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Full text of "North American fauna"

BOSTON HUtSLIU LIBHAMT 



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BIRDS OF THE 

ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY: 

MINNESOTA AND WISCONSIN 



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NUMBER 73 



UNITED STATES 
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE 



NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 

This publication series includes monographs and other reports of scientific investi- 
gations relating to birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, for professional 
readers. It is a continuation by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the series begun in 
1889 by the Division of Ornithology and Mammalogy (Department of Agriculture) 
and continued by succeeding bureaus— Biological Survey and the Bureau of Sport 
Fisheries and Wildlife. The Service distributes these reports to official agencies, to 
libraries, and to researchers in fields related to the Service's work; additional copies 
may usually be purchased from the Division of Public Documents, U.S. Government 
Printing Office. 

Reports in NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA since 1950 are as follows (all sale stock is 
exhausted): 

60. Raccoons of North and Middle America, by Edward A. Goldman. 1950. 153 pp. 

61. Fauna of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska Peninsula, by Olaus J. Murie; In- 

vertebrates and Fishes Collected in the Aleutians, 1936-38, by Victor B. 
Scheffer. 1959.406 pp. 

62. Birds of Maryland and the District of Columbia, by Robert E. Stewart and 

Chandler S. Robbins. 1958. 401 pp. 

63. The Trumpeter Swan; Its history, habits, and population in the United States, 

by Winston E. Banko. 1960. 214 pp. 

64. Pelage and Surface Topography of the Northern Fur Seal, by Victor B. Scheffer. 

1961.206 pp. 

65. Seven New White-winged Doves from Mexico, Central America, and South- 

western United States, by George B. Saunders. 1968. 30 pp. 

66. Mammals of Maryland, by John L. Paradiso. 1969. 193 pp. 

67. Natural History of the King Rail, by Brooke Meanley. 1969. 108 pp. 

68. The Sea Otter in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, by Karl W. Kenyon. 1970. 352 pp. 

69. Natural History of the Swainson's Warbler. 1971. 90 pp. 

70. The Distribution and Occurrence of the Birds of Jackson County, Oregon, and 

Surrounding Areas, by M. Ralph Browning. 1975. 69 pp. 

71. The Screech Owl: Its Life History and Population Ecology in Northern Ohio, 

by L. F. VanCamp and C. J. Henny. 1975. 65 pp. 

72. The California Condor, 1966-76: A Look at its Past and Future, by S. F. Wilbur. 

1978. 136 pp. 



Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 

Faanes, Craig A. 
Birds of the St. Croix River Valley, Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

(North American fauna ; no. 73) 
Includes bibliographical references and index. 
Supt. of Docs, no.: I 49.30:73 

1. Birds-Saint Croix Valley (Wis. and Minn.). I. Title. II. Series. 
QL155.A4 no. 73 [QL683.S23] 596.097s 81-607022 

[598.29775'1] AACR2 

NOTE: Use of trade names does not imply U.S. Government endorsement of com- 
mercial products. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY: 
MINNESOTA AND WISCONSIN 

by 
Craig A. Faanes 



U.8. 

KISH * Wll l>l IH> 

SERVICE 




UNITED STATES 
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE 
North American Fauna, Number 73 



Washington, D.C. • 1981 



Contents 

Page 

Abstract 1 

Climate 3 

Geology 3 

Physiography and Land Use 4 

Habitats and Bird Distribution 8 

Species Accounts 24 

Acknowledgments 180 

References 181 

Appendix A— Common and Scientific Names of Plants Mentioned 

in Text 186 

Bird Species Index 1 90 



Dedicated to 

Samuel D. Robbins, Jr. 

Ornithologist and Friend 






Birds of the St. Croix River Valley: 
Minnesota and Wisconsin 



by 

Craig A. Faanes 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center 

Jamestown, North Dakota 58401 

Abstract 

The St. Croix River Valley encompasses nearly 11,550 km 2 in east-central Minne- 
sota and northwestern Wisconsin. A wide range of habitats are available for birds 
including upland oak, lowland deciduous, maple-basswood, lowland and upland conif- 
erous forests, natural basin wetlands, and grasslands. Situated in the north-central 
region of the United States, the valley is a biological "crossroads" for many species. 
Because of the mixed affinities of plant communities, the valley includes the northern 
and southern range limits for a number of species. Also, because the valley lies near 
the forest-prairie transition zone, many typical western breeding species (e.g. pintail, 
western meadowlark, yellow-headed blackbird) breed in proximity to typical eastern 
species such as tufted titmouse, eastern meadowlark, and cardinal. 

From 1966 to 1980, I conducted extensive surveys of avian distribution and abun- 
dance in the St. Croix River Valley. I have supplemented the results of these surveys 
with published and unpublished observations contributed by many ornithologists. 
These additional data include compilations from Christmas Bird Counts sponsored by 
the National Audubon Society and from the Breeding Bird Survey coordinated by the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Three hundred fourteen species have been recorded in 
the study area; data are presented on the migration period, nesting season distri- 
bution, winter distribution, relative abundance, and habitat use of each species. 

Recognizing the uniqueness of the area, and its importance not only to wildlife but 
also to man, the U.S. Congress designated the St. Croix a National Scenic Riverway. 
This action provided a considerable degree of protection to lands along and directly 
adjacent to the river. Unfortunately, no similar legal measure exists to protect lands 
away from the river. With the exception of the northern quarter of the St. Croix River 
Valley, agricultural interests have made significant inroads into the habitat base. The 
continuing expansion of the nearby Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan region has 
degraded or destroyed many woodlots, upland fields, and wetlands. In numerous 
instances, degradation of natural habitats has influenced the abundance and distribu- 
tion of bird species. Because of these changes, both the Federal government and State 
Departments of Natural Resources have listed several species in various categories 
based on their current status. In the St. Croix River Valley, seven species are endan- 
gered, eight are threatened, and 29 are watch or priority status in either or both states. 
Data presented in this report are of value to land managers, land use specialists, and 
ornithologists, in assessing current and projected habitat alterations on the avifauna 
of this valley. 



2 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

The St. Croix River bisects a large region of western Wisconsin and east 
central Minnesota that exhibits a wide range of habitat types. This region 
supports not only birds, but many mammals, fishes, reptiles and am- 
phibians, and several thousand species of vascular and nonvascular plants. 
The river itself is relatively clean through most of its course, and its natural 
flow is interrupted by only two small dams. 

Because the river lies within a 1-day drive of nearly 10 million people 
(Waters 1977), use of the area for recreational purposes is extremely heavy. 
Recreational pursuits include sunbathing, boating, and wild river kayaking 
in the summer, and ice fishing and cross-country skiing in the winter. The 
large number of unique and highly fragile habitats that exist there may 
never be compatible with the uses and abuses of the land that go with ex- 
panding human populations. 

Through the efforts of a number of citizens concerned with the quality of 
their environment and the foresightedness of several local, State, and Fed- 
eral legislators, a portion of the upper St. Croix River Valley (hereafter 
termed "the Valley") was established as a National Wild and Scenic River. 
Through establishment of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (P.L. 
90:542), the ground rules were established to preserve free-flowing streams 
that have "outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and 
wildlife, historic, cultural, and other similar values." Any person who has 
spent time along a stretch of the St. Croix would have to agree that this 
river meets or exceeds all the criteria that the Act established. 

The history of this magnificent valley is cloaked with the adventures of 
lumber barons, trappers and hunters, commercial fishermen, and many 
others. During the days of the early voyageurs, the river served as a vital 
link between the Great Lakes and the growing Minneapolis- St. Paul area. 
Excellent descriptions of the colorful history of the Valley are provided by 
Link (1977) and Waters (1977). 

Although the Scenic River Act provides considerable protection for the 
lands and resources directly adjacent to the river, there is no comparable 
legal measure to protect lands not bordering the river. Several man-influ- 
enced impacts are escalating in the Valley and provide a continual threat to 
remaining resources. Two influences providing the greatest threat to the 
natural resources of the Valley are urban expansion and agricultural produc- 
tion. First, the continual, almost unabated spread of urban development has 
already had a profound impact on existing habitats. Second, agriculture has 
had a growing impact on bird life in the Valley. Lands producing row crops, 
small grains, and hay in St. Croix County in 1967 totaled 75,910 ha. This 
acreage increased 17.4% to 88,057 ha by 1977 (U.S. Department of Agricul- 
ture, personal communication). The total hectarage of lands in agricultural 
production (row crops and hay) made up 16 and 18.8% of the Valley in 1967 
and 1977, respectively. These examples suggest the magnitude of the impact 
that agriculture has had upon wildlife resources in the past two decades. 

It can be argued that the agricultural hectarages cited above represent 
changes in cropping practices rather than actual increases in the hectarage 
of wildlife habitat converted to agricultural production. However, increased 
technology and the growth of agribusiness have resulted in a shift to fence- 
row to fencerow farming with serious impacts on many upland habitats. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 3 

Wetland habitats have also been significantly reduced. Peterson (1978) 
showed that over 27% of the seasonal wetlands (Type III of Shaw and 
Fredine 1956) in St. Croix County were drained between 1958 and 1977. 

The objective of this report is to provide, in condensed form, an account of 
the 314 bird species that have been recorded in the Valley. 

Climate 

The Valley has a temperate, continental climate that is characterized by 
extreme seasonal variability. Mean monthly air temperatures are -12 to 
-9°C in January and 20 to 22 °C in July. The average growing season ranges 
from 100 days in the north (Burnett and Pine counties) to over 120 days in 
the south (St. Croix and Washington counties). The ground is frozen usually 
from late November through mid- April and frost depths range from 66 to 
86 cm. 

Mean annual precipitation is 74.4 cm (Young and Hindall 1973). The range 
in yearly precipitation is about 71.1 cm at St. Croix Beach, Washington 
County, to nearly 78.7 cm at Grantsburg, Burnett County (Lindholm et al. 
1974). Periods of prolonged drought are highly infrequent. February is 
usually the driest month (< 2.5 cm) and June the wettest (12.2 cm). Annual 
evapotranspiration from the St. Croix watershed is 59.4 cm (Lindholm et al. 
1974). During July and August, when temperatures are highest and plant 
moisture demands are greatest, evapotranspiration often exceeds precipita- 
tion. 

Geology 

Interpretations of the interrelation of birds and other wildlife with their 
environment require an understanding of the geology and soils of an area. 
The St. Croix River Valley is an area rich in geologic history. Sediments and 
rock formations throughout the Valley range in geologic age from the 1 -bil- 
lion-year-old Precambrian lava flows at Interstate Park to very recent sedi- 
ment deposition at the mouth of the Kinnickinnic River. 

Bedrock in the upper portion of the Valley consists primarily of Pre- 
cambrian igneous lava flows, shales, sandstones, and igneous and meta- 
morphic crystalline formations. Bedrock of the lower portions of the Valley 
consists of marine sandstones, shales, and limestones that were deposited 
during the Cambrian and Ordovician periods. Outcroppings southward 
through the Valley indicate that bedrock formations are progressively 
younger. 

Glacial deposits consist mainly of undifferentiated till that was deposited 
as the last glacier melted about 10,000 years ago. This glacial action was 
very important in forming the current features of the landscape. Especially 
important and characteristic among these glacial deposits are the extensive 
sandy soils associated with the bed of Glacial Lake Grantsburg in Burnett 
and Pine counties, and the numerous prairie pothole-type wetlands that 
occur in Polk, St. Croix, and Washington counties. 

One important result of past glacial activity in the St. Croix River Valley 
is the highly productive soils that formed on the glacial outwash. Through 



4 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

the combined action of climate, vegetation, and proper acidity of these gla- 
cial <lepesits, soils developed that are very important for agricultural pro- 
duction. Productivity of all soils in the Valley is, of course, not equal. Soil 
conditions range from the sandy, acidic beach-derived soils associated with 
Glacial Lake Grantsburg, to the deep, rich loams and silt loam prairie soils 
of the lower Valley. Productivity of these soils for wildlife appears to corre- 
late nicely. For example, the acidic soils of Glacial Lake Grantsburg are 
usually associated with relatively sterile Jack Pine Barren forest which sup- 
ports limited wildlife populations. On the other extreme, the deep, rich 
prairie soils of the southern regions produce exceptional agricultural crops 
and also support large and highly diverse wildlife populations. 



Physiography and Land Use 

The diverse physiographic and topographic features of the Valley result 
from at least four different glacial epochs that extended from 1 million to 
10,000 years ago. The St. Croix River itself is an important component of 
past and present physiographic changes. The gradient of the river averages 
102 cm per km across its entire course, ranging from nearly zero on Lake St. 
Croix to 4.3 m per km at the Kettle River Rapids, Pine County (Young and 
Hindall 1973). Altitude of the land surface ranges from about 207 m above 
sea level at Prescott to about 518 m near Cable at the upper end of the 
Namekagon River. The interior of the Valley has a general slope ranging 
from 427 m in the north to about 305 m in the south. 

During the last glacial period the St. Croix served as a major drainage for 
glacial melt waters. Martin (1932) reported that the post-glacial course of 
the river contained the Apple River Valley in western Wisconsin. In pregla- 
cial times, the major course of the river was farther west in Minnesota. In 
addition to carrying melt waters from the glacier, the St. Croix carried over- 
flow waters from large glacial lakes that occurred in the Lake Superior 
basin. One outlet was the valley at Solon Springs which is now occupied by 
St. Croix Lake, the headwaters of the river (Young and Hindall 1973). 

Topography of the Valley includes flat-topped, steep-sided sedimentary 
hills adjacent to the river, and narrow stream valleys in the extreme lower 
reaches. The remainder of the Valley is composed primarily of broad, flat 
glacial outwash plains and kettle and knob topography associated with ter- 
minal and end moraines. 

Lakes and marshes are abundant in the northern half of the Valley where 
surface drainage systems are poorly developed. One unique drainage system 
in southern Pine County is separated from all other watersheds in the region 
by a zone of elevated igneous bedrock. Marshes and streams in this region 
are characterized by low alkalinity and a deep brownish stained color 
(Waters 1977). In the southern reaches of the Valley, alkalinity and vegeta- 
tion of lakes and marshes become progressively greater owing primarily to 
limestone and sandstone bedrock. 

The entire St. Croix watershed encompasses about 11,550 km 2 (1.7 mil- 
lion ha). The river drains about 7,233 km 2 in Wisconsin and 4,317 km 2 in 
Minnesota (Lindholm et al. 1974). Included in the watershed are all or part of 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 



46 




Fig. 1. The St. Croix River watershed, including Minnesota and Wisconsin, encom- 
passes nearly 1 1,550 km 2 . 



18 counties, 9 in each State (Fig. 1). There are eight major streams or water- 
sheds that are tributary to the St. Croix, including the Snake and Kettle 
rivers, and Pine County streams in Minnesota (Waters 1977), and the Name- 
kagon, Clam, Apple, Willow, and Kinnickinnic rivers in Wisconsin. 

Related to the tremendous amount of diversity and variability in the 
topography and geology of the St. Croix River Valley, various geographers 
and plant ecologists have developed systems for classifying landforms and 
major vegetative communities (Fig. 2). These systems have provided divi- 
sions that are important in understanding the interrelation of bird distribu- 
tion with vegetation and geomorphic features. Two separate systems have 
been developed, one for each State. Both systems have considerable merit 
considering the foundation upon which they were based. Unfortunately, 
these separate systems make interpretation of bird distribution awkward 
when considering the two States. Following is a brief overview of these 



NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



NORTHERN HIGHLAND 




Fig. 2. Major physiographic regions of the St. Croix River Valley. 



major divisions by State and the reasons for the combining of systems that I 
had to consider for interpretation. 

The most usable division system for Minnesota was developed by Kratz 
and Jensen (1977). They developed a system based on both major vegeta- 
tional and geomorphic provinces and included 17 distinct Ecological-Geo- 
morphic divisions. Four of these divisions are included in the Minnesota 
counties. A brief description of each follows. 

Southern Oak Barrens Section.— This section includes a large region of 
southeastern Minnesota generally referred to as the Driftless Area, which 
was not covered by ice during glacial periods. In the Valley, about 80% of 
Washington County is included in this section. Topography is characterized 
by highly dissected limestone and sandstone hills adjacent to the St. Croix 
River. Away from the river, large expanses of glacial outwash and kettle and 
knob topography predominate. Vegetation consists of a transition between 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY ' 

prairie and deciduous forests. Originally, oak barrens and savannah oc- 
curred throughout this area. 

Mississippi River Sand Plains Section.— This section includes a small por- 
tion of northwestern Washington and southwestern Chisago counties where 
topography is characteristic of glacial outwash plains— including broad, flat 
areas with occasional wetland basins interspersed. Original vegetation of 
the sand outwash soils was primarily oak forest with scattered prairie open- 
ings and wet prairie in depressions. 

Grantsburg Section.— This section includes most of Chisago County and a 
small part of southern Pine County. Topography is characterized by flat to 
gently rolling glacial sediments that are frequently dissected by streams. 
The Grantsburg section includes the bed of Glacial Lake Grantsburg, which 
extended eastward into Burnett County, Wisconsin. Vegetation originally 
included Jack Pine Barrens and scattered oak openings. Currently, much of 
the land is in agricultural production. 

Mille Lacs Section.— This section includes most of southern and all of 
northern Pine County. Topography is characterized by glacial scoured bed- 
rock and glacial till that provide a kettle and knob topography. Forest-bor- 
dered lakes are numerous throughout this section. Vegetation is charac- 
terized by mixed northern hardwood and coniferous stands with conifer 
bogs interspersed throughout. 

The classification system used in Wisconsin (Martin 1932) is based pri- 
marily on physiographic features and bedrock geology, regardless of vegeta- 
tion. However, the influence of physiography on vegetation is well demon- 
strated in Wisconsin because the regions that occur in the Valley each sup- 
port entirely different vegetative communities. Martin considered five dis- 
tinct physiographic provinces in Wisconsin and the Valley is included in 
three. 

Western Upland. —This region in the Valley is the northern extension of 
the Driftless Area, a part of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois that was not 
covered by glacial ice. Included in the Western Upland are the highly dis- 
sected stream valleys adjacent to the St. Croix River and the broad and 
gently rolling glacial outwash plain of central St. Croix County. Original 
vegetation included Southern Oak Forest in the dissected area and Tall 
Grass Prairie associated with the outwash plain. At present, much of the 
Western Upland is in agricultural production. Portions of central St. Croix, 
southern Polk, and central Washington counties are dotted with numerous 
natural basin wetlands. 

Central Plain.— This region includes northern St. Croix, southern Burnett, 
and most of Polk counties. Topography of the Central Plain is also charac- 
terized by broad glacial outwash plains lying over Cambrian sandstone in 
the southern regions. Extensive areas of kettle and knob topography asso- 
ciated with end moraines occur in the north. Numerous lakes and bogs are 
associated with this topography. Vegetation consists of a mixture of south- 
ern oak forest, prairie and northern mixed hardwood, and coniferous forest. 

Northern Highland.— This region, which includes northern Burnett and 
southern Douglas counties, has topography characteristic of morainal 



8 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

deposits and includes numerous high, rounded hills composed of more 
resistant bedrock. Geology of this region is primarily highly resistant Pre- 
cambrian igneous rock, quite unlike southern regions of the Valley. Original 
vegetation of the Northern Highland was composed almost exclusively of 
pine forest and coniferous bogs. Presently, the pine forest exists only as 
scattered remnants interspersed throughout extensive mixed second growth 
deciduous and coniferous forest. Large lakes and extensive bogs are charac- 
teristic of the Northern Highland. 

This brief discussion of the major physiographic regions of the St. Croix 
River Valley points out both similarities and differences between the sys- 
tems developed for each State. For the sake of convenience and clarity in 
describing bird occurrence and distribution, I have combined both systems. 
Thus, throughout this report reference to the Western Upland will include 
the Wisconsin areas outlined in Martin (1932) and the Southern Oak Barrens 
region of Minnesota described by Kratz and Jensen (1977). The Central Plain 
will include the Wisconsin areas outlined and those areas of Chisago and 
Washington counties included in the Mississippi River Sand Plains and the 
Grantsburg Section. Reference to the Northern Highland will include the 
Wisconsin areas and the Mille Lacs Section in Pine County. These agree 
closely with the physiographic regions used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service's Breeding Bird Survey (BBS; Bystrak 1979). 



Habitats and Bird Distribution 

Within the Valley, a wide range of vegetational communities are available 
to birds: deciduous and coniferous forest, wetlands, agricultural lands, and 
urban-residential areas. Original vegetation of the Valley as described by 
Curtis (1959) and Marschner (1930) included Tall Grass Prairie and Oak 
Savannah in the Western Upland, Southern Hardwood Forest (primarily 
oak) and Tall Grass Prairie in the Central Plain, and mixed Coniferous- De- 
ciduous Forest association in the Northern Highland (Fig. 3). Much of the 
bed of Glacial Lake Grantsburg was composed of relatively sterile jack pine 
and oak forest. (Scientific names of plants are given in Appendix A.) 

Man's presence has had a profound impact on the composition, distribu- 
tion, and extent of these major communities. The Tall Grass Prairie which 
may have lapped at the shoulders of early settlers is now field and pastures. 
The prairie is now confined to railroad rights-of-way and small odd corners 
that would not accommodate a plow. The majestic white pine forest that 
once blanketed most of the northern regions has been reduced to scattered 
remnants. 

Habitat changes that adversely affect some bird species often encourage 
expansion of other species. The clearing of forests of northern white pine has 
allowed a second growth deciduous disclimax habitat type to develop. Land 
clearing for agriculture was very important to the advance of the greater 
prairie chicken (scientific names of birds are given in the species accounts) in 
this region. Early accounts make vivid reference to the large number of 
greater prairie chickens that occurred after moderate agricultural expan- 
sion. However, the rapacious clearing that accompanied intensified agricul- 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 




Fig. 3. Major vegetative communities of the St. Croix River Valley, adapted from 
Curtis (1959) and Marschner (1930). 



tural production also caused the demise of the greater prairie chicken as a 
natural breeding bird. 

An important environmental characteristic that affects bird occurrence 
and distribution is described by Curtis (1959) as the "Tension Zone." Based 
on a combination of environmental factors including soil type, annual pre- 
cipitation, temperature, and geology, this zone of vegetational range ex- 
tremes has a profound effect on the distribution of many bird species in the 
Valley. Essentially, this zone is the north-south limit area for many boreal 
forest and oak forest forbs, shrubs and trees. This contact zone was 
shown by Beimborn (1969) as important to the distribution of at least 14 
bird species in Wisconsin. Robbins (19746) demonstrated the influence of the 
Tension Zone on the breeding range limits of the alder and willow fly- 
catchers. 

