I have lived in the Twin Cities for 30 years and have never visited Coon Rapids Dam until last weekend. What a treasure! A lot of birdwatchers, photographers with ultra long lens, families, and bicyclists. Many thanks to Jane Ball and Celeste Rouse who contributed their beautiful photos.
The White Pelican has one of the largest wing spans (9 feet across) in North America, second only in size to the California Condor. White Pelicans nest in Northern Minnesota, North Dakota and Southern Canada.
Most of the birds that were at the dam were migratory. I came back next day and 50% of the birds had left. The wind had changed from a north wind to a south wind. Spring migratory birds usually move when the wind is from south because they can get a free ride and not have to expend as much energy.
Both the Northern Shoveler and the Ruddy Duck nest in the pothole region of Northern Minnesota and North Dakota.
The Great Blue Heron is 4 1/2 feet tall. They use their sharp beak for spearing fish, frogs, mice and insects. Blue Herons nest mainly in trees.
There is an osprey nest on the west side of the Coon Rapids Dam. On Sundays there is an osprey watch volunteer monitoring the nest. He has a very large telescope for interested people to observe the birds.