St. Croix State Park will offer four days of bird-themed programs, activities and presentations for all ages and birding abilities over Memorial Day weekend, May 23-26, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Activities will include a bird count, hands-on art-making contest, how to build a bluebird house workshop, live raptors, games for both beginner and advanced birders, an evening “owl prowl” and more.
“This is our sixth annual Bird Bonanza Weekend, and we have a great line-up of programs and guest presenters,” said Park Naturalist Megan Johnsen. “The weekend is a great opportunity for birders of all ages and abilities – from little kids to hardcore birders – to get out and explore Minnesota’s largest state park. People can come for the day, or stay for the whole weekend. We still have campsites available.”
The weekend line-up will include:
Friday-Monday, May 23-26
- Bird Photography Contest (all day) – Submit bird photos taken in the park for a chance to win a prize.
- Birding Marathon (all day) – Pick up a map and checklist at the Interpretive Center and then drive to five different observation points to spot birds.
Friday, May 23
- Birding for Beginners (1-3 p.m.) – Find out why birding is such a popular activity among nature-lovers of all ages and learn how to start birding.
- Fishy Flyer Game Show (5-6 p.m.) – Test knowledge of local fish-eating birds.
Saturday, May 24
- Bird Banding Demonstration (8-10 a.m.) – Learn how scientists gather data from wild birds.
- Bird Art Contest (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) – Stop by the park’s lodge to create artwork that will be judged by age group. Art-making materials will be provided.
- Kettle River SNA Field Trip (1:30-4:30 p.m.) – Take a guided canoe tour of the Kettle River, an important part of the Mississippi Flyway migration route.
- Build a Bluebird House (1-2 p.m.) – Build a Peterson bluebird house at this hands-on workshop. Bluebird house kits costs $10.
- Live Raptor Program (5-6 p.m.) – See live birds of prey at this Audubon Center of the North Woods raptor presentation.
- Owl Prowl (8-9 p.m.) – Learn how to identify local owls by sound, and then take a guided night hike to find and call to them.
Sunday, May 25
- Make and Take Bird Feeders (11 a.m.-noon) – Create and decorate soda pop bird feeder.
- Retro Reels (5-6 p.m.) – Watch old vintage nature films inside the park’s lodge.
Monday, May 26
- Back Deck Birding (11 a.m.-noon) - Meet other bird enthusiasts and swap bird sighting stories, show off photos and record bird count before heading home.
All of the programs are all free with a valid state park vehicle permit ($5/one-day or $25/year-round), unless otherwise noted.
To find additional programs and special events happening at Minnesota state parks all over the state, visit www.mndnr.gov/ptcalendar or contact the DNR Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Only 90 minutes north of the Twin Cities, St. Croix State Park covers more than 34,000 acres and showcases two great waterways: the St. Croix and the Kettle rivers. Visitors can explore the rivers by canoe or kayak, or with a fishing pole. Hikers and bicycles will find miles of trails to explore, and there are drive-in, walk-in, backpack and horseback campsites available. Large groups can reserve the modern group centers or primitive group camps. The park also has picnic facilities, a playground, volleyball and horseshoes.