|Lake Osakis – Important Bird Area (IBA)|
"A great day of birding!" would sum up a visit to Lake Osakis in west-central Minnesota. This site is part of the 20,567-acre Lake Osakis Important Bird Area (IBA), which encompasses the lake, its shoreline, and surrounding upland areas to the north and south. Located in Todd and Douglas countie...
Glacial Lakes State Park
|Description: Stand on top of the scenic glacial hills and experience the vast, open prairie that once dominated Minnesota. It is a beautiful park that gives a person quite a sense of what Minnesota hilly prairies must have looked like to the first inhabitants, explorers and settlers. Pack a snack and hike the hill to enjoy a view of the clear and clean 56-acre Mountain Lake, which has its entire watershed inside the park.
Glacial Lakes State Park was established in 1963 to preserve the rolling prairies of the area, the comparatively pristine condition of the land and its rich prairie flora.
Located in western Minnesota this park is in a geological area commonly known as the Leaf Hills. This region, a 10- to 19-mile-wide band of glacial hills unlike any other in the state, extends from Detroit Lakes to Willmar. As glacial ice advanced southward, hills and bluffs were sheared off down to the bedrock. When the ice retreated, it deposited the rocks, gravel and dirt once suspended within it.
The park is located at a crossroads or transition zone between the original prairie land to the west and the central hardwood forests to the east. Only about 1/10 of 1 percent of the original Minnesota prairie remains.
Wildflowers and prairie grasses blanket the landscape from spring through fall. The park preserves a portion of rare native prairie including a wide variety of grasses and forbs such as the big and little bluestem grass, Indian grass, prairie clover, pasque flowers, coneflowers and goldenrods. Common prairie shrubs include wolfberry and rose.
Wildlife to Watch: The fact that more than 200 species of birds have been recorded in the park and, of these, more than 100 are potential breeders, indicates the value of this area to Minnesota birdlife.
Stroll the prairie grasslands for sparrows including grasshopper, field, clay-colored, vesper and LeConte's. Twenty-two species of neotropical warblers have been recorded in the park. In the oak woodlands, look for migrant warblers in the spring and resident warblers into mid-summer. You may find vireos, flycatchers, woodpeckers, owls and wild turkeys too. Check the lake for wood ducks and other waterfowl.
Take the Prairie-Woodland Interpretive Trail or visit marshland areas to see a variety of bird and mammal life. Look for squirrels, raccoons, white-tailed deer and beaver. If you’re in the right spot at the right time, listen and look for the occasional coyotes that frequent the area.
Special Tips: Check at the park office to see what wildflowers might be in bloom during your visit. This is one of the few sites where the prairie slopes can be hiked regardless of the presence of trails. The park has used prescribed burned in recent years to encourage the native prairie vegetation. If you visit in spring you may find a blackened landscape, but within a few days of a burn life sprouts anew.
Land Manager Contact:
Glacial Lake State Park
25022 County Road 41
Starbuck MN 56381
Other Activities: A limited number of snowshoes and canoes are available for rent. Call the park for availability. The new bike trail has been completed. Bring your bike and ride to Starbuck or beyond. Only electric motors are allowed on the lake.
Hunting in the park is prohibited with the exception of deer hunting by special permit only.
Ownership: MN DNR
Size: 2423 acres
Closest Town: Starbuck
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: