Nature TailsInterstate State Park
07/01/22Archery in the ParksFort Ridgely State Park
07/01/22Beaver EcologyFort Ridgely State Park
07/02/22Archery in the ParksMinneopa State Park
07/02/22Wild about WildlifeMinneopa State Park
07/02/22Birding at Bear HeadBear Head Lake State Park
07/06/22Invasive Naturalist TentFort Snelling State Park
07/08/22Archery in the ParksMinneopa State Park
07/08/22Animal Tracks & SignsMinneopa State Park
07/09/22Archery in the ParksFlandrau State Park
07/09/22Geocaching 101Flandrau State Park
07/09/22Explore the Cottonwood RiverFlandrau State Park
07/09/22Birding at Bear HeadBear Head Lake State Park
07/16/22Birding at Bear HeadBear Head Lake State Park
07/17/22Outdoor Kids- Animal TracksItasca State Park
07/23/22Birding at Bear HeadBear Head Lake State Park
07/24/22Snare and TrapFort Snelling State Park
07/29/22Archery in the ParksMinneopa State Park
07/29/22American BisonMinneopa State Park
07/30/22Archery in the ParksFort Ridgely State Park
07/30/22Birding at Bear HeadBear Head Lake State Park
08/05/22Archery in the ParksFort Ridgely State Park
08/05/22Wild about WildlifeFort Ridgely State Park
08/06/22Archery in the ParksMinneopa State Park
08/06/22Geocaching 101Minneopa State Park
08/07/22Down to the RiverFort Snelling State Park
08/07/22Skins and SkullsFort Snelling State Park
08/20/222nd Annual Dark Sky FestivalForestville Mystery Cave State Park
08/20/22Ripe ediblesFort Snelling State Park
08/20/22Animal tracks for kidsFort Snelling State Park
08/26/22Archery in the ParksMinneopa State Park
08/26/22Bird EcologyMinneopa State Park
08/27/22Archery in the ParksFlandrau State Park
08/27/22Pine Loop Birding WalkFrontenac State Park
09/02/22Archery in the ParksFlandrau State Park
09/03/22Archery in the ParksFort Ridgely State Park
09/03/22Geocaching 101Fort Ridgely State Park
09/03/22Birding for beginnersFort Snelling State Park
09/03/22Floodplain!Fort Snelling State Park
09/04/22Archery in the ParksMinneopa State Park
09/04/22Wild about WildlifeMinneopa State Park
09/10/22Geocaching 101Minneopa State Park
09/14/22The coming of autumnFort Snelling State Park
09/18/22Three Miles of PikeFort Snelling 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.