Featured Photo by Ryk Naves
Bird Watching Throughout Pepin County
Regions throughout Pepin County offer amazing bird watching experiences for visitors and locals alike. With prime locations on the Mississippi and Chippewa Rivers, the Driftless limestone bluffs, and a variety of state natural areas, there are numerous bird habitats and species that bird watchers can spot throughout the area. Pepin County’s unique location also brings some of North America’s greatest migratory bird species through the region. Because of this, there is a fun bird scavenger hunt for bird watchers with over 180 bird species to spot throughout the region. Get started on your next Pepin County visit with these great locations.
Nine Mile Island State Natural Area
Sitting within the Chippewa River Valley and the Nine Mile Slough ecosystem, the Nine Mile Island State Natural Area is a perfect birding destination. The unique landscapes and ecosystems provide habitats for cerulean and prothonotary warblers along with red-shouldered hawks. More common birds such as Field Sparrows, Lark Sparrows, and Gray Catbirds can be spotted by bird watchers within this area, too.
Tiffany Bottoms State Natural Area
The Tiffany Bottoms State Natural Area is a part of the Tiffany Bottom floodplain forest, making it an extensive home for many species of birds and wildlife in general. Bird watchers can visit the area and spot rare and uncommon raptors, warblers, Great-Blue Heron, Pileated Woodpeckers, and Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers.
Five-Mile Bluff Prairie State Natural Area
This state natural area located on the Chippewa River in Pepin is another birding destination in Pepin County. The Chippewa River Valley is home to many species of birds due to the unique topography of the area and its variety of habitats. Large numbers of migrating hawks and eagles can be seen, as well as other common species.
Lake Pepin, on the Mississippi River, is a destination on the border of Pepin County that is considered a mecca for bird watching throughout the year. The Lake Pepin area is a National Audubon Society’s Important Birding Area, giving it a formal designation as an excellent place to spot a large variety of birds. Bird watchers can view American Bald Eagles, tundra swans, pelicans, hawks, falcons, warblers, and more. During the warmer months, bird watchers can even head out on local boat excursions into the backwaters of the Mississippi for a unique birding experience.
Pine Creek Preserve
Pine Creek Preserve, located near Maiden Rock, is a great place in Pepin County to see wildlife of all kinds. But the Pine Creek Valley is widely regarded as one of the county’s best birding spots. The creek features an undisturbed wooded valley and cool, clear water, making it a great habitat for many bird species. Bird watchers should consider visiting the Pine Creek Preserve area to check off a variety of species on their scavenger hunt list.
Maiden Rock Bluff
Along with beautiful scenic views of the Mississippi River, Lake Pepin, and Pepin County, at the top of Maiden Rock Bluff bird watchers will also find a variety of raptor species. The rocky limestone bluffs provide hunting perches and habitats for gyrfalcons, golden eagles, bald eagles, and turkey vultures. This location is also along the Mississippi River Flyway, making it an important migration channel for a variety of bird species.