Monday, May 19, 2014

St. Croix State Park to host Bird Bonanza Weekend

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 or contact the DNR Information Center at, 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.