This region of merging ecosystems is the home to a wide variety of bird life. The raptors are well represented by a large nesting population of bald eagles, ospreys and several other hawk species. The great grey owl works the forests and dry ponds as well as several other types of owls. Many different waterfowl are attracted by the abundance of wild rice on Lake of the Woods. Ducks and geese all follow the central flyway right through our area. Many live and raise their young here in the summer and others stop spring and fall for a rest on their travels.
White pelicans, cormorants, loons and several types of gulls and terns start showing up in early May and stay through September. Ruffed grouse and spruce grouse inhabit the forests as well as several species of sparrows, wrens, warblers – also several types of woodpecker, the largest being the pileated woodpecker. All of these birds offer wonderful photo opportunities. The eagles, loons, white pelicans and shore birds being especially cooperative.
The shallow marshes of Lake of the Woods make for great birding by boat, canoe or kayak. Forest trails and beaver ponds, both active and dry, make great habitat not only for a multitude of bird life but also the forest animals.
Moose and whitetail deer are quite common and offer some good photo opportunities. Timber or grey wolves, as well as black bear are also here in good numbers, although are much more wary, as are lynx and bobcat.
Beaver, otter, fisher, mink, muskrat, weasel all inhabit the lake shores and the hundreds of inland ponds created by the beaver and are seen daily. The pine forests are home to red squirrel, flying squirrel, chipmunks, rabbits, mice, pine marten, red fox and brush wolves. Elk have also been reintroduced to this area where they once roamed in good numbers.
The wildlife and portage trails as well as ground stands around beaver pnds offer some great opportunities to view and photograph many types of bird and wildlife. The spring migration (May) is a great time to enjoy bird migration as well as search the forest floor for shed antlers of moose and deer.
Midsummer finds all wildlife raising their young, the shorebirds feasting on baitfish, the merganser and other ducks trying to protect her young not only from the raptors above, but also the large northern pike and muskie from under the water. By September the Bull Moose and Whitetail Buck have regrown their antlers and the moose are starting to rub off velvet. This is the time we use the moose call to bring them into close camera range. The wolves are also starting to re-form packs and are teaching the young to hunt. They are quite active and we do nightly wolf howls at some of our locations and often have them respond in song.