Birds are on the move above the Mississippi River! The Mississippi River flyway is a migration route followed by 40 percent of North America’s water and shore birds. Song birds, raptors, ducks and wading birds all travel this route this season. For bird lovers, this is paradise. Travelers on the Great River Road National Scenic Byway will find endless spots for taking in the show. Part of the fun of birding is finding your own special locations, but here are some good bets to get you started.
Barn Bluff Scenic Overlook, Red Wing.
You can summit this 340-foot bluff via a trail and some steps. It’s worth the effort. It offers panoramic views of the Mississippi River and Red Wing below and it’s the perfect place to spot flocks traveling north.
Perrot State Park, Trempealeau, Wisconsin.
This park also offers a bird’s eye view of the Mississippi River. Keep your binoculars handy; this is the spot where the Trempealeau River meets the Mississippi and it’s fantastic habitat for birds.
Pike’s Peak State Park, McGregor, Iowa
This is one of the most photographed places in Iowa for a reason – it offers majestic views of the river channels below. The wooded park has some nice birding trails – keep an eye out for pileated woodpeckers. Not far from parking areas, you’ll find breathtaking vistas that are perfect spots to see passing flocks.
Lake Chicot State Park, Arkansas
This lake was once part of the Mississippi River, before it was cut off from the main channel centuries ago. It’s 20 miles long – the largest natural lake in Arkansas. It’s great habitat for wetland birds and it draws birders throughout the year.
The Barataria Preserve here is a land of forests bayous. It’s fantastic biding country. You’ll find more than 200 species of birds including herons, egrets, vultures, and ducks.