MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Big birds on the move

On marshes and rivers, spot cranes, pelicans and swans heading south.

Pelicans rest in Horicon Marsh.

© Jack Bartholmai

Pelicans rest in Wisconsin's Horicon Marsh.

Cranes, swans, pelicans and eagles are riding the winds southward, and this year's unseasonably warm weather makes it especially fun to watch them.

Sandhill cranes still are feeding in and around Crex Meadows in Grantsburg, Wis., and visitors will see thousands flying out just after sunrise and returning before sunset.

In Wisconsin's Horicon Marsh and along the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge between Wabasha, Minn., and Savanna, Ill., white pelicans and waterfowl also are making pit stops on the way south, soon to be joined by tundra swans.

The refuge's annual Swan Watch bus tour out of Winona, Minn., is Nov. 12. In two overlooks, refuge naturalists will help visitors spot birds on weekends through Nov. 20.

Shady Maple Overlook is on Wisconsin 35, one mile south of the entrance to Goose Island County Park south of La Crosse, and the Brownsville Overlook is three miles south of Brownsville off Minnesota 26.

Farther south in Ferryville, Wis., Saturday is Fall Bird Migration Day.

Cold snaps will prompt bald eagles to fly, and the National Eagle Center in Wabasha is offering an Eagle-Viewing Field Trip Nov. 19. After that, nearly 2,000 trumpeter swans will start arriving in Monticello, Minn., to spend the winter.

Last updated on November 12, 2016