Birding Spots

Bloomington Visitor Center

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington, MN 55425

Phone: 952-854-5900
TTY: 1-800-877-8339

minnesotavalley@fws.gov

The Hillside Trail drops steeply to a observation platform overlooking Peterson Pond. A free, self-guided Songbird Trail Pack can be checked out at the Visitor Center. A spur trail leads to the Long Meadow Lake Trail.

Bass Ponds

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

2501 E 86th St, Bloomington, MN 55425

minnesotavalley@fws.gov

Two short loop trails lead from the shelter area, past a spring-fed stream, and around a pond and marsh. An interpretive brochure is available at the Visitor Center. This area also serves as the east trailhead for the Hogback Ridge Trail.

Search for some of the over 100 species of birds that have been observed nesting at the Bass Ponds: Trumpeter Swan, Wood Duck, Bald Eagle, Yellow Warbler, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Cliff and Barn Swallow are just a sample of what you might see.

Old Cedar Avenue Bridge

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

9500 Old Cedar Avenue, BloomingtonMN  55425

minnesotavalley@fws.gov

We will search for species of waterfowl, flycatchers, warblers, sparrows and other song birds that migrate to and through the refuge. For example Willow Flycatcher, Blue-winged and Prothonotary Warblers, White-throated and White-crowned Sparrow are a few of the species we will be looking for.

Black Dog Preserve: Trail (Cliff Fen Park)

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

120 East Cliff Road, Burnsville, MN 55337

minnesotavalley@fws.gov

Black Dog Preserve is located on the south side of the Minnesota River in Burnsville. The land is owned by Xcel Energy and managed as a refuge unit under a cooperative agreement. It comprises two large lakes and areas of marsh and fen. Unique species of both plants and birds occur here. Due to water input by the power company, large areas of the lake remain unfrozen during the winter, attracting hundreds of ducks and other waterfowl.

Black Dog Preserve: Observation Deck

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

677 Black Dog Road, Burnsville, MN 55337

minnesotavalley@fws.gov

Black Dog Preserve is located on the south side of the Minnesota River in Burnsville. The land is owned by Xcel Energy and managed as a refuge unit under a cooperative agreement. It comprises two large lakes and areas of marsh and fen. Unique species of both plants and birds occur here. Due to water input by the power company, large areas of the lake remain unfrozen during the winter, attracting hundreds of ducks and other waterfowl.

Bloomington Ferry Unit

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

11255 Bloomington Ferry Road, BloomingtonMN  55438

minnesotavalley@fws.gov

The unit, located in the southwest corner of Bloomington, comprises 400 acres (1.6 km2) of marsh and floodplain forest. It is located predominantly in the river bottoms on the north side of the Minnesota River. A significant wetland area, Opus Marsh, encompasses a portion of the east half of the unit. A connecting trail and pedestrian bridge also allows access to the Refuge's Wilkie Unit. From a parking area there is a one mile (1600 m) linear trail along the riverbank and a bridge to the Wilkie Unit.

Wilkie Unit

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

7701 County Road 101 East, ShakopeeMN  55379

minnesotavalley@fws.gov

These 2,100 acres (8.5 km2) are just south of the river in Savage and Shakopee. The Wilkie Unit is located predominantly in the river bottoms, and features three prominent lakes (Blue, Rice, and Fisher) and large areas of associated marsh. There are also extensive areas of bottomland forest, as well as stands of coniferous trees. A connecting trail and pedestrian bridge also allow access to the Refuge's Bloomington Ferry Unit. Five miles of trail and abandoned farm roads are open for hiking and cross-country skiing year-round. Additionally, the state’s largest great blue heron rookery, with over 600 nests, is found here. Because disturbances negatively affect the birds’ breeding, the west end of the unit is closed to the public from March 1 to August 31

Louisville Swamp

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

3801 - 145th Street West, ShakopeeMN  55379

minnesotavalley@fws.gov

The centerpiece of this 2,600 acre (11 km2) unit is the marsh called Louisville Swamp. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service staff estimate that Louisville Swamp floods three out of every five years, and trail closures are common. A water control structure helps regulate the outflow into Sand Creek, a short course which flows into the Minnesota River. The unit also includes dry lands above the bluffs which bear old fields, prairie, and oak savanna. The unit is located on the Eastern bank of the river just north of Jordan, Minnesota.

Rapids Lake Visitor Center

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

15865 Rapids Lake Road, Carver, MN 55315

Phone: 952-361-4500
TTY: 1-800-877-8339

minnesotavalley@fws.gov

This 1,888 acres (6 km2) unit is on the left bank of the river across from the Louisville Swamp Unit. Old fields were restored to prairie and oak savanna and there is also bottom-land forest and a wetland that were restored in 1992. Part of the unit was once a turkey farm.

The Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center includes the visitor center, an outdoor education center, a bunkhouse for interns and a maintenance shop. The visitor center facility includes an outdoor restroom that is open sunrise to sunset. There are three miles (5 km) of trails in the unit. The two access points are on County Road 45, two miles (3 km) apart.