Birding Excursions

In addition to having many unique bird species in the immediate vicinity, Bemidji is an excellent hub in which to be situated for excursions to more far reaching and remote locations.

Lake Bemidji Waterfront

Begin at the Bemidji Visitor Center and the statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. The Lake Bemidji waterfront offers birding opportunities year around. Walk along the lakeshore in either direction and watch for Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Common Loons, Common Mergansers and other waterfowl, Canada Geese, and uncommon migrating species such as Lincoln’s Sparrows and American Pipits.

Paul Bunyan Bike/Walking Trail

Within 2 miles of downtown Bemidji, check out the Paul Bunyan Bike/Walking trail. Park at the Gould Ave lot or the Sanford Events Center and walk the paved trail along Lake Bemidji north to the outlet of the Mississippi River. Migrant songbirds, gulls, and waterfowl can be found along the east shore and there’s a Bald Eagle nest east of the trail. Rent a bike and explore the Paul Bunyan Bike trail and connectors.

Diamond Point Park

Another birding spot is Diamond Point Park just north of the Bemidji State University campus.

Cameron Park

Stop by Cameron Park during June and July to view a thriving colony of Purple Martins.

Lake Bemidji State Park

According to local birders, this is the premier bird watching spot in the vicinity. There are over 12 miles of trails, and habitats ranging from lakeshore to stream to hardwood forest to mixed conifers and bog. The bog is accessible via a boardwalk and yields sparrows and warblers. During late June the bogwalk’s showy Ladyslipper orchids are in full bloom. The Rocky Point and Bass Creek trails are especially productive during spring for migrant songbirds.

The Migizi Bike Trail

Located in the Chippewa National Forest, circles Pike Bay of Cass Lake. Best birding begins at the south campground, then walking or biking east along the lakeshore. Expect Bald Eagles, Common Loons, and forest warblers.

Lake Itasca State Park

This 40,000 acre park is a premier birding location with a wide variety of northern habitats. Drive or bike the 15 mile long Wilderness Drive and admire the old growth red and white pines while listening for Canada Warblers, White-throated Sparrows, and other forest dwellers.

Big Bog State Recreation Area

Based in the town of Waskish, the Recreation Area includes both a sandy shoreline of Upper Red Lake and a world class mile long board walk, located 7 miles north of Washkish on Highway 72. This amazing bogwalk meanders through otherwise inaccessible conifer bog and patterned peatland and is a must-visit destination for birders. Look for Boreal Chickadees, Connecticut Warblers, and Northern Hawk Owls while admiring the dwarfed black spruces and carpet of lichens and sphagnum mosses. The Recreation Area is also a part of the Heart of the Bog Birding Trail.

Heart of the Bog Birding Trail

This Trail System is truly a special find. Three of the trail loops are found just north of Bemidji and represent a wonderful opportunity to easily experience the rich Minnesota north woods environment. Below on the map are the Northhome Trail, Waskish Trail and The Dishpan Trail.

Site & Name

1. Big Bog State Recreation Area – North Unit
2. Big Bog State Recreation Area – Waskish
3. Battle Lake Hills Trail/Ski Area
4. Northome Park/Bartlett Lake
12. Lost River Peatland SNA – West
13. Lost River Pealand SNA – South
16. Red Lake Peatland SNA
46. Lost 40 SNA
47 Dishpan WMA
55. Seretha Lake Access
56. Blanchard Forest Road
57. Dark Lake Access
58. Clear Lake Access
59. Flowing Well
63. Co Rd 36 Bog
64. Shoreline Drive Rice Paddies
66. Lost River Forest Rd West
67. Lost River Forest Rd West
68. Lost River Forest Rd West
76. Northome WTP
77. Kelliher WTP
86. Popple River
87. Nature’s Lake Access

Information provided by Heart of the Bog Birding Trail