|Migizi Trail (Cass Lake-Chippewa National Forest)|
This beautiful trail is named for the bald eagle, “migizi” in Ojibwe language. Dedicated in 2003, the Migizi Trail circles Pike Bay on a paved loop through the big red pines of the original Ten Section of the Chippewa National Forest. Pike Bay is connected to the south end of Cass Lake.
Three Island County Park
|Description: Bordered by Three Island Lake, the park covers 2864 acres of diverse forests of hardwoods and conifers. This is an area of exceptional beauty as trails wind along Three Island Lake and the Turtle River.
The site is known for its excellent ski trail system and day-use picnic/shelter area along the river bank. In winter, the ski trails run adjacent to and across the Turtle River, allowing guests to enjoy the beautiful winter scenery and spot wildlife too. In the summer and fall, mountain bikers, birders, hikers, horseback riders, runners, and hunters use the trails.
Wildlife to Watch: With 273 species of birds recorded in the county, Bemidji's natural beauty provides endless hours of observation and enjoyment. There are 90 confirmed breeding species, along with an additional 66 designated as probable or possible breeding species.
The greater Bemidji area lays claim to the largest nesting population of bald eagles in the continental United States. Watch for these large raptors floating on thermals or perching in tall trees along the shorelines. Listen and look for common loons, another of the signature species of the northland, a sighting of which will give you a unique memory to take home.
Waterbirds and waterfowl are abundant—survey shallow water for great blue herons stalking fish, red-necked grebes sinking silently underwater, ring-billed gulls calling overhead, as well as Canada geese, mallards, wood ducks and common goldeneye swimming with their broods. Be on the alert for chimney swifts, swallows and nighthawks on high. The calls of blue jays, crows and common ravens are often heard. Some of the songbirds you might see or hear include ruby-throated hummingbirds, eastern bluebirds, nuthatches, veery, robins, gray catbirds, cedar waxwings, red-eyed vireos, red-winged blackbirds and western meadowlarks. The months of May through September produce many migrating warblers and sparrows that pass through or spend their summers in this cool climate.
Winter birding is productive too with straggling migrants, resident and sometimes eruptive species of boreal birds (such as great gray owls) to pursue. A recent Christmas Bird Count tallied: American crow, American goldfinch, robin, bald eagle, black-backed woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, blue jay, Bohemian waxwing, Canada goose, cedar waxwing, common goldeneye, common raven, common redpoll, dark-eyed junco, downy woodpecker, evening grosbeak, hairy woodpecker, hoary redpoll, house sparrow, mallard, northern cardinal, northern shrike, pileated woodpecker, pine grosbeak, pine siskin, purple finch, red-bellied woodpecker, red-breasted nuthatch, ring-necked pheasant, rock pigeon, scaup, snow bunting, white-breasted nuthatch, white-throated sparrow and white-winged crossbill.
Wildlife may be spotted around any corner, particularly white-tailed deer or even an occasional black bear. Gray squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, porcupine, skunks and eastern cottontail rabbits are other woodland residents you might readily spot on the trails. In winter it is possible to discover tracks or other signs of a gray wolf on the trail or lake ice.
Special Tips: A “Bird Bemidji” brochure highlighting birding prospects and hotspots is available.
Land Manager Contact:
Three Island Lake County Park
Natural Resource Management Department
701 Minnesota Ave. NW, Suite 234
Bemidji MN 56601
Three Island Park Website
Other Activities: The Mississippi Headwaters Audubon Society web site also has links to and information about birding in the north woods.
Ownership: Beltrami County
Size: 2864 acres
Closest Town: Bemidji
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: