The Bass Ponds are part of the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge. It is an urban wildlife refuge in shadow of the Mall of America, a busy highway and the Minneapolis International Airport. Besides being a refuge for animals, the Bass Ponds is a refuge for joggers, fisherman, hikers, and birders.
I asked the two women shown above why they liked birding.
“I have been birding for 25 years. It is addictive. The anticipation of seeing something new, is an adrenaline rush. It is also about slowing down and just being outside in the wonder of nature. Even if it is a common bird, I like to watch their behavior because you witness different behaviors in the spring than you do at other times of the year“.
I work for LL Bean at the Mall of America. The Bass Ponds is our local trail and LL Bean has adopted it, and we partner with the wildlife refuge. It an urban park and we are going to go ahead and clean up the trash once a month. I get satisfaction intrinsically by helping out the environment. We want to do our part and make it better for everyone to enjoy.
Our next cleanup will be Sat. June 8, and it’s open to everyone. Readers can get more info and sign up at www.llbean.com/MOA .
Other mammals found at the Bass Ponds includes: coyote, beaver, deer, fox, raccoons, mink and otters at the Bass Ponds.
Craig Mandel is a master birder and regularly leads hikes at the Bass Ponds. Craig put everyone at ease with his welcoming demeanor. His quiet passion for birding is contagious. (Contact the MVWR Visitor Center to find out Craig’s next hike).
It was very enriching walking with 25 people who were so passionate about learning and sharing their knowledge of nature.
I met a 16 year old bird watcher. “I got into bird watching when I was 5. “My aunt was in a birding group and they “adopted me”. I have been passionate about birding ever since, unfortunately, there aren’t too many birders my age”.
Vanessa Nordstrom grew up exploring and hiking at the Bass Ponds. She shares the following childhood memories:
“We would hike down the big hill before it was paved and we loved having the freedom to explore everything.
In the winter we would see the fish in the stocked pond and the river run off and they would be jumping out of the ice. We used to always find animal skulls down in the woods too skunks, weasels and a deer, etc. “
To get directions to the Bass Ponds contact
Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge
3815 , American Blvd,