Nineteen distinct habitat categories have been identified. Each is pre- 
sented here in terms of size, distribution, floral characteristics, and charac- 
teristic breeding birds. Breeding bird species that apparently reach their 
greatest density in a specific habitat are marked with an asterisk. Habitat 
use by migrants will be considered individually with each species account. 



10 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



Deciduous Forest Communities 

Northern Hardwood Forest 

This floristic community extends throughout the Northern Highland and 
much of the Central Plain north of St. Croix Falls (Polk and Chisago coun- 
ties). Characterized by a mixture of coniferous and deciduous tree types, the 
Northern Hardwood Forest occurs on a wide range of topographic sites and 
on many soil types. Mesic sites support white birch, sugar maple, hemlock, 
basswood, and red oak. Important coniferous species of this habitat are red 
pine, white pine, and to a limited extent jack pine. Depending on the extent 
of early successional stages this is generally a climax or near-climax com- 
munity. 

Prevalent within the shrub layer and among ground layer species are 
beaked hazel, bracken fern, wood anemone, wild sarsaparilla, big-leaf aster, 
blue bead lily, northern bedstraw, ground pine, Canada mayflower, bishop's 
cap, Solomon's seal, twisted stalk, starflower, downy yellow violet, rice 
grass, and Pennsylvania sedge. 

Characteristic breeding birds include broad-winged Hawk*, ruffed 
grouse*, great horned owl, barred owl, black-billed cuckoo*, common flicker, 
yellow-bellied sapsucker*, hairy woodpecker*, downy woodpecker, great 
crested flycatcher, least flycatcher*, eastern wood pewee*, blue jay, north- 
ern raven, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, American 
robin, wood thrush, veery*, solitary vireo, red-eyed vireo*, black-and-white 
warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, ovenbird*, American redstart, northern 
oriole, scarlet tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak*, and white-throated 
sparrow. 

Lowland Deciduous Forest 

This rich deciduous community occurs primarily along the floodplains of 
larger streams and rivers adjacent to the St. Croix in the Western Upland 
and Central Plain. The abundant soil moisture from river flooding and high 
water table is a principal microclimatic feature of this community. Because 
of its southern plant affinity, Lowland Deciduous Forest attracts some typi- 
cally southern breeding bird species that occur in no other habitat type. 
Major tree species characteristic of this community are silver maple, Ameri- 
can elm, green ash, red oak, basswood, and cottonwood. 

Prevalent species in the shrub layer are black willow, box-elder, and gray 
dogwood. Depending on the amount of disturbance by grazing cattle, tar- 
tarian honeysuckle and prickly ash approach dominance in the shrub layer. 
Important among ground layer species are jack-in-the-pulpit, toothwort, 
Virginia waterleaf, wood nettle, poison ivy, germander, hedge nettle, jewel- 
weed, and skunk cabbage. 

Characteristic breeding bird species of the Lowland Deciduous Forest 
include great blue heron*, wood duck*, red-shouldered hawk*, yellow-billed 
cuckoo, screech owl*, barred owl*, pileated woodpecker*, red-bellied wood- 
pecker*, downy woodpecker, eastern wood pewee, tufted titmouse*, white- 
breasted nuthatch*, blue-gray gnatcatcher*, yellow-throated vireo*, warb- 
ling vireo*, blue-winged warbler*, yellow warbler, cerulean warbler*, 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 11 

Louisiana waterthrush*, northern oriole*, scarlet tanager*, and rose- 
breasted grosbeak. 

Southern Deciduous Forest 

This habitat type includes a closed-canopy upland community that is gen- 
erally restricted to the region south of the Tension Zone in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain. Southern Deciduous Forest occurs almost exclu- 
sively on dry, well-drained upland sites. Before settlement of this region, 
Southern Deciduous Forest existed as part of an oak forest intermixed with 
prairie giving the area aspects of a savannah. Currently, stands of Southern 
Deciduous Forest are primarily restricted to bluff tops and edges adjacent 
to the St. Croix River and in scattered farm woodlots, which are usually 
heavily grazed. 

Important component trees in this community include red oak, white oak, 
Hill's oak, and bur oak. In more mesic sites, large-toothed aspen, sugar 
maple, basswood, and white ash become important. Shrubs indicative of this 
community include black cherry, common elder, gray dogwood, and hazel- 
nut. Prevalent ground layer vegetation includes dogbane, wild sarsaparilla, 
rattlesnake fern, tick trefoil, Virginia strawberry, northern bedstraw, wild 
cranesbill, Jacob's ladder, sweet cicely, wild lettuce, false Solomon's seal, 
Solomon's seal, wild leek, blue cohosh, goosegrass, bloodroot, large-flowered 
trillium, and Pennsylvania sedge. 

Very few breeding bird species are restricted to or reach their greatest 
density in the Southern Deciduous Forest in the Valley. Principal breeding 
species include Cooper's hawk, red-tailed hawk, ruffed grouse, great horned 
owl, whip-poor-will, common flicker, red-headed woodpecker*, hairy wood- 
pecker, great crested flycatcher, eastern wood pewee, blue jay, common 
crow, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, house wren, brown 
thrasher*, American robin, yellow-throated vireo, ovenbird, American red- 
start, scarlet tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak, indigo bunting, rufous-sided 
towhee, vesper sparrow (in openings), and field sparrow (in openings). 

Deciduous Clear Cuts 

A major principle of wildlife management is the provision of a multitude of 
habitats in various successional stages. Suppression of wildfires and the tre- 
mendous reduction of logging that occurred after settlement of the Valley 
were responsible for allowing many upland sites to return to near climax 
conditions. Northern Hardwood Forest, dominated primarily by sugar 
maple and basswood, rapidly becomes prevalent in northern forests that are 
not managed. Although the mature hardwood forest is a primary habitat for 
several breeding birds, the lack of early successional stages creates a situa- 
tion that is relatively unattractive to a number of other species. 

Within the last 15 years, foresters and wildlife managers have taken steps 
to retard succession in several upland forest types. These management prac- 
tices have been highly successful in providing a variety of successional stage 
forests and several age classes. Providing a variety of age classes has pro- 
duced significant beneficial effects for many woodland breeding birds. The 
primary methods used to accomplish these practices are clear-cutting and 
selective cutting. 



12 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

In general, these practices have been accomplished on upland sites in the 
northern areas of the Central Plain and throughout the Northern Highland. 
Trembling aspen is the primary tree species associated with Deciduous Clear 
Cuts. Additional tree and shrub species that are important components of 
clear cuts include ironwood, hazelnut, sugar maple, and basswood. Impor- 
tant ground layer species include black raspberry, big-leaf aster, rice grass, 
bottle-brush grass, Pennsylvania sedge, northern bedstraw, bracken fern, 
and wood anemone. In wet-mesic sites bunchberry and large-flowered tril- 
lium are also important. 

Deciduous Clear Cuts and associated edge habitat probably support the 
greatest diversity of breeding birds among the habitats in the Valley. Princi- 
pal breeding species include ruffed grouse, ruby-throated hummingbird, 
eastern kingbird, alder flycatcher*, house wren, gray catbird*, brown 
thrasher, eastern bluebird, golden-winged warbler*, Nashville warbler, yel- 
low warbler, chestnut-sided warbler*, mourning warbler*, common yellow- 
throat*, Canada warbler*, brown-headed cowbird, rose-breasted grosbeak, 
indigo bunting*, American goldfinch, white-throated sparrow*, and song 
sparrow. 

Coniferous Communities 

Upland Coniferous Forest 

Before settlement of the Valley most of the Central Plain and Northern 
Highland was covered with Upland Coniferous Forest. Logging activities 
during the late 1800's and early 1900's altered much of this habitat; very few 
stands of pure Upland Coniferous Forest still exist. Probably the best repre- 
sentative stands occur in and near St. Croix State Park in Pine County and 
Lucius Woods State Park in Douglas County. In most instances this habitat 
occurs as small relicts intermixed with several Upland Deciduous Forest 
species. This habitat type is included because of its past dominance and 
existing relict stands. 

Principal tree species associated with Upland Coniferous Forest are white 
pine and red pine. Important invaders include white birch, trembling aspen, 
red maple, sugar maple, black cherry, hazelnut, and ironwood. Prevalent 
ground layer vegetation includes wood anemone, wild sarsaparilla, big-leaf 
aster, Pennsylvania sedge, blue bead lily, bunchberry, wintergreen, ground 
pine, Canada mayflower, partridge berry, starflower, Indian pipe, and dwarf 
ginseng. 

Important breeding bird species of the Upland Coniferous Forest include 
sharp-shinned hawk, pileated woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, eastern wood 
pewee, blue jay, common raven, black-capped chickadee, red-breasted nut- 
hatch, hermit thrush, black-and-white warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, pine 
warbler*, Blackburnian warbler*, ovenbird, purple finch, pine siskin, dark- 
eyed junco, and chipping sparrow. 

Lowland Coniferous Forest 

This habitat type occurs in numerous locations north of the Tension Zone. 
The frequency of the Lowland Coniferous Forest is high but is limited in 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 13 

extent, occurring primarily in three distinct topographic settings: river 
floodplains, ancient lake beds, and kettles associated with kettle and knob 
topography in morainal areas. Soils of this habitat are usually acidic and are 
composed of wet, decaying vegetation that in many instances gives the 
ground a spongy texture. This habitat type is similar in several respects to 
the original Boreal Forest. Because most of that habitat type has been 
destroyed or greatly altered, vegetative characteristics and breeding bird 
use of the two have been combined. 

Principal tree species of the Lowland Coniferous Forest include white 
spruce, white cedar, balsam fir, yellow birch, black ash, and green ash. 
Tamarack, American elm, and occasionally red maple, are also important 
components of this habitat. Shrub layers are usually poorly developed in 
Lowland Coniferous Forest; green ash and mountain holly are usually the 
prevalent shrub species. Important species of the ground layer include blue 
bead lily, bunchberry, creeping snowberry, wintergreen, Labrador tea, 
Canada mayflower, false Solomon's seal, starflower, blueberry, wild cran- 
berry, round-leaf sundew, downy yellow violet, and sphagnum moss. 

Principal breeding birds of this community include pileated woodpecker, 
yellow-bellied flycatcher, olive-sided flycatcher*, black-capped chickadee, 
red-breasted nuthatch*, winter wren*, hermit thrush, veery, solitary vireo, 
black-and-white warbler*, Nashville warbler, northern parula*, magnolia 
warbler*, yellow-rumped warbler*, ovenbird, northern waterthrush, com- 
mon yellowthroat, brown-headed cowbird, purple finch*, pine siskin, chip- 
ping sparrow, white-throated sparrow, and song sparrow. 

Black Spruce-Tamarack Bog 

Although not as extensive in distribution as other coniferous or deciduous 
habitats, bogs are important to a large variety of breeding birds. This com- 
munity exists primarily north of the Tension Zone and becomes frequent in 
the Northern Highland. Scattered relict bogs also occur in northern St. 
Croix and Washington counties. Bogs are formed in ancient lake basins or in 
outwash associated with morainal deposits. Bog soils are poorly developed 
and are usually highly acidic, owing in part to anaerobic decomposition of 
vegetation and temperature. 

Black spruce and tamarack are the two most important tree species in this 
community. Mountain holly and bog birch are the main shrub layer species. 
Ground-layer vegetation in these bogs is perhaps the characteristic that 
separates this community from all others. Usually, the most important 
family is Ericaceae (e.g., leatherleaf, Labrador tea). Herbaceous vegetation 
in bogs usually contains several carnivorous plants including pitcher plant 
and round-leaf sundew. Prevalent vegetation includes Labrador tea, leather- 
leaf, bog rosemary, bog laurel, wild cranberry, buckbean, sphagnum moss, 
cottongrass, awned sedge, brown sedge, and bluejoint grass. 

Principal breeding bird species include olive-sided flycatcher, black- 
capped chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, winter wren, veery, black-and- 
white warbler, Nashville warbler*, yellow warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, 
common yellowthroat, red-winged blackbird, brown-headed cowbird, purple 
finch, pine siskin, American goldfinch, chipping sparrow, white-throated 
sparrow, swamp sparrow, and song sparrow. 



14 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Jack Pine Barrens 

This community exists throughout the northern portions of the Central 
Plain and Northern Highland. Extensive stands of Jack Pine Barrens occur 
on sandy soils associated with the bed of Glacial Lake Grantsburg in Bur- 
nett, Pine, and Polk counties. Curtis (1959) considered fire to be an impor- 
tant agent in the origin of Jack Pine Barrens. Soils are primarily sandy and 
stabilized by various grasses. 

Principal tree species of Jack Pine Barrens include jack pine, red pine, 
Hill's oak, bur oak, large-toothed aspen, and trembling aspen. Sweet fern, 
New Jersey tea, and blueberry are the most important shrubs of this com- 
munity. In many areas, blueberry becomes dominant over other shrubs and 
among the ground layer. Important ground-layer vegetation includes 
Canada bluegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, pearly everlasting, yarrow, bracken 
fern, dogbane, big-leaf aster, flowering spurge, whorled loosestrife, winter- 
green, and bearberry. 

Important breeding birds associated with Jack Pine Barrens are mourning 
dove, common flicker, blue jay, house wren, American robin, hermit thrush, 
yellow-rumped warbler, Nashville warbler, ovenbird, northern oriole, brown- 
headed cowbird, indigo bunting, rufous-sided towhee, chipping sparrow*, 
clay-colored sparrow, and field sparrow. Recent surveys indicate that the 
Connecticut warbler is a fairly common breeding species in localized areas of 
Jack Pine Barrens in northwestern and western Burnett County. 

Pine Plantations 

This artificial community has become an important avian habitat pri- 
marily in St. Croix and Washington counties. Large hectarages of cropland, 
hillsides, and Old Field Communities have been converted to Pine Planta- 
tions. The establishment of this community has accomplished three pur- 
poses: soil stabilization, ornamental plantings, and commercial Christmas 
tree production. 

Pine Plantations are primarily monotypic stands of red pine and scotch 
pine. Occasional stands also include white pine. Size of these plantations 
usually range from 2 to 20 ha. During the early stages of establishment, 
ground-layer vegetation retains the character of the original habitat and can 
consist of Kentucky bluegrass, quackgrass, ragweed, bindweed, Virginia 
strawberry, and flowering spurge. Continued tree growth, low light, and 
increased soil acidity results in an almost complete lack of ground-layer 
vegetation development. 

Principal breeding bird species include mourning dove*, blue jay, common 
crow, house wren, brown thrasher, American robin*, common grackle*, 
brown-headed cowbird, and chipping sparrow*. 

Wetland Communities 

Prairie Wetlands 

Much of central St. Croix, southern Polk, north central Washington, and 
south central Chisago counties are dotted with small semipermanent and 
permanent wetlands. These wetlands occur on glacial outwash associated 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 15 

with the Wisconsin glacial epoch, which ended about 10,000 years ago. 
Upland soils associated with these wetlands are highly fertile loams and silt 
loams which are very important for agricultural production. Related to this, 
large hectarages of Prairie Wetlands have been drained or seriously altered 
to facilitate expanding agricultural production. 

Principal emergent and submerged aquatic vegetation associated with 
these freshwater, low-acidity wetlands include hardstem bulrush, softstem 
bulrush, river bulrush, cattail, cane reed, spikerush, burreed, coontail, and 
water milfoil. Other important species dependent on water permanence and 
the degree of acidity include arrowhead, water plantain, and reed canary 
grass. 

Characteristic breeding birds associated with Prairie Wetlands include 
pied-billed grebe*, American bittern*, Canada goose*, mallard*, gadwall*, 
pintail*, green-winged teal*, blue-winged teal*, ruddy duck*, Virginia rail*, 
sora*, American coot*, black tern*, tree swallow*, long-billed marsh wren*, 
yellow warbler, common yellowthroat, yellow-headed blackbird*, red-winged 
blackbird*, swamp sparrow, and song sparrow. 

Forest Bordered Wetlands 

Although similar to Prairie Wetlands in geologic origin, Forest Bordered 
Wetlands are different in flora and fauna. This community is widespread 
throughout the area north of the Tension Zone. Forest Bordered Wetlands 
are usually similar in size, but much deeper than Prairie Wetlands, and the 
interspersion of emergent and submerged aquatic vegetation is less pro- 
nounced. Acidity of the water in Forest Bordered Wetlands is generally 
greater than in Prairie Wetlands. Principal emergent and submerged 
aquatic vegetation associated with this community includes cattail, wild 
rice, iris, pickerelweed, arrowhead, water plantain, bladderwort, elodea, 
coontail, water milfoil, white waterlily, and yellow waterlily. 

Characteristic breeding birds associated with these wetlands include com- 
mon loon*, green heron, mallard, black duck*, wood duck, ring-necked 
duck*, hooded merganser, Virginia rail, belted kingfisher, tree swallow, 
long-billed marsh wren, yellow warbler, common yellowthroat, red-winged 
blackbird, brown-headed cowbird, swamp sparrow, and song sparrow. 

Riparian Habitats 

The streams and rivers of the Valley are well known for their recreational 
attractions. Among the important rivers are the Snake, Kettle, Willow, 
Apple, Clam, Namekagon, and Kinnickinnic. Numerous small streams that 
are tributaries of these larger rivers often provide excellent trout fishing. 
Breeding birds associated with streams and rivers may also be included in 
larger deciduous and coniferous communities. However, nesting strategies 
of several species are closely related to certain aspects of the ecology of mov- 
ing water. Principal among these breeding birds are the great blue heron* 
(locally), mallard, wood duck*, hooded merganser*, spotted sandpiper*, 
belted kingfisher*, eastern phoebe*, rough-winged swallow*, cliff swallow*, 
American robin, yellow warbler, common yellowthroat, red-winged black- 
bird, and song sparrow. 



16 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Northern Sedge Meadow 

This community occurs throughout the Valley and makes up a large pro- 
portion of the aquatic habitats. These wetlands occur primarily north of the 
Tension Zone. Northern Sedge Meadow usually forms on the bed of an 
ancient lake or along and adjacent to larger streams and rivers. Soils asso- 
ciated with this community consist primarily of decaying vegetation and 
have a low mineral content. Groundwater is usually at or near the surface, 
providing a spongy texture to the soil surface. Probably the largest and best 
developed examples of Northern Sedge Meadow are associated with the bed 
of Glacial Lake Grantsburg in Burnett and Pine counties. 

Principal vegetation of this community includes foxtail sedge, crested 
sedge, inland sedge, slender sedge, tussock sedge, fox sedge, cattail, blue- 
joint grass, manna grass, and dark-green bulrush. Important forbs include 
marsh cinquefoil, marsh milkweed, purple-stem aster, marsh bellflower, 
spotted joe-pye weed, meadow sweet, and small bedstraw. 

Northern Sedge Meadows do not support the diversity and abundance of 
breeding birds usually associated with other wetland types. However, sev- 
eral species breed in this community almost exclusively. Principal breeding 
species include American bittern, mallard, marsh hawk*, ring-necked 
pheasant, sandhill crane*, sora, common snipe*, short-billed marsh wren*, 
yellow warbler, common yellowthroat*, red-winged blackbird, brown-headed 
cowbird, LeConte's sparrow* (local), swamp sparrow, and song sparrow. 

Alder Thicket and Shrub Carr 

Both Alder Thicket and Shrub Carr communities are similar in geologic 
origin and flora. One major difference between these habitats is that alder is 
replaced by willow, particularly silver willow, in Shrub Carrs. Both habitat 
types are usually associated with ancient lake beds or the floodplains of 
streams and rivers. In many instances, these habitats develop from the inva- 
sion of woody shrubs in a Northern Sedge Meadow. Alder Thicket and Shrub 
Carr communities occur regularly throughout the Valley. However, there 
appears to be a predominance of Alder Thickets north of the Tension Zone, 
and Shrub Carrs occur most frequently within and south of the Tension 
Zone. 

Principal vegetation associated with the Shrub Carr community includes 
silver willow and red-osier dogwood in the shrub layer. Common grasses and 
forbs include marsh shield fern, yellowish sedge, bluejoint grass, reed canary 
grass, manna grass, marsh milkweed, jewelweed, spotted joe-pye weed, 
water horehound, and meadowsweet. Characteristic breeding birds of Shrub 
Carr include mallard, blue-winged teal, marsh hawk, ring-necked pheasant*, 
common snipe, willow flycatcher*, short-billed marsh wren, veery, yellow 
warbler*, common yellowthroat, red-winged blackbird, brown-headed cow- 
bird, swamp sparrow, and song sparrow. 

Vegetation associated with Alder Thicket habitat includes speckled alder 
and red-osier dogwood in the shrub layer. Characteristic grasses and forbs 
include dark-green bulrush, tall manna grass, bluejoint grass, marsh milk- 
weed, marsh bellflower, turtlehead, spotted joe-pye weed, jewelweed, field 
mint, and great water dock. Characteristic breeding birds of Alder Thicket 
include alder flycatcher*, tree swallow, gray catbird, veery*, golden-winged 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 17 

warbler, yellow warbler, northern waterthrush* (local), common yellow- 
throat, red-winged blackbird, swamp sparrow*, and song sparrow. 

Agricultural Communities 

Cropland 

One of the most prominent aspects of the landscape in the lower Valley is 
the presence of agricultural fields. According to figures from the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, there were at least 158,540 ha in the Valley 
devoted to row crop or cereal crop production (row crop = 62.6%, cereal crop 
= 37.4%) in 1967. By 1977, the totals had increased to 195,587 total ha 
(73.2% in row crops, 26.8% in cereal crops). Of the nearly 1.8 million ha of the 
Valley included in this report, 8.8% was devoted to row and cereal crop pro- 
duction in 1967 and 11% in 1977. 

During the initial stages of agricultural development, important habitats 
including native tall grass prairie, deciduous forest, and prairie wetlands 
were destroyed to accommodate expanded production. Changes in land use 
of the magnitude attributed to Cropland have had a serious impact on bird 
populations and bird species diversity. Current agricultural practices of 
fencerow to fencerow farming, clean farming, fencerow removal, and wind- 
break removal to facilitate center-pivot irrigation systems, produce addi- 
tional stresses on bird populations. 

Corn, soybeans, oats, barley, and to a limited extent, wheat, are the promi- 
nent crops produced in this region. Although a common practice in western 
Minnesota, summer fallowing the soil has only recently become popular in 
this region. Characteristic breeding bird species that use Cropland include 
gray partridge*, killdeer*, horned lark*, western meadowlark, red-winged 
blackbird, and vesper sparrow. 

Hayland 

Domestic hay was produced on 128,927 ha in 1967 and 139,393 ha ( + 7.5%) 
in 1977. Hayland accounted for 7.2 and 7.8% of the total area of the Valley in 
1967 and 1977, respectively. This temporary habitat is important to a 
variety of early nesting species. Hayland is also important in soil conserva- 
tion because the soil is not laid bare each year and is not exposed to the 
ravages of wind and water erosion as it is with row crops. Principal plant 
species used in hay production include alfalfa, timothy, brome grass, and red 
clover. 

Characteristic breeding birds associated with Haylands include American 
bittern, mallard, blue-winged teal, pintail, marsh hawk, short-billed marsh 
wren, bobolink*, eastern meadowlark*, western meadowlark, red-winged 
blackbird, dickcissel*, savannah sparrow*, grasshopper sparrow*, Hen- 
slow 's sparrow*, LeConte's sparrow, and song sparrow. 

Old Field Community 

The Old Field community represents a relatively small proportion of the 
land area in the Valley. This habitat type develops when land is taken out of 
agricultural production and allowed to develop by natural succession. Inva- 



18 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

sion by a variety of plants will result in a rapidly changing vegetational com- 
munity. Areas of Old Field community are usually no larger than 16 ha; 
most are 4 to 8 ha. 

Characteristic plant species associated with this habitat include a variety 
of pioneer trees and shrubs, such as trembling aspen, box elder, staghorn 
sumac, and flowering crab apple. Grasses and forbs associated with this 
habitat include timothy, awnless bromegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, quack- 
grass, big bluestem, little bluestem, hoary alyssum, blue vervain, moth 
mullein, yarrow, evening primrose, common milkweed, alfalfa, goat's beard, 
sheep sorrel, daisy fleabane, noble goldenrod, and sharp-toothed goldenrod. 

Characteristic breeding birds associated with this habitat include Ameri- 
can kestrel, mourning dove, eastern kingbird*, brown thrasher, eastern blue- 
bird, golden-winged warbler, yellow warbler, eastern meadowlark, brown- 
headed cowbird, indigo bunting, American goldfinch, rufous-sided towhee, 
clay-colored sparrow*, field sparrow*, and song sparrow. 

Managed Grasslands 

Within the Valley, several thousand hectares of upland fields have been 
acquired by State and Federal conservation agencies as wildlife manage- 
ment areas or Waterfowl Production Areas. These lands are usually agricul- 
tural fields that have been taken out of production. Several different man- 
agement techniques are used to develop extensive areas of grasses and forbs 
to provide nesting habitat for a variety of wildlife species. 

Characteristic plant species established on Managed Grassland areas 
include intermediate wheatgrass, switchgrass, timothy, and brome grass. 
After establishment of these grasses, a number of forbs invade the areas. 
Several characteristic invaders include hoary alyssum, yarrow, blue vervain, 
daisy fleabane, and sharp-toothed goldenrod. 

These established communities provide habitat for a variety of species 
including American bittern, mallard, pintail, blue-winged teal, marsh hawk, 
ring-necked pheasant, short-billed marsh wren, common yellowthroat, bobo- 
link, eastern meadowlark, western meadowlark, red-winged blackbird, dick- 
cissel, and savannah, grasshopper, Henslow's, vesper, and song sparrows. 



Residential Habitats 

Small towns and cities scattered throughout the Valley provide a diver- 
sity of habitats for breeding birds. Intermixed with concrete buildings are 
areas of hedgerows, row trees, tree groves, lawns, and parks. Diverse food 
sources, ranging from feed mills and lawns to gardens and bird feeding sta- 
tions, add to the vegetation available for breeding birds. 

Characteristic birds associated with Residential Habitats include rock 
dove*, mourning dove, screech owl, common nighthawk*, chimney swift*, 
downy woodpecker, purple martin*, blue jay, black-capped chickadee, white- 
breasted nuthatch, house wren, gray catbird, brown thrasher, American 
robin, starling*, house sparrow*, northern oriole, common grackle, cardinal, 
rose-breasted grosbeak, and American goldfinch. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 19 



Methods, Terminology, and Nomenclature 

The counties covered in this report include Chisago, Pine, and Washington 
in Minnesota and Burnett, Douglas (part), Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix in Wis- 
consin. References made to a species status or occurrence in the Valley 
will pertain to these counties. Ideally, a complete coverage of the birds 
occurring in this region would include records for all counties within the 
watershed. However, because many records are not discernible to exact loca- 
tions within a county (in or out of the watershed) I have, for conformity, 
included bird records only for counties that border on the St. Croix River. 

Foremost among the published sources of data on bird occurrence and dis- 
tribution presented in this report were the Loon and its predecessor, the 
Flicker, the quarterly publication of the Minnesota Ornithologists Union, 
and the Passenger Pigeon, the quarterly publication of the Wisconsin 
Society for Ornithology. Important papers dealing with species or species 
groups have been published in these journals and extensive use was made of 
the data contained therein. Considerable use was made of published reports 
in American Birds, the field report publication of the National Audubon 
Society. Probably the most important contribution of American Birds to the 
present report was the yearly publication of Christmas Bird Counts (CBC) 
conducted in both States. 

I conducted field work in this region from 1966 through 1978, and inter- 
mittently during 1979-80. Before 1969, most observations were made in 
northern Polk, southern Douglas, Burnett, and eastern Pine counties. Dur- 
ing 1969-76, field work was expanded to include the remainder of the coun- 
ties and intensive observations were started on several species in Pierce, St. 
Croix, and Washington counties. Many of the dates of occurrence and state- 
ments on abundance and distribution were derived largely from my unpub- 
lished field notes. The unpublished field notes of Rev. Samuel Robbins for 
1960-68 in St. Croix, Polk, and Pierce counties were also examined exten- 
sively. Several State parks and wildlife management areas in both States 
were visited and some limited data (with the exception of the Crex Meadows 
Wildlife Area) were made available. 

Data on breeding and winter status were gathered from three sources. 
First, intensive field work by several previous investigators and me led to 
the discovery of numerous nests or dependent young. These observations 
provide the foundation for species status remarks and habitat use of breed- 
ing birds. Secondly, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Migratory Bird and 
Habitat Research Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, has established a number 
of BBS transects throughout North America (Robbins and Van Velzen 
1967). These 39.2-km transect routes are selected at random and are cen- 
sused once each year during June. Five transect routes were established in 
the Valley; unfortunately, all five are in Wisconsin (Fig. 4). Data from these 
routes are presented to point out regions of peak populations of several 
species and, in some instances, to show geographic differences in species 
breeding distribution. Third, CBC sponsored by the National Audubon 
Society provide an important source of data on winter bird populations and 
geographic differences in species abundance. At least eight CBC areas have 
been established within the Valley. However, only five (Fig. 5) have been 



20 



NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



92 



NORTHERN HIGHLAND 




Fig. 4. Location of Breeding Bird Survey routes in the St. Croix River Valley. 



counted for a sufficient number of years to allow meaningful comparisons. 



Terms 

Considerable conjecture and argument has developed about what is the 
best method for describing a species occurrence, regularity, and abundance. 
Terms are treated under three categories: status, season, and abundance. 
The terms used to describe each species status in the present report are 
adapted from those presented in Green and Janssen (1975), including 
Regular— A species that occurs at some location in the Valley during at 

least one season each year. 
Casual— A species expected to occur at least once every 3 to 5 years, but 
not annually. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 



21 



92 



46 



93 



PINE 



Grant sburi 
CBC' 



CHISAGO 



AFTON CBC 



DOUGLAS 




NORTHERN HIGHLAND 



km 



CENTRAL PLAIN 



NEW RICHMOND 
CBC 



WESTERN UPLAND 

0fo> t 



CBC-AREAS 



Fig. 5. Location of major Christmas Bird Count areas in the St. Croix River Valley. 



Accidental— A species that is not expected to occur again or that occurs 

very infrequently. 
Hypothetical— A species that probably occurred in the Valley at least 

once, but the circumstances of the observation leave the record in 

doubt. 
Introduced— A species that is naturally foreign to this region but has been 

released in the area as an act of man and is now established and repro- 
ducing without additional influence by man. 
Extirpated— A species that once occurred naturally in the Valley, has now 

been eliminated, but still exists elsewhere. This term applies to both 

migrants and nesting species. 
Extinct— A species that no longer exists anywhere on earth. 

The population status of several species has recently become a concern of 
the public. Legal protection for all birds except the rock dove, starling, and 



22 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

house sparrow has been provided by the Federal Government by the Migra- 
tory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, as amended (40 Stat. 755; 16 U.S.C. 703-711). 
Eagles have been afforded additional protection by the Eagle Act of 1940 
(54 Stat. 250; 16 U.S.C. 668). Several species have been given even greater 
protection by the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (87 Stat. 884; 16 
U.S.C. 668aa-668cc). Both Minnesota and Wisconsin have enacted special 
legislation within their respective States that provides statewide protection 
for species that are declining locally or regionally, but not on a level to be 
afforded protection by the Endangered Species Act of 1973. 

Official lists of protected bird species have been prepared for Minnesota 
and Wisconsin. Forty-three of the species listed by either State have been 
recorded in the Valley (Table 1). Terms used throughout this report to 
describe the special status of these species are adapted from Les (1979) and 
Moyle(1980). 

Endangered— A species whose continued existence is in jeopardy and is 
provided special protection by law. 

Threatened— & species that appears likely to become endangered. Threat- 
ened species are provided special protection by law. 

Watch— A species for which some problem of abundance is suspected but 
not proven. The purpose of this classification is to focus attention on a 
species before it becomes threatened or endangered. This is an informal 
classification and no additional legal protection is provided. In Minne- 
sota, species in this classification are considered Priority. 

Terms used in describing the occurrence of a species in the Valley include 

Permanent resident— A. species that is largely nonmigratory or, if migra- 
tory, only a very small proportion of the population departs during a 
migration period. 

Migrant— A species that normally occurs in the Valley only during the 
well-defined spring and fall migration period. 

Nesting species— A species for which a viable clutch of eggs, dependent 
young in the nest, or young that have left the nest but are still depen- 
dent have been observed. 

Summer resident— A species that occurs in the Valley during the normal 
nesting period and in all likelihood nests, but for which there are no con- 
firmed records of eggs or dependent young. 

Winter resident— A species that winters even though greater numbers 
may occur during migration. 

Terms used in relating the relative abundance of each species during 
migration, winter, or the breeding season relate to its importance to the 
total avifauna. These terms adapted from Stewart (1975) are described as 
follows: 

Abundant— A species that, because of its habits and conspicuousness, 

occurs in very large numbers. 
Common— A species that occurs in large numbers. 
Fairly common— A species that occurs in fair to moderate numbers. 
Uncommon— A species that is found in low numbers. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 



23 



Table 1. Endangered (E), threatened (T), priority (P), and watch (W) species 
in the St. Croix River Valley. 



Species 



Minnesota 



Wisconsin 



Common loon 

White pelican 

Double-crested cormorant 

Great egret 

Snowy egret 

Great blue heron 

Black-crowned night heron 

Yellow-crowned night heron 

Black duck 

Red-breasted merganser 

Cooper's hawk 

Marsh hawk 

Red-shouldered hawk 

Bald eagle 

Osprey 

Peregrine falcon 

Merlin 

Spruce grouse 

Sharp-tailed grouse 

Greater prairie chicken 

Bobwhite 

Yellow rail 

King rail 

American avocet 

Piping plover 

Marbled godwit 

Upland sandpiper 

Common tern 

Forster's tern 

Caspian tern 

Black tern 

Great gray owl 

Short-eared owl 

Common flicker 

Black-backed three-toed woodpecker 

Bewick's wren 

Eastern bluebird 

Loggerhead shrike 

Dickcissel 

Grasshopper sparrow 

Baird's sparrow 

Sharp-tailed sparrow 

Vesper sparrow 

Field sparrow 



W 

E 
T 

W 

w 

w 
w 

T 

w 

T 
E 
E 
E 
W 
W 
W 
T 

W 



E 

W 
E 
E 
W 
W 



W 

W 
W 
T 
W 
W 



W 
W 



Rare— A species whose range includes the Valley but is recorded in low 

numbers. 
Very rare— A species that occurs in such low numbers that it is of minor 

importance. 



24 



NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



Table 2. Classification of wetland types in the St. Croix River Valley. This 
classification follows Cowardin et al. (1979) and Curtis (1959). 



Wetland name 


Wetland type 






used in 


(Shaw and 


Water 




this report 


Fredine 1956) 


chemistry 


Authority 


Temporarily flooded 


1 


Fresh 


Cowardin et al. 


Northern sedge meadow 


2 


Fresh 


Curtis 


Seasonally flooded 


3 


Fresh 


Cowardin et al. 


Semipermanently flooded 


4 


Fresh 


Cowardin et al. 


Permanently flooded 


5 


Fresh 


Cowardin et al. 


Shrub carr 


6 


Fresh 


Curtis 


Bog 


8 


Acidic 


Curtis 



Nomenclature 

The taxonomic treatment of birds presented in this report follows the 
American Ornithologists' Union (AOU) Check-list of North American Birds 
(1957), and the 32nd (AOU 1973) and 33rd (AOU 1976) supplements to the 
Check-list. One deviation from the AOU standard sequence is presented for 
the shorebirds. In this instance, I followed the sequence recommended by 
Jehl(1968). 

Description of the major plant communities of the Valley follows Curtis 
(1959). Major habitats used by each species were determined from personal 
field investigations and from published reports. The taxonomic names of 
plants described in the habitat sections are those used in Gleason and Cron- 
quist (1956). Common names of some plant species, primarily grasses and 
sedges, are taken from Britton and Brown (1913). Voucher specimens of 
most of the important grasses and forbs used in this report are housed in the 
Herbarium, Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin— River Falls. 

The wetland classification used in this report (Table 2) is a combination of 
the systems developed by Cowardin et al. (1979) and Curtis (1959). Cowardin 
et al. (1979) employ a hierarchical system with modifiers for water regime, 
water chemistry, and soil type. Three wetland types (Northern Sedge 
Meadow, Shrub Carr, and Bogs) were named and classified by Curtis (1959). 
Because these names are widely used and accepted in the Valley, I have 
deviated from Cowardin 's system in that instance. 



Species Accounts 



FAMILY GAVIIDAE: Loons 
Common Loon {Gavia immer) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common (locally abundant) during spring and fall throughout 
the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland during the first 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 25 

week of April (earliest— 4 April 1964, St. Croix County; Soulen 1965) and the 
Northern Highland 10-15 April. Peak spring abundance occurs 20 April to 
1 May. During this period flocks of 5 to 10 birds are common and flocks 
totaling 15 to 20 are occasional on larger lakes. Spring departure from the 
southern one-third of the Valley occurs by 15 May. Fall migrants arrive in 
the Western Upland during the first week of October and remain until water 
on the larger lakes freezes in late November. No major common loon staging 
areas exist in this region, resulting in relatively small numbers observed dur- 
ing the fall. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon nesting bird on larger lakes and 
marshes of the Northern Highland, rare and local in the Central Plain. 
Casual summering birds near Roberts, St. Croix County, indicate possible 
nesting although no broods have been observed. Longley (1949) reported a 
pair with one young in Washington County on 17 June 1949. Additional 
Washington County brood records were obtained in 1970 and 1971 (Eckert 
1971). 

Habitat: Common loons are primarily a species of large permanently flooded 
wetlands, particularly those containing small islands. Most wetlands used 
for nesting are bordered by deciduous forest, chiefly trembling aspen and 
maple, and contain peripheral zones of emergent aquatic vegetation. At the 
Crex Meadows Wildlife Area in Burnett County, common loons nest on 
semipermanently and permanently flooded wetlands. The vegetation con- 
sists primarily of cattail and various species of sedge. Evrard et al. (1978) 
found that common loons at Crex Meadows occupied wetlands that ranged 
from 6.9 to 324 ha. 

Concern has been expressed recently about the population status of this 
species in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and other northern States. The primary 
threat to the nesting habitat of this species is shoreline development sur- 
rounding nesting lakes. 

Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata) 

Status: Casual migrant; one summer record. 

Records: Spring records include Pierce County— 10 May 1967; St. Croix 
County— 25 April 1962 and 17 May 1965; Burnett County— 15 May 1950 
(Robbins 19506). During the summer of 1953 a nonbreeding red-throated 
loon was observed on 11 June and 17 July at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, 
Burnett County. 

FAMILY PODICIPEDIDAE: Grebes 
Red-necked Grebe {Podiceps grisegena) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Rare spring and fall migrant in the Western Upland, casual or 
absent elsewhere. Spring migrants arrive during the second week of April 
(earliest— 8 April 1959, Burnett County). Dates of peak abundance cannot 



26 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

be determined because of low numbers. Nonbreeding migrants have 
departed by 20 May. The first fall migrants arrive 25 September to 5 Oc- 
tober and the last depart by 1 November (latest— 10 November). During 
both seasons migrants are usually observed in central St. Croix County and 
at several areas along the St. Croix River in Washington, Polk, and St. Croix 
counties. 

Nesting Season Distribution: The red-necked grebe is a very rare and local 
nesting species. Green and Janssen (1975) showed a nesting record for 
Washington County. Apparently this species no longer nests on the Minne- 
sota side of the St. Croix River. Presently, nesting occurs only on prairie 
wetlands in central St. Croix and extreme southern Polk counties. 

The first nesting for the Valley in Wisconsin was recorded in 1973 from 
East Twin Lake near Roberts. During the summer of 1976, three pairs pro- 
duced young on Twin Lakes and an additional pair was successful on Oak- 
ridge Lake near New Richmond. In 1977, four pairs produced young on Oak- 
ridge Lake, one pair on East Twin Lake, and a sixth pair produced young on 
a small wetland near Star Prairie in Polk County. During 1978-79 breeding 
populations were greatly reduced with activity restricted to Oakridge Lake 
(M. Schmidt, personal communication). 

Habitat: All 12 nesting records have been obtained on semipermanently and 
permanently flooded wetlands. These wetlands range in size from 8.5 to 
93 ha. Extensive beds of submerged aquatic plants are present on these wet- 
lands. All nests have been located in large beds of softstem bulrush. 

Horned Grebe {Podiceps auritus) 

Status: Regular migrant, casual nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants begin 
to arrive in the Western Upland during the second week of April (earliest— 
24 March) and the Northern Highland 1-5 May. Peak abundance occurs dur- 
ing the first week of May and departure by 15 May. Fall migrants begin to 
arrive during the third week of September. Peak abundance occurs about 
15 October when occasional flocks of 50 to 60 individuals are observed on 
larger lakes. Fall migrants have departed by November 20. 

Nesting Season Distribution: One nesting record exists for this region. On 
2 July 1951 an adult with a brood of four was observed at the Crex Meadows 
Wildlife Area, Burnett County. On 14 June 1974, I observed an adult in 
breeding plumage near Range, Polk County. 

Habitat: Horned grebes use a wide range of wetland classes including sea- 
sonally, semipermanently, and permanently flooded wetlands. In the North- 
ern Highland, extensive use is made of Forest Bordered Wetlands and occa- 
sional use is made of acidic bog wetlands and larger rivers. The Burnett 
County nesting pair were using a large sedge meadow wetland. 

Eared Grebe {Podiceps nigricollis) 

Status: Regular spring and casual fall migrant; four summer records. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 27 

Migration: Rare migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain. There are 
no records except from Crex Meadows in the Northern Highland. Spring 
migrants begin to arrive during the last week of April (earliest— 20 April 
1975, Polk County) and remain through 5 June. Sightings are most often of 
single or paired birds. Dates for fall migrants are too few to establish a pat- 
tern. Fall observations are rare, noted between 10-20 September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: One nesting record exists for the Valley. S. D. 
Robbins found an adult carrying young on its back during the summer of 
1968 on East Twin Lake near Roberts, St. Croix County (Robbins 1969a). 
This is the only known nesting record of the eared grebe in Wisconsin. On 21 
July 1952, three eared grebes were observed on Phantom Lake, Crex 
Meadows, and on 12 July 1956, a single bird was observed at Crex Meadows 
(Lound and Lound 19566). During the summer of 1977, a single adult 
remained on Oakridge Lake, St. Croix County, until 8 August. 

Habitat: Eared grebes in the Valley have been found primarily on large per- 
manently flooded wetlands with extensive growths of emergent and sub- 
merged aquatic vegetation. The St. Croix County nesting pair used a large 
semipermanently flooded wetland. Vegetation of that wetland was charac- 
terized by extensive beds of coontail surrounded by hardstem bulrush and 
cattail. 

Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) 

Status: Casual migrant. 

Records: Western grebes have been observed twice in spring and once in fall 
at Crex Meadows, Burnett County. The first record was 30 May 1974, and 
the second 8 June 1976. The fall observation was on 26 August 1975. All 
Crex Meadows records were obtained from the Phantom Lake flowage. J. O. 
Evrard observed a single western grebe on the Fish Lake Wildlife Area near 
Grantsburg, Burnett County, on 3 June 1979. This bird was observed on 
Crex Meadows on 11 June 1979 (Tessen 19796). This species has been 
recorded three times in St. Croix County: 2 October 1976, two birds on Oak- 
ridge Lake near New Richmond; 6 October 1967, three birds on Cedar Lake 
near Star Prairie; and 12 October 1974, on Oakridge Lake. 

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Western Upland and Central 
Plain, fairly common in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive dur- 
ing the last week of March (earliest— 9 March 1957, Burnett County). Peak 
abundance occurs 20 April to 1 May. During peak migration, concentrations 
of 75 to 100 individuals occur on several larger lakes in Chisago, Polk, and 
Burnett counties. Fall migrants begin to concentrate in early September. 
Peak fall abundance occurs during the second week of October and depar- 
ture by 10 November (latest— 19 December 1974, Pierce County). 



28 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species throughout the 
Valley. The largest numbers occur on prairie wetlands of the Central Plain 
and in the extensive marshes of southwestern Burnett County. 

Habitat: The pied-billed grebe occurs most commonly on seasonally and 
semipermanently flooded wetlands with lush stands of emergent aquatics; 
cattail and bulrush appear to be preferred for nesting. Nesting pied-billed 
grebes are also found on large permanently flooded and Alder Thicket wet- 
lands in the Northern Highland. Breeding populations in these habitat types 
are lower than on seasonally or semipermanently flooded wetlands. 

FAMILY PELECANIDAE: Pelicans 
White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorynchos) 

Status: Casual migrant. 

Distribution: White pelicans have been observed in the Valley at least 10 
times: St. Croix County— 28-30 April 1941 (Schorger 1954), May 1950, and 
2-6 November 1975 (Lesher 1976). Polk County— 23 April 1867 (Schorger 
1954), and 24 April to 12 June 1947. Burnett County— 10 July 1970 (Crex 
Meadows files), and 30 October 1883 (Schorger 1954). Washington County— 
16 April 1976. Chisago County— about 60 white pelicans were observed 
migrating upstream at Taylor's Falls on 14 April 1979 (Turner 1979). Pine 
County— 18 September 1972 (M. Link, personal communication). 

Habitat: Most records of white pelicans have been of birds using large lakes, 
man-made impoundments, or open stretches of the St. Croix River. 

FAMILY PHALACROCORACIDAE: Cormorants 

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. The Wisconsin Department of 
Natural Resources (WDNR) has listed this species as endangered (Les 1979). 
Loss of nest trees, use of pesticides, and human disturbance are listed as rea- 
sons for their decline. 

Migration: Rare and local migrant throughout the Valley. Formerly a com- 
mon to abundant migrant throughout its range, populations of double- 
crested cormorants have experienced alarming declines. Records exist of 
"flocks of thousands" migrating north along the Mississippi and St. Croix 
rivers until the 1950's. Currently, observers are fortunate to find more than 
25 individuals during the year. The average date of spring arrival is 18 April 
(earliest— 4 April 1976, Chisago County). Peak spring migration occurs 
25 April to 10 May, and departure from nonbreeding areas by 25 May. Peak 
fall migration occurs between 10-20 September and departure by 15 Octo- 
ber (latest— 3 November 1975, Burnett County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Double-crested cormorants are rare and local 
during the nesting season in this region, currently known to nest only at the 
Crex Meadows and Fish Lake Wildlife Areas in Burnett County. The first 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 29 

nesting was noted at Crex Meadows in 1968. This colony was in a heron 
rookery on Phantom Lake. Because of degredation of nesting trees, the 
Phantom Lake colony declined, and birds moved to the Grettum Flowage at 
Fish Lake Wildlife Area. In 1973, 23 nests were observed in the Grettum 
Flowage colony. 

Habitat: Both Phantom Lake and Grettum Flowage are large impound- 
ments characterized by deep water and dead trees. This temporary habitat 
type was created when tree growth in these basins was inundated by rising 
impounded waters. Construction of nest platforms in the Phantom Lake 
colony has attracted several breeding pairs. This management practice may 
prove essential in the maintenance of these two colonies. 

FAMILY ARDEIDAE: Herons and Bitterns 
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual winter resident. 

Migration: Common migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, 
uncommon and local in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in 
the Western Upland about 10 March (earliest— 1 March 1969, St. Croix 
County) and reach the Northern Highland by 1 April. Peak migration occurs 
5-20 April. Fall migration begins in mid-July with the gradual dispersal of 
young from rookeries. Peak fall migration occurs 25 August to 30 Septem- 
ber and most depart by 10 November (latest— 20 November 1964 and 9 De- 
cember 1971, Burnett County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common and local nesting species 
throughout the Valley. Evidence of nesting has been documented in all coun- 
ties except Pierce. The two largest rookeries in the region are at Crex 
Meadows Wildlife Area, Burnett County, and at Pine Lake, Pine County. At 
least four rookeries were active in Burnett County in the late 1940's and 
early 1950's (Williams 1957). The Crex Meadows rookery located on 
Phantom Lake was first used in 1952 (Williams 1957). Further records 
related to the breeding population of this rookery follow: 

1958—157 active nests 
1960—108 active nests 
1962—109 active nests 
1968—160 active nests. Rainstorm (8.5 cm) on 30 June left 65 nests in the 

rookery. About 150 herons were found dead near the rookery. 
1973—169 active nests, Phantom Lake; 13 active nests, North Fork 

Flowage 
1974—143 active nests in four rookeries 
1975—75 active nests in the Phantom Lake rookery 
1976—31 active nests 

Deterioration of nest platform trees is the primary cause of the rookery 
decline at Crex Meadows. Attempts at placing artificial nest platforms for 
great blue herons on the Phantom Lake rookery have been successful in 
attracting double-crested cormorants. However, the great blue herons have 



30 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

not reestablished to former levels. 

Winter: Three winter records exist for St. Croix County: 2 January 1961; 
1 January 1971; and 1 January 1972. All birds were recorded on the Afton 
CBC. 

Habitat: Most nesting rookeries in this region exist as small colonies built 
on dead or dying deciduous trees near natural lakes. The Burnett County 
colonies are in decaying trees associated with man-made impoundments. As 
evidenced by the continual changes in colony size and location of breeding 
populations at Phantom Lake, these temporary habitats are in a constant 
state of deterioration. In the Western Upland, several small rookeries exist 
in living green ash and American elm associated with the Lowland De- 
ciduous Forest community. One rookery in the Northern Highland is in liv- 
ing white pine trees close to the St. Croix River in Burnett County. 

Green Heron {Butorides striatus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant in the Western Upland, primarily on the prairie 
wetlands of St. Croix, Washington, and southern Polk counties. Fairly com- 
mon in the Central Plain, and uncommon and local in the Northern High- 
land. Spring migrants begin to arrive during the last week of April 
(earliest— 6 April 1975 and 12 April 1964, Washington County). Average 
date of first arrival in Burnett County is 10 May, reaching Douglas County 
by 15 May. Peak spring abundance occurs 5-20 May. Fall migration begins 
in mid-August with formation of loose flocks. Peak fall movements occur 
1-15 September. Green herons depart the Northern Highland by 15 Sep- 
tember and the Western Upland by 10 October (latest— 27 October 1975 and 
9 November 1965, Washington County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species in the Western 
Upland, particularly the prairie wetland region of St. Croix, Washington, 
and southern Polk counties. Uncommon in the Central Plain, and rare and 
local in the Northern Highland. Substantial breeding populations occur in 
the marshes of Glacial Lake Grantsburg in Burnett County. Roberts (1932) 
cited a June 1919 nest containing three young in Pine County. Documented 
breeding records exist for all counties in the river valley except Chisago and 
Douglas. Jackson (1941) failed to record this heron during the 1919 breeding 
season in northwestern Wisconsin. 

Habitat: Breeding green herons utilize a variety of habitats for nesting. In 
the Western Upland, breeding pairs and nests are typically observed in sea- 
sonally, semipermanently, and permanently flooded wetlands, and riverine 
habitats. In the Central Plain, breeding green herons are found typically in 
seasonally and semipermanently flooded wetlands, but also occupy Shrub 
Carr wetlands with a scattering of open water areas. 

Little Blue Heron (Florida caerulea) 

Status: Accidental, one record. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 31 

Record: One adult was seen near Dunroven, Washington County, on 
23 April 1962 (Huber 1962). Because of the recent noticeable expansion of 
this species in the upper Midwest, I would expect this species to be recorded 
more regularly in the future. 

Cattle Egret {Bubulcus ibis) 

Status: Casual migrant. 

Records: The first cattle egret record for the Valley was obtained in Chisago 
County on 7 May 1971, when six birds were observed. One was observed in 
Washington County on 25 April 1977 (Savaloja 1977). In Pierce County a 
single bird was observed near River Falls on 28 April 1976. At Crex 
Meadows, Burnett County, groups of four birds each were observed on 
24-28 May 1974 and 16 April 1976. J. O. Evrard reported that cattle egrets 
were present during July 1979 at Crex Meadows (Tessen 19796). 

Great Egret (Casmerodius albus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. The Wisconsin DNR has listed 
this species as threatened (Les 1979). Wetland drainage, loss of mature nest 
trees, pesticides, and human disturbance are listed as reasons for the 
decline. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant in the Western Upland, rare and local in the 
Central Plain. Except in the vicinity of Crex Meadows, Burnett County, this 
species is rare north of a line extending from Chisago to northeastern St. 
Croix counties. First spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 10-15 
April (earliest— 29 March 1968) and in Burnett County about 20 April. One 
Polk County record was obtained on 10 April 1970. Fall migration begins in 
mid-August. Peak fall populations occur 25 August to 10 September and 
departure by 10 October (latest-30 October 1970 and 31 October 1956, 
Burnett County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local nesting species with docu- 
mented breeding records from Washington, St. Croix, and Burnett counties. 
Establishment of this bird as a breeding species has been fairly recent. Jack- 
son (1941) failed to observe great egrets during 1919 in northwestern Wis- 
consin. Roberts (1932) described the great egret as "occasionally a straggler 
from the south," yet cites no records from the Minnesota counties. The first 
record for the Valley is provided by King (1949), who reported this species at 
Prescott, Pierce County, in 1946. Great egrets were first reported at Crex 
Meadows, Burnett County, in 1948. Later, summer observations ranged 
from 19 in 1956 to 1 in 1969. Nesting at Crex Meadows was first recorded on 
25 June 1975 (Evrard 1975). Since 1975, a small nesting colony has remained 
on the Fish Lake Wildlife Area, Burnett County. In Washington County, 
nesting has been established with a colony of undetermined size (Green and 
Janssen 1975). St. Croix County breeding records were established in 1976 
when two young were seen feeding with adults along Ten Mile Creek on 
11 July. These birds nested in a small great blue heron colony along the 



32 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Willow River near New Richmond. 

Habitat: Washington and St. Croix county colonies exist in live trees of 
Lowland Deciduous Forest. Nests at Fish Lake Wildlife Area occur in jack 
pine trees killed by the rising waters of Grettum Flo wage. 

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) 

Status: Accidental, one record. 

Record: Norman Stone observed a single snowy egret at Crex Meadows, 
Burnett County, on 4 and 5 May 1959 (Stone 1959a). 

Louisiana Heron (Hydranassa tricolor) 

Status: Accidental, one record. 

Record: One Louisiana heron was observed at Crex Meadows, Burnett 
County, on 7 July 1977 (Tessen 1977). 

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Uncommon and local migrant in the Western Upland, rare in 
other regions. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 10-15 April, 
reaching peak abundance 1-10 May. Average date of spring arrival in Bur- 
nett County is 10 May. Fall migration begins 25 August to 1 September and 
departure by 1 October (latest— 28 November 1967, Washington County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local nesting species. Confirmed 
breeding records have been reported only from St. Croix and Burnett coun- 
ties; however, several summer observations have been made in Washington 
County. Roberts (1932) stated that one of the most northerly colonies in 
Minnesota occurred on the St. Croix River in Pine County. Unfortunately no 
dates or locations are provided. 

Habitat: Three nesting colonies of black-crowned night herons are known in 
this region. Habitats associated with these colonies include wetland habitat 
dominated by bulrush and cattail. In proximity are small groves of alder and 
willow used for nest platforms. 

Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) 

Status: Accidental, one record. 

Record: Green and Janssen (1975) cite a 6 June 1964 record from St. Croix 

State Park, Pine County. 

Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) 
Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 33 

Migration: Uncommon migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain. 
First spring migrants arrive 5-10 May and are most frequently observed 
20-25 May. Fall migration begins 15-25 August and departure by 25 Sep- 
tember. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon nesting species in the Western 
Upland, uncommon to rare and local in the Central Plain. Documented 
breeding records exist for St. Croix County (three nests), Polk County (one 
nest), and Burnett County (one nest). Summer observations of adults in Chi- 
sago and Washington counties provide inferred evidence of nesting in those 
counties. 

Habitat: Principal nesting habitat of the least bittern includes semiperma- 
nently and permanently flooded wetlands. Nests observed in St. Croix and 
Polk counties were in extensive stands of hardstem bulrush and river bul- 
rush. The Burnett County nest was in a mixed stand of cattail and river 
bulrush. 



American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, accidental in winter. 

Migration: Fairly common spring and fall migrant in the Western Upland 
and Central Plain, uncommon and local in the Northern Highland. Spring 
migrants arrive 10-20 April (earliest— 4 April 1974, Burnett County), reach- 
ing peak abundance 1-5 May. Fall migration begins about 15 August in the 
Northern Highland and 25 August to 1 September elsewhere. Peak numbers 
occur 1-20 September. Departure from the Northern Highland occurs 
20 September to 1 October; departure elsewhere is 10-25 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common and well distributed in all 
regions. Breeding pairs occur with greatest frequency in the prairie wetland 
region of St. Croix, Polk, and Washington counties, and at Crex Meadows, 
Burnett County. Documented nest records exist for St. Croix, Polk, Bur- 
nett, and Washington counties. Evidence of nesting exists for the remaining 
counties. Jackson (1941) reported flushing one American bittern from a 
marsh at the headwaters of the St. Croix River in Douglas County on 8 Au- 
gust 1919. 

Winter: Wayne Norling observed a single bird at Crex Meadows, Burnett 
County, on 9 January 1976. 

Habitat: American bittern breeding habitat use varies with geographic 
province. Typical breeding habitat in Western Upland includes seasonally, 
semipermanently, and permanently flooded wetlands. Vegetation associated 
with these wetlands includes river bulrush, cattail, softstem bulrush, hard- 
stem bulrush, and phragmites. Preferred habitat in the Central Plain is simi- 
lar with a higher percentage of reed canary grass in seasonally flooded wet- 
lands. Occasionally this species uses upland fields including Haylands, oat 
fields, Managed Grasslands, and retired cropland for nesting. In the north- 
ern regions of the Central Plain and throughout the Northern Highland, 
breeding habitat includes cattail-bulrush marshes. A high percentage of 



34 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



breeding pairs occur in sedge meadows in this region, as well as edges of 
Black Spruce-Tamarack Bog and northern Forest Bordered Lakes. 



FAMILY ANATIDAE: Swans, Geese, and Ducks 

Whistling Swan (Olor columbianus) 

Status: Regular migrant, two summer records. 

Migration: Common to locally abundant spring migrant in the Western 
Upland, fairly common in the Central Plain and uncommon in the Northern 
Highland. Spring migrants arrive about 25 March in the Western Upland 
and by 15 April in the Northern Highland. Peak spring migration occurs 
10-25 April. During this period, flocks of 300 to 400 birds are frequently 
observed, primarily on the prairie wetlands of St. Croix and Washington 
counties. Roberts (1932) cited the passage of about 2,000 whistling swans 
through the Valley during "the spring of 1923." Departure is very rapid; 
most birds are gone by 10 May (latest— 13 May 1975, Burnett County). 

Fall migration begins with the arrival of the first birds in the Northern 
Highland about 5 October. Small groups of swans slowly move into the 
region during most of October. Peak fall migration occurs 25 October to 
15 November. Currently, peak concentrations range from 100 to 300 indi- 
viduals. Roberts (1932) described the observation of "several mixed flocks of 
swans and geese, one numbering 1,200 to 1,500 birds" at Stillwater. Dates of 
peak numbers vary considerably and are dependent upon the advancement 
of northern cold fronts. Departure from the region usually occurs by 1 De- 
cember and is dependent upon the amount of ice formed on area waters. 

Summer: A lone whistling swan was observed at Crex Meadows, Burnett 
County, on 26 June 1957 (Lound and Lound 1957d). A single bird remained 
in St. Croix County during the 1979 summer (Tessen 19796). Both birds were 
probably injured. 

Habitat: Migrant whistling swans utilize a variety of wetland types during 
migration. In spring, whistling swans are usually found feeding in numerous 
temporarily flooded wetlands which are fertile. Larger semipermanently and 
permanently flooded wetlands are used in spring, primarily as roosting sites. 
During fall migration swans utilize the larger permanently flooded wetlands 
and open riverine habitats. 

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual winter resident. 

Migration: Common to locally abundant migrant throughout the region, 
especially numerous along the St. Croix River and in central St. Croix, 
Washington, and southern Burnett counties. Arrival of the first spring 
migrants in the Western Upland occurs 20-25 February and they have 
reached the Northern Highland (Burnett County) by 10 March. Peak spring 
migration occurs 25 March to 20 April. Largest numbers of migrants 
usually occur at the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Burnett County. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 35 

Fall migration begins about 1 September with the formation of loose 
flocks among local breeding birds. A gradual influx of migrants adds to the 
population, and peak fall migration occurs 15 October to 5 November. The 
largest concentration on record is 8,000 at Crex Meadows on 31 October 
1970. The fall population rapidly declines after the peak and most birds have 
departed by 10 December. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Currently a fairly common nesting species 
throughout the region, common at Crex Meadows. The success of the 
Canada goose as a nesting bird is related to the reestablishment of breeding 
adult giant Canada geese (B. c. maxima) at Afton, Washington County, and 
at Crex Meadows. A captive flock was established at Crex Meadows in 1957, 
and the first young were produced in the wild in 1960. This flock steadily 
increased and now over 100 pairs produce 300 young annually (WDNR files). 
The Afton flock was established in 1960 and resulted in movement of 
breeding birds into nearby wetlands of Washington, Polk, and St. Croix 
counties. Canada geese were first recorded summering in St. Croix county in 
1961 and nesting was recorded in 1963. Establishment of free-flying flocks 
of Canada geese was very popular in east central Minnesota and western 
Wisconsin throughout the 1960's and early 1970's. Many of these releases 
were successful and now several hundred breeding pairs return to the Valley 
each spring. 

Winter: Casual winter resident in the Western Upland, primarily associated 
with the St. Croix River. Nearby agricultural fields are typically used for 
feeding during winter. 

Habitat: Canada geese are usually found nesting on semipermanently and 
permanently flooded wetlands in the Western Upland. Many goose nests are 
found on old muskrat houses in these wetlands. At Crex Meadows, nesting 
Canada geese typically use large man-made impoundments. 

Brant (Branta bernicla) 

Status: Accidental, three fall records. 

Records: A flock of three birds clearly identifiable to this species was ob- 
served at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, on 2 October 1954 (N. R. Stone). 
A group of 10 brant was observed at Crex Meadows on 6 October 1974 
(K. H. Dueholm). N. R. Stone observed a brant referable to the Pacific sub- 
species (B. bernicla nigricans) on 31 October 1959 at Crex Meadows. The 
bird was observed from 120 m; the neck markings were present and the 
black underwing coverts were noted, distinguishing this bird from the east- 
ern race. 



White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Rare spring migrant, with records from Burnett, St. Croix, and 
Washington counties. Arrival dates do not demonstrate any pattern, rang- 



36 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

ing from 3 April 1968 and 8 April 1971 in Burnett County and 26 March 
1976 in St. Croix County, to 12 April 1971 in Washington County. Most rec- 
ords occur during 5-20 May; the latest record was 2 June 1961 at Crex 
Meadows, Burnett County. 

Rare fall migrant with records only from Burnett and St. Croix counties. 
Fall dates range from 16 September to 10 November 1964 (Crex Meadows). 
Most records are from 5-20 October. White-fronted geese are usually ob- 
served in fall in flocks of three to six. The largest flock recorded (12) was 
observed in St. Croix County on 28 March 1978. 

Habitat: Spring migrants are usually observed on temporarily or semiper- 
manently flooded wetlands. During fall migration most observations consist 
of birds in feeding flocks with other geese in corn or oat stubble fields. 

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) 

Status: Regular migrant, accidental in summer and winter. 

Migration: Rare spring and fairly common fall migrant throughout the 
Valley; locally common at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, during fall 
migration. Spring migration begins with the arrival of small scattered flocks 
5-15 April (earliest— 16 March 1966, Washington County). No large popula- 
tions occur during spring migration and most birds depart by 15 May 
(latest— 3 June 1977, St. Croix County). Fall migrants arrive about 20 Sep- 
tember (earliest— 13 September 1974, Burnett County). Peak fall popula- 
tions usually consist of groups totaling 200 to 300 individuals per county. 
Occasionally, exceptionally large concentrations occur at Crex Meadows 
Wildlife Area, including 11,650 on 2 November 1971 (WDNR files). Normal 
peak fall populations occur 15 October to 1 November and departure by 
20 November. 

Summer: N. R. Stone recorded a blue phase snow goose in molt in Black 
Brook Township, Polk County, on 20 June 1951. Another blue phase goose 
was recorded at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, on 7 July 1953. 

Winter: P. D. Tweet observed a flock of six in Troy Township, St. Croix 
County, on 1 January 1977. These birds were probably late migrants. 

Habitat: Primary habitat use of migrant snow geese consists of temporarily 
or semipermanently flooded wetlands. Adjacent agricultural fields, both row 
crops and hay, are heavily used for feeding. 

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Common to locally abundant spring migrant in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, fairly common to locally abundant in the North- 
ern Highland. Determination of spring arrival dates is compounded by the 
presence of wintering birds. Movements of birds into the region are observed 
in late February with increases along the St. Croix River. Birds gradually 
move north arriving in the Northern Highland about 15 March. Peak spring 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 37 

populations occur 5-15 April; 6,000 to 8,000 birds are commonly observed in 
St. Croix County. Movement of nonbreeding mallards is rapid after peak 
periods; departure is by 1 May. 

Fall migration begins 1-10 September with formation of local feeding 
flocks of adults and juveniles. Movements of migrants into the region begins 
about 20 September; peak populations occur 20 October to 1 November. 
Concentrations at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, have surpassed 11,000 
twice (11,500 on 30 October 1967 and 15,000 on 3 November 1964). 
Recently, use of two refuges in St. Croix County has resulted in large num- 
bers of mallards exceeding 10,000 (largest, 13,500 on 20 October 1977). 
Movement from the region is dependent on weather conditions. Departure of 
the largest number of birds occurs by 20 November and those not wintering 
have departed by 15 December. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common breeding duck throughout the 
region; nesting has been reported from all counties. Most research has cen- 
tered on breeding populations in the pothole region of St. Croix and southern 
Polk counties, and at Crex Meadows. In the former area, Peterson (1978) 
estimated a breeding population of mallards of nearly 1.4 pairs per km 2 . At 
Crex Meadows, the estimated number of mallard breeding pairs on water- 
fowl survey transects ranged from 7 in 1973 to 55 in 1977 (WDNR files). 

Winter: Common wintering duck wherever open water is available. Large 
early winter flocks are usually associated with open water areas along the 
St. Croix River. Cooper and Johnson (1977) reported that 75 to 200 mallards 
wintered near Afton, Washington County, from 1974 to 1977. Substantial 
wintering populations are also known to occur along the Kinnickinnic River 
in Pierce County and southern St. Croix County. 

Habitat: Nesting mallards occupy a variety of wetland classes ranging from 
sedge meadows and acidic bogs to permanently flooded wetlands. Nesting 
pairs also use lowland forest habitat along rivers and streams, man-made 
impoundments, and stock-watering ponds created by the Soil Conservation 
Service. With the almost complete destruction of native grassland habitat, 
these ducks now commonly nest in haylands and oat and corn fields. Several 
thousand acres of Managed Grasslands have been established by govern- 
ment agencies to provide dense waterfowl nesting cover. 

Black Duck (Anas rubripes) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Uncommon spring migrant in all regions; fairly common in the 
fall in the Northern Highland and locally at the Crex Meadows Wildlife 
Area, Burnett County. Spring migrants arrive along the St. Croix River 
about 15 March, generally moving to natural basin wetlands 1-10 April. No 
peak spring concentrations of black ducks have been noted, although they 
are most frequently observed 10-25 April. Departure from nonbreeding 
areas usually occurs by 15 May. Stragglers have been noted during late May 
and throughout the summer, primarily in the Western Upland. 

Fall migrants arrive in the Western Upland 5-10 September. Peak fall 



38 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

populations occur 20 October to 10 November. Largest concentrations have 
been noted at the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Burnett County; 1,000 indi- 
viduals were recorded 14 November 1964, 7 November 1965, and 28 October 
1966. In the Western Upland, greatest numbers occur in central St. Croix 
County and along the St. Croix River and backwaters 25 October to 5 No- 
vember. During fall migration, black ducks are usually observed in close 
association with flocks of mallards. Departure during fall occurs 15 Novem- 
ber to 1 December, depending on weather conditions. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Locally occurring nesting duck, primarily in 
the Northern Highland. Green and Janssen (1975) have mapped the breeding 
distribution of this duck in Minnesota and indicated it as a regular nesting 
bird in northern Pine County. There are two Washington County nest rec- 
ords: 24 May 1971, a female with 10 young was observed near Hugo, Minne- 
sota, and nesting was reported during the summer of 1978 (Green 1979). Pair 
counts at Crex Meadows from 1957 to 1976 revealed an average of 1.1 pairs 
per year; broods were observed in 1957 and 1971 (WDNR files). Jackson 
(1941) observed one black duck near Solon Springs, Douglas County, on 
8 August 1919. In St. Croix County, one pair was observed near New Rich- 
mond on 28 June 1975. They may have been nonbreeding birds or late 
migrants. 

Winter: Fairly common winter resident wherever there is open water. 
Recorded primarily along the lower St. Croix River (Hudson-Stillwater) and 
below the dam at Taylors Falls. One midwinter record for Crex Meadows, 
Burnett County, 12 January 1955. 

Habitat: The black duck is primarily a species of northern forested wetlands. 
Typical habitat consists of 0.5 ha or larger permanently flooded wetlands 
that are slightly acidic. Pairs and broods have also been noted on acid bog 
wetlands and beaver ponds. 

Gadwall (Anas strepera) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual winter resident. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain; 
uncommon to rare in the Northern Highland except at Crex Meadows. 
Spring migrants arrive 25 March to 5 April in the Western Upland, reaching 
the Northern Highland 10-15 April (earliest— 31 March 1958, Burnett 
County). Peak spring migration occurs 15-25 April and departure of non- 
breeders occurs 5-15 May. 

Fall migrants arrive 20-30 September reaching peak numbers 10-15 Octo- 
ber. The largest concentration recorded at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, 
was 400 on 3 October 1970, and the largest number on the St. Croix County 
wetlands was 150 on 10 October 1975. Departure of fall migrants occurs 
after mid-October and most birds have left by 10 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local nesting species with confirmed 
brood records from St. Croix, Polk, and Burnett counties. Gadwalls were 
released at the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Burnett County, during 1970 in 
an attempt to establish this prairie duck on seeded native prairie grasslands. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 39 

This release met with limited success because the first brood was not ob- 
served until 1974. In the prairie wetlands of southern Polk and central St. 
Croix counties, gadwalls occur as a rare nesting species in a narrow band be- 
tween Roberts (St. Croix County) and Alden Township (Polk County). 

Winter: One bird was recorded on the Afton CBC in St. Croix County on 
1 January 1973. 

Habitat: Nesting gadwalls at Crex Meadows are generally associated with 
man-made potholes constructed to resemble natural basin wetlands. In St. 
Croix and southern Polk counties, breeding pairs are typically associated 
with seasonally and semipermanently flooded wetlands. Vegetation of these 
wetlands is composed of cattail, bulrushes, and various other emergent 
species. 

Pintail (Anas acuta) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, one winter record. 

Migration: Fairly common spring migrant in the Western Upland and 
Central Plain, uncommon and local in the Northern Highland. Pintails are 
among the first dabbling ducks to arrive in the region, usually 5-15 March. 
Peak spring populations occur 10-20 April, and depart by 15 May. Goddard 
(1975) found that pintails made up 0.9% of the spring migrant waterfowl in 
St. Croix County and 2.8% of the migrant dabbling duck population. 

Fall migrants arrive in late August. During the fall, pintails are fairly com- 
mon at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, in central St. Croix, and eastern 
Washington counties, and in southern Polk County. They are rare and local 
in other regions during this period. Peak fall populations occur 25 Septem- 
ber to 10 October and departure occurs by 15 November. Largest fall popu- 
lations at Crex Meadows have been 400 birds reported on 4 October 1956, 
29 September 1964, and 27 September 1973. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon and local nesting species with rec- 
ords from Washington (Green and Janssen 1975), St. Croix, Polk, and Bur- 
nett counties. In central St. Croix and southern Polk counties, pintails made 
up 0.8% of the breeding duck population (Peterson 1978). At Crex Meadows, 
waterfowl pair counts indicated that pintails constituted about 1% of the 
yearly breeding population from 1957-78 (WDNR files). 

Winter: One pintail was observed on the St. Croix River, Burnett County, on 
12 and 13 January 1949 (Robbins 1949). Afton CBC data include single pin- 
tails on 1 January 1972 and 1973, and two birds on 1 January 1974, 1976, 
and 1978. 

Habitat: Nesting pintails are typically associated with seasonally and semi- 
permanently flooded wetlands that support a lush growth of emergent 
aquatic vegetation. 

Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, two winter records. 



40 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Migration: Fairly common migrant in all regions, locally common during 
spring in the Western Upland. Spring migrants begin to arrive in the West- 
ern Upland 25 March to 1 April (earliest— 15 March, St. Croix County). 
Arrival in the Northern Highland occurs 5-10 April. Peak spring popula- 
tions occur 15-25 April and departure of nonbreeding birds occurs by 
15 May. In St. Croix County, Goddard (1975) found that green-winged teal 
made up 4.6% of the spring waterfowl population and 13.6% of the dabbling 
ducks. 

Fall migration begins about 25 August with a slow increase of numbers in 
the Central Plain and Northern Highland. Peak populations occur 
1-15 October in the Northern Highland. The largest population recorded at 
Crex Meadows, Burnett County, was 600 birds on 2 October 1971. Peak fall 
populations in the Western Upland occur 10-25 October. Although depar- 
ture is fairly slow, most green-winged teal have departed by 15 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon to rare nesting species throughout 
the Valley. Most observations of birds during this period are made in the 
prairie wetland region of St. Croix, Polk, and Washington counties, and at 
Crex Meadows. Green-winged teal are the fourth most common breeding 
duck at Crex Meadows (WDNR files). In St. Croix and Polk counties, green- 
winged teal constitute about 0.4% of the breeding waterfowl population. 

Winter: One bird was observed on the Afton CBC on 1 January 1972. N. R. 
Stone observed three birds at Clam Lake, Burnett County, on 13 February 
1950 (Robbins 1950a). 

Habitat: Pairs and broods are associated with seasonally and semiperma- 
nently flooded wetlands. Of seven green-winged teal nests that I located in 
St. Croix County in 1976, all were in alfalfa fields. 



Blue-winged Teal {Anas discors) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Abundant migrant in the Western Upland, common in the 
Central Plain, and fairly common (locally common) in the Northern High- 
land. Goddard (1975) found that blue-winged teal made up 14.4% of all 
waterfowl and 43% of all dabbling ducks using St. Croix County wetlands in 
spring. 

Blue-winged teal are among the last migrant ducks to arrive in spring; 
average arrival date is 5 April (earliest— 23 March 1976, St. Croix County). 
Populations build rapidly and peak numbers are usually noted 20 April to 
10 May. The first migrants usually arrive in the Northern Highlands about 
20 April and reach peak populations 5-15 May. 

Fall migrants begin to form large feeding aggregations in late July and 
early August. Peak fall populations occur early; the largest number (1,200) 
observed at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, was on 17 September 1976. 
Typically, large numbers of blue-winged teal are observed 10-25 September 
in St. Croix and Washington counties (1,000 on 23 September 1975). Depar- 
ture from the region is very rapid after peak populations occur, and most 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 41 

birds are gone by 20 October (latest— 2 December 1973, Washington 
County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Abundant nesting duck on prairie wetlands of 
St. Croix, Polk, and Washington counties. Preliminary data collected by the 
WDNR (Peterson 1978) show a breeding density of about 1.7 pairs per km 2 
in St. Croix and Polk counties. At Crex Meadows, blue-winged teal are the 
most abundant breeding duck, averaging nearly 42% of all breeding pairs 
observed from 1957-78 (WDNR files). 

Habitat: Blue-winged teal use a wide variety of wetland types for nesting, 
ranging from sedge meadows to bog wetlands. Largest densities occur on 
seasonally, semipermanently, and permanently flooded wetlands containing 
an abundance of submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation. To a lesser 
extent, breeding pairs also use stock ponds and dugout ponds created by the 
Soil Conservation Service. Lowland Deciduous Forest habitat along streams 
and rivers is regularly used. 



Cinnamon Teal (Anas cyanoptera) 

Status: Casual spring and fall migrant. 

Records: Cinnamon teal have been observed four times at Crex Meadows, 
Burnett County: 14 April 1953 (six birds); 25 April 1955 (two); 8 May 1956. 
Hunt and Jahn (1968) observed a male cinnamon teal at Crex Meadows on 
21 April 1968. One bird was observed in Washington County on 16 April 
1963 (Honetschlager 1963). Roberts (1932) cited the collection of a male 
cinnamon teal near Stacy, Chisago County, "sometime between October 5- 
15, 1923." A second male was obtained "at almost identically the same 
place" on 15 September 1924. 



American Wigeon (Anas americana) 

Status: Regular migrant and casual nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant in the Western Upland; uncommon in 
the Central Plain and Northern Highland. Goddard (1975) found that Ameri- 
can wigeon made up 2.2% of all waterfowl and 4.5% of the dabbling ducks 
using St. Croix County wetlands during spring migration. 

Spring riigrants arrive in the Western Upland 20-30 March; the earliest 
birds occur along the St. Croix River. Arrival is somewhat later at Crex 
Meadows, Burnett County, where the average arrival is 8 April. Movement 
into the Valley is very rapid and peak populations are usually observed 
10-25 April. Departure from the Valley usually occurs 10-25 May. 

Fall migrants arrive in late August and build up rapidly, reaching peak 
populations 25 September to 10 October. The largest number observed at 
Crex Meadows (400) occurred on 3 October 1970. In St. Croix County, fall 
peak populations of 200 to 300 birds are common and 720 were observed on 
3 October 1976. Departure from the Valley occurs 1-10 November (latest— 
15 December 1974, Washington County). 



42 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Nesting Season Distribution: Nest records of American wigeon have been 
confirmed only at Crex Meadows: two broods (eight each) in July 1967 (first 
brood observed on 14 July); one brood observed in 1970 and 1971; one brood 
of four observed on 21 July 1975, and two broods during 1976. Elsewhere, 
summering pairs are regularly observed in St. Croix and Polk counties. The 
only evidence suggestive of nesting was a female acting "broody" on a pond 
1.6 km northwest of New Richmond on 20 July 1977. Although summering 
pairs are regularly observed in Washington County near Lake Elmo, no evi- 
dence of nesting has been obtained. 

Habitat: Breeding pairs at Crex Meadows are typically associated with large 
man-made impoundments. In St. Croix and Washington counties summer- 
ing American wigeon pairs are associated with semipermanently flooded 
wetlands. 

Northern Shoveler {Anas clypeata) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common spring migrant in the Western Upland, uncom- 
mon to rare elsewhere. Rare throughout the Valley during fall migration. 
Goddard (1975) found that the northern shoveler made up 2.2% of the water- 
fowl population and 6.4% of the dabbling duck population in St. Croix 
County during spring migration. 

Spring migrants arrive 1-5 April (earliest— 24 March 1976, St. Croix 
County). Peak spring migration in the Western Upland occurs 20 April to 
5 May and departure occurs 15-20 May. Elsewhere, arrival occurs 10-20 
April (average 15 April at Crex Meadows). Peak spring populations occur 
about 10 May and departure by 20 May. Fall migrants begin to arrive 
10-20 August. Peak fall populations cannot be determined because of the 
small number of birds usually observed. Departure from the Valley occurs 
by 15 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Regular nesting species at Crex Meadows, 
Burnett County, where up to eight pairs per year have been recorded on 
breeding waterfowl survey transects (WDNR files). Elsewhere, northern 
shoveler s are encountered irregularly during the breeding season in St. 
Croix, southern Polk, and Washington counties. 

Habitat: Soft-bottomed semipermanently and permanently flooded wet- 
lands supporting populations of macroinvertebrates are usually occupied 
during the nesting season. During spring migration, extensive use is made 
of temporarily flooded wetlands. 



Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual in early winter. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 
in the Western Upland 15-20 March (earliest— 6 March 1975, Pierce 
County). Spring migration progresses according to the opening of river sys- 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 43 

terns and arrival in the Northern Highland occurs 1-10 April. Peak spring 
migration occurs 15-25 April in the Western Upland and 25 April to 5 May 
in the Northern Highland. Goddard (1975) reported that wood ducks consti- 
tuted 0.4% of the total spring waterfowl population and 1.2% of the dab- 
bling duck population on prairie wetlands in St. Croix County. This low per- 
centage is undoubtedly related to their preference for riverine habitats. 

Fall migration begins during mid- August with the formation of feeding 
groups. A gradual buildup in numbers occurs throughout September. Peak 
populations at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, usually occur 20 September 
to 5 October; the largest groups were noted on 4 October 1967 (1,500) and 
14 September 1968 (1,000). Elsewhere, peak populations occur 1-20 Octo- 
ber. Especially important riverine staging areas occur along the Kettle 
River (Pine County), Apple River (Polk and St. Croix counties), and Willow 
River (St. Croix County). Departure from the Valley occurs rapidly after 
mid-October; the latest dates were 20 November 1976 and 20 December 
1956 (both Washington County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon to fairly common nesting species 
in all regions. Nesting records exist for all counties and nesting birds are 
numerous along the larger tributaries of the St. Croix River. In St. Croix 
County, the wood duck ranks third in abundance behind mallard and blue- 
winged teal as a breeding duck (B. A. Moss, personal communication). 

Winter: Winter records include 1 January 1972 and 1973 (Afton CBC, Wash- 
ington County); 27 December 1970 (Solon Springs CBC, Douglas County); 
and 20 January 1975 (McKenzie Creek, Polk County). 

Habitat: Primary habitat use by nesting wood ducks includes wooded 
streams, rivers, backwater sloughs, and wooded lakes. In the Northern 
Highland, breeding pairs also use tamarack bogs and spruce-lined lakes. In 
the Western Upland, use of prairie wetlands has been enhanced by the place- 
ment of artificial nest boxes. 

Redhead (Ay thya americana) 

Status: Regular migrant and casual nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant in the Western Upland, particularly in 
western St. Croix and eastern Washington counties. Uncommon to rare else- 
where, especially in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the 
Western Upland 5-10 April (earliest— 23 March, St. Croix County). Peak 
abundance occurs 25 April to 5 May and most have departed by 25 May. 
Goddard (1975) found that redheads made up 2% of the total spring water- 
fowl population and 4.5% of the spring diving duck population in St. Croix 
County. At the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Burnett County, the average 
date of spring arrival is 15 April; peak populations occur 1-10 May, and 
departure by 1 June. 

Fall migrants begin to arrive 10-20 September. Populations build slowly 
through October, reaching largest numbers 20 October to 1 November. The 
principal fall migration route used by redheads is south of the Valley. 
Because of this, concentrations larger than 50 birds are rarely encountered 



44 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

during fall migration. Departure from the region occurs rapidly after 15 No- 
vember; occasional stragglers linger along open areas of the St. Croix River 
until 1 December. 

Nesting Season Distribution: There are six breeding records for the Valley: a 
female with a brood of four on West Twin Lake, St. Croix County, 1968 (J. T. 
Lokemoen); a female with a brood of four on East Twin Lake, St. Croix 
County, 1975 (B. A. Moss); females with broods of five and six on the Gust 
Waterfowl Production Area, St. Croix County, 1976 and 1977 (C. A. 
Faanes); two broods of six and seven on Oakridge Lake during July 1976. 
Elsewhere, occasional summering pairs have been observed in central Wash- 
ington and southern Polk counties, although no broods have been observed. 
At Crex Meadows, summering pairs are noted almost yearly, although the 
only suggestion of nesting was a female acting "broody" on 16 June 1975 
(S. D. Robbins, personal communication). 

Habitat: All redhead broods have been observed on large permanently 
flooded wetlands where the dominant emergent vegetation consists of cat- 
tail and river bulrush. 

Ring-necked Duck (Ay thy a collaris) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual in winter. 

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland about 15 March and the Northern Highland 
1-5 April (earliest— 20 March 1950, Burnett County). Peak populations of 
spring migrants occur 20 April to 1 May. Goddard (1975) found that ring- 
necked ducks were the second most abundant spring migrant duck in St. 
Croix County, making up 14.8% of the total waterfowl population and 32.8% 
of the diving duck population. Departure from nonbreeding areas occurs by 
20 May. 

Fall migrants begin to form flocks in the Northern Highland in mid-Sep- 
tember and the first migrants reach the Western Upland about 25 Septem- 
ber. Peak fall populations at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, usually occur 
20-30 October and have included 5,000 (25 October 1967), 5,500 (25 October 
1965), and 7,500 (26 October 1966). In the Western Upland, peak popula- 
tions occur about 1 November and include up to 1,500 birds (B. A. Moss, 
personal communication). Departure from the Valley occurs steadily 
through November with stragglers occurring along the St. Croix River until 
1 December. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon nesting species in the Western 
Upland; fairly common in the Central Plain and Northern Highland, com- 
mon at Crex Meadows. Breeding records have been obtained in all counties 
except Pierce and the breeding range includes the area north of Marine-on- 
St. Croix and New Richmond. 

Breeding waterfowl surveys at Crex Meadows reveal that the ring-necked 
duck is the third most numerous nesting species (WDNR files). In St. Croix 
and southern Polk counties, Peterson (1978) found that ring-necked ducks 
constituted an insignificant percentage of the breeding population. How- 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 45 

ever, most ring-necked duck breeding activity in St. Croix and Polk counties 
occurs west and north of Peterson's study area. 

Winter: One male was observed on the Afton CBC 1 January 1975. 

Habitat: Ring-necked ducks are primarily a species of permanently flooded 
wetlands in the forested areas of the Valley. Typical brood habitat consists 
of slightly acidic water and scattered growths of pond lily, bulrush, and cat- 
tail. Beaver ponds are commonly used in the northern counties and acid bogs 
are occasionally used. 

Canvasback (Aythya valisineria) 

Status: Regular migrant and casual summer resident, one nesting record 
and one winter record. 

Migration: Uncommon spring and fall migrant in the Western Upland and 
Central Plain, rare in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in late 
March (earliest— 16 March). Peak abundance occurs 10-25 April and depar- 
ture occurs 10-20 May .Goddard (1975) found that the canvasback made up 
0.4% of the total spring waterfowl population and 1.0% of the diving duck 
population in St. Croix County. Fall migration begins in mid-September 
with arrival of small flocks on the larger lakes and the St. Croix River. Peak 
fall populations occur 15 October to 1 November and departure by 30 No- 
vember. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Casual summer resident in St. Croix County 
and at Crex Meadows, Burnett County. The only nesting record is my obser- 
vation of a hen with a brood of eight on Oakridge Lake, St. Croix County, on 
8 July 1976. Summering pairs are occasionally observed on other prairie 
wetlands although no evidence of nesting is available. Elsewhere, summer- 
ing pairs were observed at Crex Meadows in 1950, 1962, 1975, and 1978. 

Winter: A male canvasback was observed on the Afton CBC, Washington 
County, on 1 January 1975. 

Habitat: The nesting record was obtained on a large permanently flooded 
wetland. Dominant vegetation included softstem bulrush, cattail, and river 
bulrush. Most additional summer records are the birds on semi-open perma- 
nent wetlands. During migration, canvasbacks utilize most wetland types, 
although a preference is shown for semipermanently and permanently 
flooded wetlands. 

Greater Scaup (Ay thy a mania) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Rare migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 
5-15 April and are most regularly observed 25 April to 5 May. First 
migrants are usually observed on the St. Croix River, followed by an in- 
crease of observations away from the river. Departure from the Valley 
occurs by 15 May (latest-29 May 1968, Burnett County). Goddard (1975) 
failed to record the greater scaup during four spring field seasons in St. 



46 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Croix County. 

Fall migrants occur 5 October to 20 November; most records are 20 Octo- 
ber to 5 November. Fall migrants are usually observed intermixed with 
large rafts of lesser scaup, whereas in spring migration, greater scaup seem 
to be more segregated from lesser scaup. 

Habitat: Large, open permanently flooded wetlands typically support the 
most greater scaup in this region. Cedar Lake on the Polk-St. Croix County 
line is probably the most productive lake in the region for observing greater 
scaup. 

Lesser Scaup (Ay thy a a f finis) 

Status: Regular migrant, casual nesting species, and occasional in early 
winter. 

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley. The lesser scaup is the 
most numerous migrant duck in the Valley. In St. Croix County, Goddard 
(1975) found that lesser scaup made up 24.6% of the total spring waterfowl 
population and 54.6% of the diving duck population. Spring migrants arrive 
in the Western Upland 10-15 March (earliest— 6 March 1976, Washington 
County) and the Northern Highland 1-10 April. Peak spring populations 
occur 20 April to 10 May when flocks of 700 to 1,000 individuals are typi- 
cally observed on larger lakes. Departure occurs 20-30 May. 

Fall migrants arrive 20 September to 1 October. Fall migration is charac- 
terized by a rather low increase in numbers until about 20 October when 
large influxes occur. Peak fall populations at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, 
Burnett County, occur 25 October to 5 November and have totaled up to 
7,000 individuals (30 October 1965). In the Western Upland, peak fall popu- 
lations larger than 3,000 individuals are observed 25 October to 5 Novem- 
ber. Departure from the Valley is dependent on ice conditions on larger 
lakes; most birds depart by 1 December. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Regular summer resident on wetlands in Polk, 
St. Croix, and central Washington counties. Usually up to 10 pairs can be 
found on wetlands near New Richmond, St. Croix County. There are two 
brood records for the Valley; both broods were found on 7 July 1976, on wet- 
lands in Alden Township, Polk County. These broods were within 0.8 km of 
each other and constituted the eighth and ninth, 20th century breeding rec- 
ords for Wisconsin. At Crex Meadows, 10 pairs were observed during 1958. 
Since then at least one pair has been present yearly; however, no broods 
have been observed. Jackson (1942) reported the collection of a male lesser 
scaup on Upper St. Croix Lake, Douglas County, on 1 August 1919. 

Winter: Occasional early winter visitor primarily on open stretches of rivers. 
These birds are probably late fall migrants rather than wintering birds 
because no midwinter records exist. Dates range from 22 December 1956 to 
1 January 1973, 1975, 1976 (Afton CBC); 29 December 1973 to 3 January 
1976 (Suburban St. Paul CBC); 12-13 January 1949, 12 January 1955, 
9 January 1956, and 7 January 1957 (Crex Meadows); 31 January 1949, St. 
Croix Falls (Polk County); and 23 December 1975, Solon Springs CBC 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 47 

(Douglas County). 

Habitat: The Polk County broods were observed on semipermanently 
flooded wetlands. Dominant vegetation included cattail, burreed, and coon- 
tail. Most summering pairs are observed on small semipermanent wetlands. 

Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident, one summer record. 

^Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley, most numerous along 
the St. Croix River and on large lakes of the Northern Highland. Fall 
migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 20 September to 1 October and 
reach the Western Upland 10-20 October. Peak fall common goldeneye 
populations occur 10-30 November. 

Spring migrants reach peak abundance 10 March to 1 April and most have 
departed by 1 May (latest— 30 May 1967, Burnett County). Movement of 
spring migrants is similar to fall; most birds use rivers and large lakes. 
Goddard (1975) found that common goldeneyes on prairie wetlands made up 
<1% of the total spring waterfowl population; his 4-year observations 
totaled 707 individuals. On the St. Croix River < 16 km from Goddard 's 
study area, daily totals in excess of 100 individuals were recorded on 
8 March 1975, 11 March 1977, and 9 April 1978. Yearly totals in excess of 
2,000 individuals along the St. Croix River were regularly recorded from 
1972 to 1978. 

Winter: Common winter resident wherever open water is present. Primary 
wintering populations occur at the confluence of the St. Croix and Missis- 
sippi Rivers at Prescott, Wisconsin (150 to 200 individuals); below the Alan 
S. King generating plant at Bayport (Washington County); near Hudson 
(425 on 1974 Afton CBC and 360 on 1975 Afton CBC); and below the electric 
generating dam at St. Croix Falls-Taylors Falls (50 to 100 individuals). 

Summer: S. D. Robbins observed a lone male throughout the summer of 
1967 in St. Croix County. 

Habitat: Large open stretches of rivers that apparently support healthy 
populations of fishes and invertebrates. During migration, common golden- 
eyes are typically associated with large ( > 20 ha) permanent lakes. 

Barrow's Goldeneye {Bucephala islandica) 

Status: Accidental, two records. 

Records: Faanes and Goddard (1976) cited one observation from East Twin 
Lake, St. Croix County, on 8 May 1975. M. R. Olson observed one male 
along Trout Brook Road near Hudson, St. Croix County, on 1 January 1977. 
The bird was observed again on 2 January 1977 on the St. Croix River. 

Buf flehead (Bucephala albeola) 

Status: Regular migrant, one summer and one winter record. 



48 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Migration: Fairly common migrant in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain; common on forested lakes in the Northern Highland. Goddard (1975) 
found that buffleheads constituted 1.6% of the total spring waterfowl popu- 
lation and 3.5% of the diving duck population on prairie wetlands in central 
St. Croix County. 

Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 20 March to 1 April 
(earliest— 13 March 1966, Washington County) and peak populations occur 
about 20 April. Migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 1-10 April, reach- 
ing peak numbers 15-25 April. Departure from the Valley occurs by 25 May. 
Fall migrants arrive in the Northern Highland about 1 October and the 
Western Upland about 5 October. Peak fall populations occur 20 October to 
1 November and departure occurs by 25 November. Peak fall populations on 
central St. Croix County wetlands usually total 150 to 200 individuals. 

Summer: S. D. Robbins observed a lone bufflehead at Crex Meadows, Bur- 
nett County, on 17 June 1976. This may have been an injured bird. 

Winter: A flock of 40 buffleheads was observed on the St. Croix River near 
Grantsburg, Burnett County, from 12-13 January 1949 (Robbins 1949). 

Habitat: Buffleheads are associated with a variety of wetland types during 
spring migration, including temporarily, seasonally, and permanently 
flooded wetlands, and riverine habitats. During fall migration buffleheads 
are usually associated with large semipermanently and permanently flooded 
wetlands. 



Oldsquaw (Clangula hyemalis) 

Status: Casual, five records. 

Records: Oldsquaw were observed on Oakridge Lake near New Richmond, 
St. Croix County, on 24 October 1974 (S. R. Schneider); 14 October 1975 
(R. E. Faanes); and 2 October 1977 (C. A. Faanes). One was observed at Crex 
Meadows Wildlife Area, Burnett County, on 22 April 1952 (Strelitzer 1952). 
In Washington County, three birds were observed on 6 January 1965. 



Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) 

Status: Accidental, one record. 

Record: One female common eider was shot on Phantom Lake, Crex 
Meadows Wildlife Area, Burnett County, on 10 November 1968 (Tessen 
19696). 

White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi) 

Status: Casual, four records. 

Records: N. R. Stone observed one at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, on 
8 May 1950 (Robbins 19506), and R. Brown observed one there on 12 Au- 
gust 1975. C. A. Faanes and W. Norling observed a female on Oakridge 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 49 

Lake, St. Croix County, on 18 October 1974. I observed a female at Amery, 
Polk County, on 9 November 1976. 

Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) 

Status: Casual, three records. 

Records: A single surf scoter was observed at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, 
Burnett County, on 5 October 1974. On 6 October 1974, two birds were shot 
from a group of four at Crex Meadows by J. O. Evrard. Photos were taken of 
the two birds. B. A. Moss observed a flock of six surf scoters on Deer Lake, 
Polk County, on 30 October 1975. 

Black Scoter (Melanitta nigra) 

Status: Casual, two records. 

Records: A female black scoter was observed on West Twin Lake near 
Roberts, St. Croix County, on 18 October 1974 (Faanes and Goddard 1976). 
On 1 January 1977, I observed a female black scoter with a group of black 
ducks and mallards at the mouth of the Kinnickinnic River, Pierce County 
(Lien and Lien 1977). 



Ruddy Duck [Oxyura jamaicensis) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, accidental in winter. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain, rare and local in the Northern Highland. Goddard (1975) reported that 
ruddy ducks constituted 1% of the total spring waterfowl population and 
2.2% of the diving duck population in St. Croix County. Ruddy ducks are the 
latest arriving waterfowl species in spring. The average arrival date is 
10 April in St. Croix County and 25 April at Crex Meadows, Burnett County 
(earliest dates— 24 March 1976, St. Croix County and 4 April 1948, Burnett 
County). Peak spring populations in St. Croix, Polk, and Washington coun- 
ties occur 25 April to 10 May; departure of nonbreeding birds is by 20 May. 
Fall migration begins in early September and peak numbers occur 25 Sep- 
tember to 15 October. The largest groups recorded during fall migration 
range from 25 to 30 birds per wetland. Departure from this region occurs by 
1 November (latest— 27 November 1967, Washington County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon and local breeding duck on prairie 
wetlands of St. Croix, Polk, and Washington counties. These breeding popu- 
lations occur in pockets of high density wetlands in the respective counties. 
Peterson (1978) reported that ruddy ducks made up < 1% of the total breed- 
ing duck population in St. Croix and Polk counties. Three brood records 
have been obtained at Crex Meadows, two in 1973 and one in 1974. 

Winter: One ruddy duck was observed on the Afton CBC on 22 December 
1956. 



50 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Habitat: Ruddy ducks are characteristic of semipermanently and perma- 
nently flooded wetlands that are dominated by cattail, hardstem bulrush, 
and river bulrush. Most wetlands occupied by breeding ruddy ducks vary 
from 1-3 m deep. 

Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, two winter records. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant throughout the Valley, fairly common 
locally along heavily wooded lakes and streams in the Northern Highland. 
Goddard (1972) reported that hooded mergansers made up 0.2% of the total 
spring waterfowl population in St. Croix County. This low percentage 
resulted from censusing prairie wetlands that are not utilized regularly by 
hooded mergansers. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-10 
April (earliest— 23 March 1968, St. Croix County) and the Northern High- 
land about 10 April (earliest— 14 March 1966, Burnett County). Peak abun- 
dance occurs 20 April to 5 May and departure from nonbreeding areas 
occurs by 15 May. Fall migration begins in early September in the Northern 
Highland and migrants reach the Western Upland about 15 September. 
Peak fall populations occur 15 October to 1 November and departure by 
20 November. Peak fall populations in western Wisconsin range from 50 to 
75 birds on important staging wetlands. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common (and local) breeding duck 
throughout the Valley. Hooded mergansers make up a small proportion of 
the breeding population on prairie wetlands where the most intensive sur- 
veys have been conducted. Lack of survey work along streams and in 
wooded lake regions contributes to the poor understanding of their breeding 
distribution. 

Winter: There are two winter records including one bird along the St. Croix 
River near Grantsburg, Burnett County, on 9 January 1956 and one bird on 
the Afton CBC on 1 January 1975. 

Habitat: In the Western Upland and Central Plain, breeding hooded mer- 
gansers use heavily wooded river and stream habitats for breeding. An 
abundance of dead trees providing natural nesting cavities is an important 
component of their breeding habitat. In the Northern Highland, breeding 
birds occupy large forest-bordered lakes and acidic bog-type lakes in addi- 
tion to riverine habitats. 



Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident, two summer records. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Goddard (1975) 
reported that common mergansers made up 0.1% of the total spring water- 
fowl population in St. Croix County. This estimate reflects late dates of 
censusing, which did not coincide with the peak migration period of this 
bird, rather than an actual low population. Spring migration begins with a 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 51 

noticeable influx about 20 February. Spring populations build rapidly 
through March reaching peak numbers 20-30 March and most birds have 
departed by 30 April. Fall migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 20-30 
September and reach the Western Upland about 10 October. Peak fall popu- 
lations occur 10 November to 1 December and non wintering birds have 
departed by 15 December. During peak fall periods, up to 1,000 individuals 
have been recorded along the lower St. Croix River in Washington County. 

Winter: Uncommon winter resident of the lower St. Croix River and along 
open stretches of water on major tributaries. The largest group recorded on 
the Afton CBC was 65 birds on 1 January 1958. Winter populations are 
directly related to the severity of winter weather. During 1974-75, groups of 
30 to 35 common mergansers were regularly observed along the St. Croix 
River through late December and early January. The record cold of 11 
January 1975 (-40 °C), froze nearly the entire river system and common mer- 
gansers were not observed again until mid-February when the first migrants 
returned. 

Summer: Three common mergansers were observed in Chisago County on 16 
June 1975 (Eckert 1976), and a lone male was observed near New Richmond, 
St. Croix County, on 27 June 1975. These birds undoubtedly were lingering 
migrants. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of large, deep, permanently flooded wetlands 
and the major rivers of the Valley. 

Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) 

Status: Regular migrant, two summer and one winter records. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley, occasionally 
common on larger lakes of the Central Plain. Goddard (1975) reported that 
red-breasted mergansers made up only 0.3% of the total spring waterfowl 
population in St. Croix County. This estimate indicates that censuses were 
concentrated on smaller wetlands and were not conducted to coincide with 
peak migration. 

Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland about 20 March and reach 
the Northern Highland 1-10 April. Peak spring migration occurs 10-25 
April and departure by 15 May. Fall migrants arrive in the Northern High- 
land 20-30 September and reach the Western Upland about 10 October. 
Peak fall populations occur 25 October to 15 November and departure by 10 
December. During the peak of fall migration, concentrations of 50 to 75 
birds are typically recorded on important staging wetlands. 

Summer: A lone female was observed at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, on 
1 July 1955. In Washington County an injured bird was observed 24 June 
1975 (Eckert 1976). 

Winter: A group of four was observed on the St. Croix River on the Afton 
CBC, 1 January 1975. Five were observed in St. Croix County on 5 January 
1942 (Barger 1942). 

Habitat: Red-breasted mergansers are characteristic of large, deep-water 



52 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

permanently flooded wetlands and riverine habitats. Occasional small 
groups of migrants occur on semipermanently flooded wetlands during 
spring migration. 



FAMILY CATHARTIDAE: American Vultures 

Turkey Vulture [Cathartes aura) 

Status: Regular migrant and probable nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley, becoming 
common at Crex Meadows during the fall. Spring migrants arrive during the 
first week of April (earliest— 24 March 1963 and 1977, Pierce County). Peak 
spring migration occurs between 20 April and 1 May and most depart by 
15 May. Peak fall migration occurs 15-25 September; departure occurs by 
15 October (latest— 23 November 1948 and 30 November 1950, Burnett 
County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare to uncommon summer resident through- 
out the Valley, most regularly observed in the forested regions along the 
upper St. Croix River. Roberts (1932) reported turkey vultures nesting 
"along the St. Croix River"; however, he provided no dates or locations. 
Turkey vultures are regularly observed during the summer between Pres- 
cott and Stillwater. This area of extensively wooded bluffs provides excel- 
lent breeding habitat for vultures. Although young are observed during late 
July, no nests have been found. 

Habitat: Habitat used by turkey vulture during the nesting season consists 
of Southern Deciduous Forest occurring on bluffs along the St. Croix River. 



FAMILY ACCIPITRIDAE: Hawks and Harriers 

Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) 

Status: Accidental, one record. 

Record: One bird was found dead along Highway 95 near Marine-on-St. 
Croix, Washington County, on 29 April 1966. The specimen is now in the col- 
lection of the Minnesota Museum of Natural History (#23152). 



Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) 
Status: Accidental, one record. 

Record: A single bird was observed at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, on 
27 May 1976 (Hofslund and Niemi 1977). 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 53 

Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident, casual nesting species. 

Migration: Rare migrant throughout the Valley. Most regularly observed in 
the forested areas of the Northern Highland and Central Plain, casual in the 
Western Upland. Fall migrants begin to arrive in mid-September and are 
most conspicuous from mid-October to mid-December. Spring migration 
begins in late February with dispersal toward nesting areas. Goshawks are 
most conspicuous in spring 15 March to 10 April and have departed by 
30 April. 

Nesting Season Distribution: One nesting record for Burnett County; an 
adult incubating during May 1973 (W. Norling). A nest at Camp Wilder, 
Washington County, in 1967, was abandoned because of excessive human 
activity in the immediate area (Huber 1967). Numerous sight records, pri- 
marily from the Northern Highland, indicate that additional nesting records 
are probable. 

Winter: Rare to uncommon winter resident throughout the Valley. Most fre- 
quently observed in the heavily forested Northern Highland. 

Habitat: The Burnett County nest was in mixed jack pine-oak habitat. 
Additional nesting season records have been obtained from mature North- 
ern Hardwood Forest, mixed coniferous forest, and jack pine-oak habitat. 

Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Uncommon spring and fairly common fall migrant throughout 
the Valley. Occasionally 30 to 40 migrant sharp-shinned hawks can be ob- 
served per day along the St. Croix River. Spring migration begins in mid- 
March; largest numbers occur 10-25 April. Most birds have arrived on nest- 
ing territories by 10 May. Fall migration begins in mid-August and peak 
numbers are reached 10 September to 10 October. Most have departed by 
15 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon to rare during the nesting season 
in the Central Plain and Northern Highland. Although this hawk is regularly 
observed during the nesting season, only one nest has been found. On 
23 May 1976, I found one sharp-shinned hawk nest in the McKenzie Creek 
Wildlife Area, Polk County. Other observers, primarily Jackson (1941) and 
Bernard (1967) have recorded this species during the nesting season but 
failed to find a nest. In the Minnesota counties, Green and Janssen (1975) 
stated that during the summer this hawk is "most numerous in the north 
central, northeastern . . . regions." 

Winter: Uncommon to rare winter resident in the Western Upland and Cen- 
tral Plain. Casual in midwinter in the Northern Highland. Three were ob- 
served on Solon Springs (Douglas County) CBC on 30 December 1973. 

Habitat: The Polk County nest was situated about 4.6 m from the ground in 
an aspen tree. Surrounding vegetation consisted of young as- 



54 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



pen-maple-basswood forest, intermixed with red pine. Additional summer 
observations have been made in similar habitat and in brushy "edge" situa- 
tions. This hawk is usually observed in oak-maple woodlots along the St. 
Croix River during winter. Occasionally, an individual will frequent feeding 
stations in residential areas. 



Cooper's Hawk {Accipiter cooperii) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. The WDNR 
has listed this species as threatened (Les 1979). Alteration of nesting habitat 
resulting from intensive farming is a primary cause for their decline. 

Migration: Uncommon to rare migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migra- 
tion begins in mid-March; birds are most frequently encountered 
10-25 April. Nonsummering birds have departed by 15 May. Fall migration 
begins in late August and continues through mid-October. Because of the 
low number of birds observed during fall migration, no indication of peak 
movements is provided. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare nesting species throughout the Valley. 
Although this hawk is regularly observed during the summer, only two con- 
firmed nesting records exist. On 13 June 1976 a nest containing two young, 
and on 29 June 1976 a nest containing one young, were found 8 km west and 
4.8 km east of Star Prairie, St. Croix County. Goddard (1972) reported one 
pair during the breeding season in Pierce County and Jackson (1941) re- 
ported a breeding season record (31 May 1919) for Burnett County. Nu- 
merous other breeding season records exist, but data on eggs or young are 
lacking. 

Winter: Rare winter resident in the Western Upland; casual to absent else- 
where. 

Habitat: Both St. Croix County nests were in second-growth red oak wood- 
lots, bordered by brushy fencerows. I have observed this species during the 
breeding season in similar second-growth habitats and in mixed jack 
pine-oak situations in Burnett and Pine counties. Wintering birds are regu- 
larly observed occupying Lowland Deciduous Forest habitats during this 
period. Like the sharp-shinned hawk, this species will occasionally frequent 
bird feeding stations in residential areas during the winter. 

Red- tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Common (locally abundant) migrant throughout the Valley. 
During both seasons, large numbers of migrants can be observed associated 
with the St. Croix River and at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Burnett 
County. Spring migration begins in mid-February in the Western Upland 
and Central Plain, reaching the Northern Highland about 1 March. Peak 
spring movements occur 20 March to 15 April, and nonbreeders have de- 
parted by 1 May. Fall migration begins in mid- August with dispersal of 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 55 

juveniles from nesting areas. Peak fall movements occur 20 September to 
10 October in the Northern Highland and throughout October elsewhere. 
Nonwintering birds have departed by 1 December. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species in all regions, most 
conspicuous in agricultural areas. Nest records have been obtained for all 
counties except Chisago. Analysis of Breeding Bird Survey data indicate 
that the red-tailed hawk is the most frequently encountered breeding hawk 
in the Western Upland and Central Plain. 

Winter: Fairly common to uncommon winter resident in the Western 
Upland. Uncommon to rare in the Central Plain and rare to absent in the 
Northern Highland. Birds normally depart the northern regions by mid-Jan- 
uary. In open agricultural areas along the lower St. Croix River, red-tailed 
hawks are the most frequently encountered hawk during the winter. 

Habitat: Red-tailed hawks use a large variety of habitats during the nesting 
season. In agricultural areas this hawk will use brushy field margins, small 
woodlots, and woods edge situations. In the Northern Highland, the species 
is usually associated with field borders of extensive Northern Deciduous 
Forest and Coniferous Forest. Jack Pine Barren and Lowland Deciduous 
Forest probably receive the lowest frequency of use by nesting red-tailed 
hawks. 

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. The Wis- 
consin DNR has listed this species as threatened (Les 1979). Habitat 
destruction is considered the primary reason for their decline. 

Migration: Uncommon to rare migrant in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain; rare to absent in the Northern Highland. Spring migration begins in 
mid-February with a gradual movement into the Western Upland along the 
St. Croix River. Migrants have reached the Central Plain by 25 March (ear- 
liest— 11 March 1950. 16 March 1975; Polk County). Red-shouldered hawk 
migration is rather diffuse, consisting primarily of movements of solitary 
individuals. Consequently, determination of peak dates is difficult. Most 
birds have reached nesting territories by mid- April. Fall migration is equally 
diffuse, consisting of a gradual movement from nesting areas. During fall, 
red-shouldered hawks are most conspicuous throughout October and non- 
wintering birds have departed by 1 December. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon and local nesting species in the 
Western Upland and Central Plain, rare and local in the Northern Highland. 
A. C. Rosenwinkel found young in a nest along the Willow River, Pine 
County, on 7 April 1949 (Mierow 1949). Establishment of the red-shouldered 
hawk as a nesting bird in the Valley is apparently very recent. Roberts 
(1932) mentioned no nests from Minnesota, and cited only one summer 
record (3 July 1927, at Marine-on-St. Croix, Washington County). Behavior 
and plumage of that bird suggested nesting. Since th.it time, however, the 
red-shouldered hawk has been recorded regularly, and there are presently 
nest records for all the counties except Douglas. 



56 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Winter: Rare and local winter resident of Lowland Deciduous Forests in the 
Western Upland, casual elsewhere. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of medium-aged to mature Lowland Deciduous 
Forest. Rarely encountered away from this habitat type during the breeding 
season. S. D. Robbins and I recorded one red-shouldered hawk, apparently 
on territory, in mature black spruce habitat near Range, Polk County, on 
16 March 1975. 

Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common spring and common fall migrant throughout the 
Valley. During peak fall migration, broad-winged hawks are occasionally 
abundant at the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Burnett County. Spring 
migrants arrive in the Western Upland and Central Plain in early April (ear- 
liest— 26 March 1975, St. Croix County; 24 March 1968, Chisago County). 
Migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 5-10 April (earliest— 21 March 
1956, Burnett County). Peak spring migration occurs 15 April to 1 May, and 
nonbreeders depart by 20 May. 

Fall migration begins in late August, with dispersal from nesting areas 
and formation of loose flocks. Peak fall migration occurs 10-25 September, 
when 400 to 500 individuals can be observed on good flight days. Movement 
is very rapid, and departure from the region occurs by 10 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species throughout the 
Northern Highland and northern tier of the Central Plain. Fairly common in 
the remainder of the Central Plain. Rare and local in the Western Upland. 
Nest records exist for all counties of the Valley except Pierce. In the North- 
ern Highland, the broad-winged hawk must be considered the most abun- 
dant and conspicuous nesting raptor. Roberts (1932), quoting Surber (1919), 
stated that along the St. Croix River in Pine County, the broad-winged hawk 
was "the commonest hawk" in the region. 

Habitat: Broad-winged hawks use a variety of coniferous and deciduous 
forest types for nesting. Regularly used habitats in the Northern Highland 
and Central Plain include Northern Upland Deciduous Forest, Upland Conif- 
erous Forest, and mixed deciduous-coniferous forest. Jack Pine Barren and 
jack pine-oak habitats are also occupied, but to a lesser extent. Nesting 
broad-winged hawks have been found occupying Southern Deciduous Forest 
and Lowland Deciduous Forest in the Western Upland. 



Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) 

Status: Casual migrant throughout the region, regular in St. Croix County. 
Several recent summer records. 

Migration: Rare and local migrant with records from all regions. Spring 
migration dates range from 3 April 1965 (Burnett County) to 20 May 1967 
(Pine County). Most records occur between 20 April and 15 May. Fall migra- 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 57 

tion records are fewer and range from 6 August 1975 (Burnett County) to 
12 October 1968 (Polk County). Most fall migration records occur 25 August 
to 10 September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: During June and July 1978, up to three sepa- 
rate pairs were observed regularly in St. Croix and northern Pierce counties. 
Specifically, these pairs were near Oakridge Lake and near Erin Corners in 
St. Croix County, and near the junction of County Highway W and Highway 
29, 10 km west of River Falls in Pierce County. Attempts to locate nests 
failed. These summer records are especially noteworthy because nesting 
occurs yearly in nearby areas of Dakota County, Minnesota (Green and 
Janssen 1975). 

Habitat: Most Swainson's hawks observed during migration are associated 
with open habitats including Managed Grasslands and agricultural fields. 
The birds observed in June and July 1978 were in an ecotone between 
Managed Grassland and Southern Deciduous Forest. The Pierce County 
pair was using a hayfield- woods ecotone. 

Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident, accidental in summer. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley, becoming common 
at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, during the fall and early winter. Fall mi- 
grants arrive about 20 September (earliest— 4 September 1974, Burnett 
County; 15 September 1968, Pine County). Peak fall migration occurs 
20 October to 15 November, with a gradual exodus from most northerly 
locations occurring until 1 January. Spring migration begins in late Feb- 
ruary in the Western Upland and migrants have reached the Northern High- 
land by 20 March. Peak spring migration occurs 15 March to 15 April and 
departure by 15 May (latest— 7 June 1975, Burnett County; 12 June 1975, 
St. Croix County). 

Winter: Regular winter resident in the Western Upland and Central Plain. 
Sporadic midwinter resident in the Northern Highland. Distribution and 
abundance of wintering birds is highly dependent on small mammal popu- 
lations and the severity of the weather. 

Habitat: Rough-legged hawks occupy open habitats almost exclusively. 
Edges of agricultural fields, hayfields, native grasslands, and wet meadows 
receive primary use. Occasionally, this hawk will be found in Northern Hard- 
wood and Lowland Deciduous Forests. 



Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) 

Status: Casual fall visitor. 

Records: W. Norling observed an adult at the Fish Lake Wildlife Area, Bur- 
nett County, on 25 October 1974. I observed an adult flying over the Oak- 
ridge Waterfowl Production Area, St. Croix County, on 24 September 1978. 
A 30 December 1967 record of a ferruginous hawk on the Suburban St. Paul 



58 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

CBC is questioned, primarily because of the date and because the only ac- 
companying notes were "all field marks were noted." 

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident. 

Migration: Rare migrant throughout the Valley becoming uncommon at 
Crex Meadows, Burnett County, in the fall. Fall migration begins about 
5 October; most records are from 10 October to 15 December (earliest rec- 
ords— 3 August 1976, 4 September 1974, and 15 September 1972; Crex 
Meadows, Burnett County). Peak migration occurs 1 November to 1 De- 
cember. Spring migration begins in mid-February with a gradual movement 
through the Valley. Peak migration occurs 1-15 March and departure by 
1 April (latest— 2 May 1975; Crex Meadows, Burnett County). 

Winter: Very rare and local winter resident throughout the Valley. Usually 
the largest numbers are observed at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, where 
up to four individuals occur throughout the winter. 

Habitat: At Crex Meadows, golden eagles are usually associated with the 
large areas of restored native prairie on the refuge portion of the wildlife 
area. Elsewhere in the Valley, wintering birds primarily use open agricul- 
tural fields. 

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. This species 
is listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The WDNR has 
listed this species as endangered (Les 1979). Pesticides, nest-site destruc- 
tion, and indiscriminate shooting are the main reasons for their decline. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant throughout the Valley, fairly common at 
Crex Meadows, Burnett County. Spring migration begins in mid-February 
with a gradual movement from wintering areas along the lower St. Croix 
River. Peak spring migration occurs 10-25 March; most adults are on breed- 
ing territories by 1 April. Spring migration extends into early May; sub- 
adults arrive considerably later than adults. 

Fall migration begins in late August, when juveniles move away from 
nesting areas. Peak fall migration occurs in two stages. Subadults reach 
peak numbers 1 October to 1 November and adults peak 15 October to 1 De- 
cember. Most birds have departed by 15 December. Largest concentrations 
of migrants occur at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, and in areas directly 
adjacent to the St. Croix River. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare nesting species throughout the Valley; 
nesting has been reported in Chisago, Burnett, Douglas, Pine, Pierce, and 
Polk counties. The Pierce County nesting pair was associated with the lower 
Kinnickinnic River. The pair abandoned their territory after a June 1973 
storm destroyed the nest tree. Breeding populations in the St. Croix River 
Valley have been monitored continuously since the mid- 1 960 's, and there is 
recent evidence that the population may be increasing. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 59 

Winter: Fairly common winter resident primarily in the vicinity of open 
water. Wintering birds at Crex Meadows regularly occupy open prairie 
areas. The distribution of wintering bald eagles closely follows the large 
river systems of the Valley; birds are located primarily at Prescott (Pierce 
and Washington counties) and St. Croix Falls (Polk and Chisago counties) 
along the St. Croix River, the Kettle River (Pine County), and Gordon 
Flowage (Douglas County). 

Habitat: Nesting habitat of bald eagles consists of a complex of deciduous, 
coniferous, wetland, and shrub situations. In all instances, however, two 
prominent features (tall pine trees and nearby lakes or large rivers) occur. 
Unfortunately for the eagles, these are two conditions that also attract man, 
and several nesting territories in the Valley are endangered because of 
human encroachment. 

Marsh Hawk (Circus cyaneus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual winter resident. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley, common at Crex 
Meadows, Burnett County. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 
about 15 March; average arrival is about 20 March. Migrants arrive in the 
Northern Highland about 25 March. Peak migration occurs 1-20 April, and 
nonbreeders depart by 1 May. Fall migration begins in mid- August and con- 
sists primarily of juveniles. Peak fall migration occurs 15 September to 
15 October in the Central Plain and extends to 25 October at Crex Meadows. 
Most birds have departed by 15 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon nesting species throughout the 
Valley, with nesting records for all counties. Apparently less numerous at 
present than earlier as evidenced by Jackson (1941), who reported them as 
"generally distributed ... in favorable environments throughout the 
region." Marsh hawks have been greatly reduced as a nesting bird in west- 
ern Wisconsin since the mid-1960's. 

Winter: Casual midwinter resident in the Western Upland. Two midwinter 
records for Crex Meadows, Burnett County (9 February 1954, 25 February 
1953). 

Habitat: Marsh hawks use a wide range of grassland habitat types for 
nesting. Nesting birds have been recorded in retired cropland (tim- 
othy-quackgrass), old field habitat, wetlands (primarily sedge meadows), 
and restored prairie. In areas of intensive agriculture, nesting may regularly 
occur in hayfields and occasionally in oat fields. 

FAMILY PANDIONIDAE: Ospreys 

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. The WDNR listed the species 
as endangered (Les 1979). Residual pesticides and loss of nesting habitat are 



60 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

considered reasons for their decline. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant throughout the Valley, most regularly ob- 
served adjacent to the St. Croix River. Spring migrants arrive during the 
second week of April (earliest— 22 March 1953, Burnett County and 
26 March 1967, Washington County). Peak abundance of spring migrants 
occurs between 25 April and 5 May. Fall migration begins with departure 
from nesting areas in mid- August. Peak fall migration occurs 25 August to 
15 September and departure by 10 October (latest— 23 November 1968, 
Chisago County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Ospreys are rare and local nesting species 
north of St. Croix and Washington counties. The largest concentration of 
breeding adults is near the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area in Burnett County. 
Sindelar (1971) observed at least four nests in Burnett and three in Polk 
counties in the late 1960's. 

Winter: M. R. Olson observed an osprey near Hudson, St. Croix County, on 
31 December 1970. 

Habitat: Nesting ospreys use a variety of habitat types including acid bogs, 
open lakes, and riverbanks. One of the most important habitat requirements 
is the presence of dead trees used for nest sites. Variations occur in the size 
of the water body that attracts breeding pairs. Most breeding pairs I have 
observed nest near a small lake (usually <20 ha), within 1.6 km of larger 
lakes. Large bodies of water within proximity of a nesting site serve as im- 
portant feeding areas for nesting ospreys. 



FAMILY FALCONIDAE: Falcons 

Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) 

Status: Accidental, one record. 

Record: One was observed near Marine-on-St. Croix, Washington County, 
on 24 December 1973 (Honetschlager 1974). 

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) 

Status: Regular migrant and former nesting species. The U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service and WDNR (Les 1979) have listed this species as en- 
dangered. Pesticides, habitat loss, and human harassment are among the 
major causes of the decline. 

Migration: Rare migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in 
the Western Upland 10-15 April (earliest— 4 April 1974, Pierce County) and 
the Northern Highland 15-20 April. Departure from the Valley occurs 
15-20 May. Fall migrants arrive 5-10 September and most observations 
occur during 15-30 September and departure by 15 October. During fall 
migration, the restored prairie on the refuge portion of Crex Meadows is the 
most consistent area in the Valley to observe this raptor. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 61 

Nesting Season Distribution: Formerly a rare and local nesting bird along 
the St. Croix River. Roberts (1932) reported that fewer than six pairs nested 
along the upper St. Croix River in the late 1920's. Surber (1919) reported a 
pair of peregrine falcons along the St. Croix River near the mouth of the 
Tamarack River (Pine County) during July 1918. Jackson (1941) did not 
report this species during the 1919 nesting season in northwestern Wis- 
consin. Apparently the last known nesting attempt occurred along "the 
upper St. Croix River" in 1945 (Green and Janssen 1975). 

Habitat: Roberts' (1932) description of peregrine falcons nesting "along the 
bluffs" of the St. Croix River is all that is known of their nesting habitat in 
the Valley. Peregrine falcons presumably nested on the relatively inacces- 
sible rock ledges on the sides of the steepest bluffs. During migration, most 
peregrine falcons are observed in association with mudflats on large natural 
and man-made wetlands. Open mudflats support migrant shorebirds and 
waterfowl and provide excellent hunting for falcons. 



Merlin (Falco columbarius) 

Status: Regular migrant and casual summer resident. 

Migration: Rare migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in 
the Western Upland about 5-10 April and the Northern Highland 
10-15 April. During spring migration the merlin is most frequently ob- 
served 1-15 May and departs by 25 May (latest— 28 May 1977, St. Croix 
County). Fall migrants arrive 25 August to 5 September and are most fre- 
quently observed 10-25 September. Departure from the Northern Highland 
occurs 1-10 October and elsewhere by 20 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Casual summer resident, restricted to the 
Northern Highland. Jackson (1941) mentioned the observation of an adult at 
Gordon (Douglas County) on 28 July 1919. I observed an adult merlin near 
Moose Junction (Douglas County, Sec. 14, T. 44 N., R. 15 W.) on 30 June 
1975 and 8 July 1977. Both observations were of lone birds. These dates pro- 
vide speculation of possible nesting, although neither nests nor young have 
been observed. 

Habitat: My Douglas County observations were made in a large stand of 
Lowland Coniferous Forest. Predominant vegetation included trembling 
aspen, green ash, black spruce, and balsam fir. These vegetative characteris- 
tics are usually associated with merlin breeding habitat in their normal 
breeding range in the boreal forest region of southern Canada. During 
migration, merlins regularly use a variety of both open and forested 
habitats. 

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Abundant migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, 
common in the heavily forested regions of the Northern Highland. Spring 



62 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

migrants arrive in the Western Upland about 5-15 March and the Northern 
Highland 25 March to 5 April. Peak abundance through the Valley occurs 
10-25 April. Fall migration begins in mid-August and peak abundance 
occurs 1-15 September. Most fall migrants have departed the Northern 
Highland by 15 October and elsewhere by 15 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, uncommon and more local in the Northern 
Highland. 

Winter: Casual midwinter resident in the Central Plain and Western Upland. 

Habitat: Primarily associated with scattered tree groves in agricultural 
areas, brushy edges of deciduous forest, and Old Field Community in south- 
ern areas. In the Northern Highland, American kestrels use edge situations 
associated with agricultural clearings, and areas that are managed for wild- 
life production. Wintering American kestrels are usually found along road- 
sides hunting from transmission wires and occasionally near feeding sta- 
tions in residential areas. 



FAMILY TETRAONIDAE: Grouse 

Spruce Grouse {Canachites canadensis) 

Status: Formerly a permanent resident, two recent records. 

Distribution: Scott (19436) reported that spruce grouse were last reported in 
1928 or 1929 from the town of Dairyland (T. 43 N., R. 14 W.), Douglas 
County. Scott believed that at one time this species probably occurred 
throughout northern Wisconsin and south along the St. Croix River. The 
presumed range in Wisconsin extended south to central Polk County. 
Despite the presence of suitable spruce habitats in Pine County, this species 
is not known south of central St. Louis County in Minnesota (Green and 
Janssen 1975). 

On 26 May 1978, R. Hoffman (personal communication) observed one 
spruce grouse in Sec. 33, T. 42 N., R. 15 W., Burnett County. Returning to 
the same area on 4 September 1978, Hoffman again observed a single spruce 
grouse. 

Habitat: Scott (19436) reported that spruce grouse are "almost always 
found only in spruce-balsam swamps" (= Lowland Coniferous Forest). 

Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) 

Status: Regular permanent resident. 

Distribution: Common resident in the Northern Highland and in the north- 
ern half of the Central Plain. Fairly common in the oak forests of the Central 
Plain and Western Upland. Breeding populations experience yearly fluctua- 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 63 

tions that are almost predictable. Attempts to correlate these fluctuations 
with changes in food availability have proved unsuccessful thus far. 

Habitat: Nesting ruffed grouse occur in a variety of upland deciduous forest 
types. In the Northern Highland and parts of the Central Plain, ruffed 
grouse are most commonly associated with medium-aged aspen forests that 
contain scattered openings. In the Western Upland and areas of the Central 
Plain adjacent to the St. Croix River, nesting ruffed grouse are associated 
with medium-aged oak forests and woodlots. A well-developed shrub layer 
consisting of prickly ash, thorn apple, and beaked hazel is usually associated 
with high-quality ruffed grouse habitat. 



Greater Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido) 

Status: Extirpated as a natural breeding species; reintroduced in 1974. 

Former Distribution: Until the late 1890's, the greater prairie chicken was 
an abundant species on the prairies of Pierce and St. Croix counties and 
ranged north to Grantsburg, Burnett County. Schorger (1943) summarized 
numerous accounts of the status of this species including newspaper ac- 
counts of abundance. Populations appeared to remain at high levels through 
1865. The winter of 1873 was reportedly very severe and St. Croix County 
farmers reported the winter was extremely hard on the greater prairie 
chicken. Populations fluctuated considerably after 1875. 

Reduced numbers of greater prairie chickens remained in St. Croix County 
until the 1920's, although they were still well distributed between Hammond 
and New Richmond. The last greater prairie chicken observed in St. Croix 
County was shot near Hammond in 1932. At Crex Meadows, the last greater 
prairie chicken reported on a booming ground was observed in April 1949. 

Former status of the greater prairie chicken in the Minnesota counties is 
poorly known. Roberts (1932) made no reference to this species in three coun- 
ties considered in the present report. Greater prairie chickens were known to 
breed in the vicinity of the Twin Cities at the time of Roberts. A limited 
amount of information is provided by Partch (1970) in summarizing the 
demise of this species in central Minnesota. Partch shows that greater 
prairie chickens were common or abundant in southern Washington County 
in 1849. Dispersal north through the Valley probably happened in the "late 
1800's." This movement northward along the St. Croix was attributed to 
logging and fires creating favorable openings in sandy areas. Surber (1919), 
in describing an area of Pine County, stated that greater prairie chickens 
near Hinckley occurred "in goodly numbers" in 1919. He made an appeal to 
local residents to report illegal shooting so the "overflow" (of chickens) into 
surrounding areas would manifest another hunting season. 

Current Distribution: The WDNR began a greater prairie chicken reintro- 
duction program at Crex Meadows during October 1974. This project met 
with limited success during the first 2 years. In 1977, at least one female was 
observed with a brood near the original release site. Continued research and 
habitat management at Crex Meadows may prove essential in the restora- 
tion of this species in portions of its former breeding range. 



64 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Sharp-tailed Grouse (Pedioecetes phasianellus) 

Status: Regular permanent resident. 

Distribution: Sharp-tailed grouse were formerly well distributed throughout 
the Valley, with nest records from Pine, Polk, and St. Croix counties. Cur- 
rently sharp-tailed grouse occur in northern Polk, central Burnett, eastern 
and central Pine, and southwestern Douglas counties. The largest breeding 
populations occur at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, and on the sharp- 
tailed grouse management area near Solon Springs, Douglas County. 
Dancing ground surveys from Crex Meadows indicate a fairly stable popu- 
lation, with at least eight active dancing grounds in 1976 (WDNR files). 

Away from the center of the sharp-tailed grouse breeding range, this 
species is still occasionally observed in St. Croix County. A flock of 12 was 
observed near Roberts on 13 October 1976, and a single bird observed near 
Star Prairie on 1 November 1977. 

Habitat: Sharp-tailed grouse are characteristic of mixed grasslands con- 
taining small groves of oak or aspen trees or shrubs. At the grouse manage- 
ment area in Douglas County, small patches of jack pine are commonly 
interspersed with grasslands. Most well-known sharp-tailed grouse breeding 
habitat in the Valley is characterized by restored prairie grasses on loose 
sandy soils. 

FAMILY PHASIANIDAE: Quails and Pheasants 

Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) 

Status: Regular permanent resident. 

Distribution: The Valley is at the extreme northern limit of the bobwhite 
range. A very rare resident, restricted to Washington, St. Croix, and Pierce 
counties. Recent summer records from Crex Meadows in Burnett County are 
probably released birds. Additionally, Green and Janssen (1975) report 
records of bobwhites in Pine County. Habitat loss coupled with winter stress 
have created a severe impact on bobwhite populations. 

Habitat: Primary bobwhite habitat includes retired agricultural fields and 
Old Field Community intermixed with hedgerows and scattered shrubs. 
Much of this habitat continues to be altered or destroyed by expanding agri- 
cultural and urban development. 

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 

Status: Introduced permanent resident. 

Distribution: Fairly common resident of the Western Upland and Central 
Plain, rare to absent in the Northern Highland. Ring-necked pheasants were 
first introduced in western Wisconsin during the 1930's. Populations 
remained fairly stable through the 1950's and 1960's, primarily because of 
yearly releases by State wildlife agencies. Currently, ring-necked pheasant 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 65 

populations are reduced because of farming practices that eliminated most 
of their habitat. Urban expansion has not impacted this species to nearly the 
extent that agricultural production has. Green and Janssen (1975) stated 
that the largest populations remaining in Minnesota exist in the Twin Cities 
metropolitan area. 

Habitat: The ring-necked pheasant is a species of agricultural areas, pri- 
marily edge habitats including field margins, fencerows, retired cropland, 
Old Field Communities, and heavily vegetated wetlands. Ring-necked pheas- 
ants in the Central Plain have shown an encouraging response to Managed 
Grasslands that are maintained for duck production. 

Gray Partridge (Perdix perdix) 

Status: Introduced permanent resident. 

Distribution: Rare resident of the Western Upland. The small population 
that exists in the Valley is largely restricted to a small area of central St. 
Croix County. The largest population occurs near the village of Roberts in T. 
29 N., R. 18 W.; T. 29 N. t R. 17 W.; and T. 30 N., R. 17 W. Distribution of 
the population in the Minnesota counties is poorly known, although Mettler 
(1977) showed that the species range included southern Washington County. 
McCabe and Hawkins (1946) reported a population density of 0.6 coveys per 
62 km in St. Croix County. 

Habitat: The gray partridge is primarily a species of croplands and adjoin- 
ing edge habitat. Preferred habitats include corn and oats fields, weedy 
edges of summer fallow, and remnant patches of native prairie along railroad 
rights-of-way that border agricultural fields. 

FAMILY GRUIDAE: Cranes 

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Rare migrant throughout the Valley, locally common at Crex 
Meadows, Burnett County. Sandhill cranes have been observed in Wash- 
ington County on four occasions: 31 March 1967, 9 April 1970 and 1971, and 
20 November 1970. Three records exist for St. Croix County: 17 April 1947, 
4 May 1974, and 30 October 1977. There is one record (29 April 1950) for 
Polk County. 

The most reliable data on migration is from Crex Meadows, where the 
average date of spring arrival is 4 April (earliest— 25 March 1976). Peak 
spring concentration occurs about 20 April. During fall migration, the first 
migrants arrive in early September and peak abundance is 15 October to 
1 November. During this period, concentrations of 150 to 200 individuals 
commonly occur on the refuge portion of Crex Meadows; high counts were 
350 on 19 October 1975 and 420 on 30 October 1977. Departure of fall mi- 
grants occurs soon after freeze-up; the latest was on 18 November 1962. 



66 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Nesting Season Distribution: The first reported nesting in the Valley oc- 
curred in the Kohler-Peet area north of Crex Meadows along the St. Croix 
River in 1903. Roberts (1932) mentioned a local farmer reported sandhill 
cranes nesting in Burnett County from 1904 through 1930. Recent summer 
observations indicate that cranes still probably nest at Kohler-Peet; how- 
ever, nests or young have not been observed. 

Currently, sandhill cranes are fairly common during the nesting season at 
Crex Meadows. Recent surveys indicate that 30 to 40 pairs are nesting at 
that location. Elsewhere, Green and Janssen (1975) cited a 1950 nest record 
near Beroun, Pine County. Johnson (1976) reported breeding season sandhill 
cranes in Thunder Meadow and the St. Croix River marshes, Pine County, 
and in the extensive marshes of the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management 
Area, Chisago County, during 1974-75. Henderson (1978) showed that 
breeding season sandhill cranes occurred in three Pine County townships: T. 
42 N., R. 16 W.; T. 41 N., R. 13 W.; and T. 38 N., R. 17 W. 

Habitat: Breeding sandhill cranes are typically associated with large ex- 
panses of Northern Sedge Meadow characterized by tussock sedge, bristly 
sedge, fox sedge, bluejoint grass, rattlesnake grass, marsh cinquefoil, and 
marsh bellflower. 

FAMILY RALLIDAE: Rails, Gallinules, and Coots 

King Rail (Rallus elegans) 

Status: Casual spring migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Rare spring migrant near the St. Croix River. Spring arrival 
dates range from 24 April 1977 in St. Croix County to 9 May 1958 in Bur- 
nett County. Fall migration records are not available. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Observations at Crex Meadows, Burnett 
County, include 12 June 1969, 25 June 1975, 27 and 28 June 1956, 3 July 
1963, and 12 August 1970. These breeding season records suggest possible 
nesting although nests or young have not been found. In St. Croix County, I 
observed a male king rail at East Twin Lake on 17 June 1976. Green and 
Janssen's (1975) Washington County record is the only confirmed nesting 
observation in the Valley. 

Habitat: King rails at Crex Meadows are usually associated with dense 
cattail vegetation in man-made impoundments. 

Virginia Rail {Rallus limicola) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, one winter record. 

Migration: Common migrant in St. Croix, Polk, and Washington counties, 
uncommon to rare elsewhere. Spring migrants arrive about 25 April (ear- 
liest— 16 April 1958, Burnett County): peak abundance is 10-15 May. Peak 
fall migration occurs between 20 September and 1 October and departure by 
30 October. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 67 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species in prairie wet- 
lands of St. Croix, Polk, and Washington counties. Uncommon to rare 
nesting species elsewhere in the Valley. One nest record was reported for 
Pine County in 1969 (Russell 1969). 

Winter: One individual was observed on 30 December 1978 in Washington 
County (Suburban St. Paul CBC). 

Habitat: Virginia rails use a variety of wetland classes for nesting. Greatest 
densities occur in seasonally and semipermanently flooded wetlands with 
cattail, river bulrush, and phragmites the predominant vegetation. Nesting 
Virginia rails are occasionally found in Northern Sedge Meadow habitats, 
along well-vegetated streams and in Shrub Carr wetlands. 

Sora (Porzana Carolina) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant in prairie wetlands of St. Croix, Polk, and 
Washington counties and at Crex Meadows in Burnett County. Fairly 
common to uncommon elsewhere. Spring migrants arrive about 25 April 
(earliest— 6 April 1964, Burnett County), reaching peak abundance 
15-20 May. Peak abundance during fall migration occurs 10 September to 
10 October and departure by 5 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species in prairie wetlands in 
the Western Upland and Central Plain, and at Crex Meadows. Uncommon 
elsewhere. 

Habitat: Soras use a variety of wetland types for nesting. Highest densities 
occur in seasonally and semipermanently flooded wetlands where cattail, 
river bulrush, and softstem bulrush are the predominant vegetation types. 
Soras also use wetlands that are more acidic, containing various species of 
waterlilies and pickerelweed. During high water periods, nesting soras also 
use sedge meadows. 



Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis) 

Status: Casual migrant and summer resident. 

Migration: S. D. Robbins observed this species twice in central St. Croix 
County: 26 April 1961 and 17 May 1963. At Crex Meadows, Burnett 
County, apparent migrants were observed on 25 May 1976, 30 May 1977, 
and 28 May 1978. R. Hoffman observed one at the Fish Lake Wildlife Area, 
Burnett County, on 26 May 1979. 

Nesting Season Distribution: The first record of the yellow rail in the Valley 
was obtained on 23 June 1962, when N. R. Stone observed a single bird at 
Crex Meadows (Robbins 1963). During the summers of 1976 and 1977, 
yellow rails were again heard calling in a large Northern Sedge Meadow at 
Crex Meadows. Although these birds were observed during normal nesting 
periods, neither nests nor young were observed. Continued observations at 



68 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Crex Meadows may shed additional light on the breeding status of this 
species. 

Common Gallinule {Gallinula chloropus) 

Status: Casual migrant and nesting species. 

Spring Records: Gallinules were observed at Crex Meadows, Burnett 
County, on 9 May 1958 and 10 May 1976. In St. Croix County spring 
records include 16 May 1961 and 25 May 1976. Washington County records 
range from 15-30 May. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Green and Janssen (1975) showed a nesting 
record for Washington County. Since 1975, I have found common gallinule 
during the nesting season near Lake Elmo, Washington County. In Wis- 
consin, one bird was observed at Crex Meadows on 11 June 1958. The first 
St. Croix County nesting record was obtained on 9 July 1976 near Star 
Prairie. On 14 July 1977 an adult with a brood of three was observed on a 
wetland near Hudson. Additionally, a single adult was observed near 
Roberts on 11 August 1975. 

Habitat: Most common gallinules observed during the nesting season are 
associated with seasonally and semipermanently flooded wetlands. These 
wetlands typically support an abundant submerged and emergent flora. 



American Coot {Fulica americana) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual in winter. 

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland about 10 March reaching the Northern High- 
land 1-10 April. Peak spring abundance occurs between 20 April and 1 May. 
The first fall migrants arrive between 1 and 10 September. Peak fall abun- 
dance occurs 25 September to 10 October and departure by 15 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species on prairie wetlands in 
St. Croix, Polk, and Washington counties. Fairly common nesting species at 
Crex Meadows in Burnett County. Uncommon to rare elsewhere during the 
nesting season. 

Winter: Casual early winter resident along the St. Croix River. Afton CBC 
records include one each on 1 January 1957, 1971, 1972, 1974, and 1975. I 
observed one along the Apple River, St. Croix County, on 19 December 
1977. During the winter of 1975-76, a single bird remained on the St. Croix 
River near Bayport, Washington County. 

Habitat: American coots are characteristic of seasonally and semiperma- 
nently flooded wetlands. Predominant vegetation associated with American 
coot nesting habitat includes cattail, river bulrush, softstem and hardstem 
bulrush, burreed, and phragmites. Nesting also occurs to a more limited 
extent on lower quality acidic wetlands characterized by waterlily and 
pickerelweed. Very few nesting pairs are found on riverine habitats. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 69 

FAMILY RECURVIROSTRIDAE: Stilts and Avocets 

American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) 

Status: Casual migrant. 

Records: There are three records from Crex Meadows, Burnett County: 
30 April 1971, 16 May 1977, and 22 August 1965. One American avocet was 
observed in St. Croix County near New Richmond on 13 May 1973. 

FAMILY CHARADRIIDAE: Plovers 

Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain, rare to absent in the Northern Highland. The first spring migrants 
arrive 25 April to 1 May (earliest— 19 April 1976, St. Croix County). Peak 
abundance occurs 10-20 May and departure by 25 May. The first fall mi- 
grants arrive between 25 July and 1 August. Peak fall populations occur 
20 August to 1 September and departure by 25 September. 

Habitat: Most common on seasonally flooded wetlands. Uncommon on lake- 
shores and in short vegetation associated with semipermanently flooded 
wetlands. 

Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) 

Status: Accidental, two records. 

Records: S. D. Robbins observed a single piping plover near Roberts, St. 
Croix County, from 3 to 15 May 1967 (Robbins 1968). S. V. Goddard found 
one on the same wetland on 12 May 1972 (Faanes and Goddard 1976). 

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual in early winter. 

Migration: Abundant migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, 
common and more local in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive 
about 15 March (earliest— 2 March 1961, Burnett County); peak abundance 
is 10-25 April. Fall migration begins about 10 August. Peak abundance 
occurs 1-15 September and departure by 1 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, uncommon to rare and local in the Northern 
Highland. 

Winter: There are eight early winter records for an area in Washington 
County; the dates are from 15 to 30 December. S. D. Robbins observed one 



70 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

in St. Croix County on 16 January 1964. 

Habitat: Killdeer use a variety of habitats ranging from cropland, summer 
fallow, pastures, shorelines, and lawns to flat-topped roofs in residential 
areas. 

American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Fairly common spring and rare fall migrant in the Western 
Upland, locally common during spring migration at Crex Meadows, Burnett 
County. Rare to absent elsewhere. Spring migrants arrive 20-25 April. Peak 
abundance occurs 10-15 May and departure by 1 June. Fall migrants arrive 
about 20 August and have departed by 15 October (latest— 2 November 
1965, St. Croix County). 

Habitat: Most commonly observed in temporarily flooded cornfields, alfalfa, 
or oat stubble, and are less common on mudflats and lakeshores. This plover 
uses habitat that is fairly dry and usually away from the edge of wetland 
basins. 

Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain. 
Locally common during spring at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, rare to 
absent in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive about 5 May (ear- 
liest— 15 April 1975, St. Croix County). Peak abundance occurs 15-20 May 
and departure by 1 June. Fall migrants arrive 10-20 August. Peak abun- 
dance occurs 5-20 September and departure by 15 October (latest— 3 No- 
vember 1976, St. Croix County). 

Habitat: Unlike the preceding species, the black-bellied plover commonly 
uses temporarily flooded wetlands. Less common on flooded alfalfa or oat 
stubble and along the edge of semipermanently flooded wetlands. 



FAMILY SCOLOPACIDAE: Sandpipers and Phalaropes 

Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Rare spring migrant in the Western Upland and at Crex Mead- 
ows, Burnett County. Most records are from central St. Croix and eastern 
Washington counties. There are no fall records. The first migrants arrive 
5-10 May. Flocks as large as 40 individuals have been observed 15-20 May 
and departure occurs by 30 May. 

Habitat: Most individuals are observed on temporarily flooded agricultural 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 71 

fields. Occasional use is made of flooded alfalfa fields and edges of man-made 
impoundments. 

Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Rare and local migrant in the Western Upland and at Crex 
Meadows, Burnett County; most records are from central St. Croix County. 
Spring migrants arrive about 20 April. Peak numbers (five to seven) occur 
1-10 May; departure is by 25 May. Fall migrants arrive about 25 July and 
depart by 1 September. W. Norling observed an injured marbled godwit at 
Grettum Flowage, Burnett County, on 8 November 1975. 

Habitat: Observed primarily on temporarily flooded agricultural fields and 
along the edge of seasonally flooded wetlands. 



Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) 

Status: Accidental, one record. 

Record: I observed one whimbrel along the north shore of East Twin Lake 
near Roberts, St. Croix County, on 17 May 1976. 

Long-billed Curlew {Numenius americanus) 

Status: Accidental, one record. 

Record: N. R. Stone observed one long-billed curlew at Crex Meadows, Bur- 
nett County, on 25 May 1966 (Stone 1967). 



Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Rare spring and fall migrant in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain, casual to absent elsewhere. Spring migrants arrive 20-25 April. 
Because most observations are of solitary or paired birds, dates of peak 
abundance are difficult to establish. Fall migrants begin to arrive in late 
July and have departed by 15 September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local nesting species in suitable grass 
habitat in the Western Upland and Central Plain, locally common at Crex 
Meadows, Burnett County, and at the Sharp-tailed Grouse Management 
Area near Solon Springs, Douglas County. The latter site has been used 
since at least 1919, when Jackson (1942) found "a dozen or more." Green and 
Janssen (1975) considered the upland sandpiper "very scarce" in Pine 
County. One nest was found in Washington County in 1971. In northern 
Pierce and central St. Croix counties, this species was fairly common until 
1972. Increased conversion of remaining grasslands, primarily related to 



72 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



ending the Soil Bank Program, has caused their apparent extirpation in 
these two counties. 

Habitat: Characteristic nesting species of tallgrass prairie such as at the 
Sharp-tailed Grouse Area, Douglas County, and in sedge meadows. Also 
regularly observed in unmowed alfalfa and timothy fields. 

Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleucus) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain, uncommon in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive 
30 March to 10 April. Peak abundance occurs 20 April to 5 May and de- 
parture by 25 May. The first fall migrants arrive about 10 July (earliest— 
3 July 1963, Burnett County). Peak abundance occurs 10-20 August, and 
departure by 30 October (latest— 7 November 1975 and 10 November 1963, 
Burnett County). 

Habitat: Greater yellowlegs occur in a variety of wetlands, flooded grass- 
lands, plowed agricultural fields, Northern Sedge Meadow, and along the 
edge of seasonally, semipermanently, and permanently flooded wetlands. 
Primary use is made of flooded agricultural fields. 

Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Common to locally abundant migrant in the Western Upland and 
Central Plain, uncommon and local in the Northern Highland. Spring 
migrants arrive in the Western Upland 30 March to 5 April and the North- 
ern Highland 10-15 April. Peak abundance occurs 1-10 May and departure 
by 30 May. The first fall migrants arrive about 10 July (earliest— 4 July 
1975, St. Croix County and 5 July 1960, Burnett County). Peak abundance 
occurs 1-10 August and departure by 15 October (latest— 8 November 1975 
and 10 November 1963, Burnett County). 

Habitat: Lesser yellowlegs occur in a variety of wetland types, flooded 
alfalfa fields, and agricultural fields. Primary use is made of flooded agricul- 
tural fields. 

Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, 
rare and local in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive 
25-30 April. Peak abundance occurs from 5-15 May and departure by 
25 May. Fall migrants arrive 5-15 July. Peak fall abundance occurs 25 July 
to 20 August and departure by 25 September (latest— 10 October 1969, 
Washington County). 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 73 



Habitat: Primarily found on flooded agricultural fields and the muddy edges 
of wetlands. This species is occasionally observed in Northern Sedge 
Meadow and Shrub Carr wetlands. 



Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Rare migrant in the Western Upland, casual elsewhere. Spring 
migrants arrive about 30 April. Willets are most frequently observed 
5-10 May and remain through 25 May. The first fall migrants arrive about 
25 July and have departed by 1 September. 

Habitat: Willets are found primarily on temporarily and seasonally flooded 
wetlands. K. H. Dueholm observed a flock of 20 in a flooded alfalfa field in 
Polk County on 30 April 1975. 

Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, 
uncommon and local in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in 
the Western Upland 20-30 April (earliest— 2 April 1953, Burnett County) 
and peak abundance occurs 5-15 May. Peak fall abundance occurs during 
mid- August and departure by 1 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species throughout the 
Valley. Nest records and observations of breeding pairs have been obtained 
from all the counties. 

Habitat: Primarily a nesting species of seasonally, semipermanently, and 
permanently flooded wetlands in the Western Upland and Central Plain. 
This species also makes extensive use of river edge and exposed islands in 
larger streams. Largely restricted to rivers, streams, and rocky or sandy 
shores of large lakes in the Northern Highland. 



Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Rare and local migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive about 10 May and are most commonly observed 15-25 May. De- 
parture occurs by 5 June (latest— 10 June 1972, Burnett County). The ob- 
servation of 18 ruddy turnstones on Lake Chisago, Chisago County (Roberts 
1938), constitutes the largest group reported in the Valley. Fall migrants 
arrive about 20 August and have departed by 20 September. 

Habitat: Ruddy turnstones primarily use sandy beaches associated with 
large lakes and the shoreline of the St. Croix River. Occasional use is made of 
seasonally flooded wetlands. 



74 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Wilson's Phalarope (Steganopus tricolor) 

Status: Regular migrant and summer resident, one nest record. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant in the Western Upland, locally common 
in St. Croix County. Rare and local in the Central Plain and Northern High- 
land. Spring migrants arrive 20-25 April. Peak abundance occurs 
10-15 May and departure by 1 June. The first fall migrants arrive 
20-30 July. Peak abundance occurs 10-25 August and departure by 
15 September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: I observed an adult male with at least two 
young that still retained some down feathers on 10 July 1978 in St. Croix 
County. The wetland where this brood was observed (Sec. 11, T. 29 N., 
R. 18 W.) occasionally supports breeding plumaged adults during the 
nesting season in wet years. Numerous nesting season records from this 
wetland ranging from 9 June (1964) to 17 July (1961) suggest that nesting 
may have occurred earlier. Summer records from Crex Meadows, Burnett 
County (26 June 1974 and 27 June 1972), suggest that Wilson's phalarope 
may also nest at that location. 

Habitat: Wilson's phalaropes use several wetland types during migration, 
including seasonally and semipermanently flooded wetlands. Summer 
records are from wetlands where cattail and river bulrush are the predomi- 
nant vegetation types. 

Northern Phalarope (Lobipes lobatus) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Rare migrant in the Western Upland and at Crex Meadows, Bur- 
nett County. Casual elsewhere. Spring migrants arrive about 10 May (ear- 
liest— 30 April 1974 and 1 May 1975, St. Croix County). Northern phala- 
ropes are most commonly observed during the third week of May and depart 
by 5 June. Fall migrants arrive in mid-August (earliest— 20 July 1975, St. 
Croix County) and depart by 15 September. 

Habitat: Northern phalaropes are usually observed on semipermanently and 
permanently flooded wetlands that have poorly developed shoreline or emer- 
gent aquatic vegetation. 

American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 
about 25 March (earliest— 14 March 1951, Polk County and 17 March 1955, 
Burnett County) and peak abundance occurs 20 April to 1 May. Fall migra- 
tion begins in mid- August. Peak fall abundance occurs 15 September to 
1 October and departure by 1 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common and well distributed nesting 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 75 

species. Nesting has been recorded in all counties. Surber (1919) made ref- 
erence to the abundance of this species in Pine County during the early 
1900's. 

Habitat: American woodcock use a variety of habitats for nesting. In the 
Western Upland, nesting birds use mesic Southern Deciduous Forest and 
Lowland Deciduous Forest. In the Central Plain and Northern Highland, 
open stands of medium-aged aspen and maple forest and Alder Thickets pro- 
vide optimum nesting habitat. Recently, Deciduous Clear Cuts have been 
found to provide important nesting habitat. 

Common Snipe {Gallinago gallinago) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual in winter. 

Migration: Common to locally abundant migrant throughout the Valley. 
Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland about 20 March, reaching the 
Northern Highland about 1 April. Peak abundance during spring migration 
occurs 20 April to 1 May. Fall migration begins with the flocking of family 
groups in mid-August. Peak abundance occurs between 25 September and 
10 October and departure by 15 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon nesting species in the Western 
Upland, common in the Central Plain and Northern Highland. Confirmed 
nest records have been obtained from Burnett and Polk counties. 

Winter: There are eight late December records ranging from 19 December 
(1976) to 3 January (1976) in St. Croix and Washington counties. These are 
all CBC records. The largest count was 12 individuals on the Suburban St. 
Paul CBC, 30 December 1961. There is only one midwinter record (15 Feb- 
ruary 1973, Pierce County) for the Valley. 

Habitat: Highest densities of nesting common snipe occur in Northern 
Sedge Meadow. Stream banks and semipermanently flooded wetlands 
provide important habitat in the Central Plain and Western Upland. In the 
Northern Highland, breeding common snipe use openings in Black 
Spruce-Tamarack Bogs and Alder Thicket, in addition to Northern Sedge 
Meadow. 

Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Uncommon to rare migrant throughout the Valley. Most records 
are from the Western Upland and from Crex Meadows, Burnett County. 
Spring migrants arrive about 10 May and have departed by 30 May. Fall 
migrants arrive about 25 July (earliest— 9 July 1965, St. Croix County) and 
have departed by 15 September. A short-billed dowitcher that I banded near 
Roberts, St. Croix County, on 16 August 1975 was recovered in Guyana, 
South America, in September 1976. Identification of this species and the 
long-billed dowitcher is compounded by nearly identical plumage charac- 
teristics. 



76 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Habitat: Largely restricted to flooded alfalfa and stubble fields and borders 
of seasonally and semipermanently flooded wetlands. 

Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, 
rare to absent in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the 
Western Upland 20-25 April and the Northern Highland about 1 May. This 
species is most frequently observed about 10 May and departs by 15 May. 
Fall migrants arrive about 10 August (earliest— 17 July 1976, St. Croix 
County). Peak abundance occurs 25 August to 5 September and departure 
by 5 October (latest— 25 and 28 October 1960, St. Croix County; Robbins 
1961). 

Correct identification of both dowitcher species is difficult because of their 
similar appearance. To assure positive identification, recognition of their 
call notes is important. The long-billed dowitcher has a short, two-note 
"twee twee" call. The short-billed dowitcher call consists of three notes in 
close succession. This call, "tu-tu-tu," is similar to the greater yellowlegs. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of flooded agricultural fields, temporarily, 
seasonally, and semipermanently flooded wetlands. 

Red Knot (Calidris canutus) 

Status: Casual migrant. 

Records: Single red knots were observed in St. Croix County on 12 May 1966 
and 13 May 1975. Three birds were observed at Crex Meadows, Burnett 
County, on 19 May 1972, and single birds on 13 June 1968 and 17 August 
1960 (Kemper 1961). 

Sander ling (Calidris alba) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Rare spring and very rare fall migrant in the Western Upland 
and at Crex Meadows, Burnett County; absent in the northern forested 
regions. Spring migrants arrive about 10 May (earliest— 30 April 1973, St. 
Croix County and 2 May 1969, Washington County) and have departed by 
30 May. Fall migration is between 15 August and 10 September. 

Habitat: Sanderlings are primarily found on sandy or rocky beaches asso- 
ciated with large lakes and sandbars on the St. Croix River. Occasional use 
is made of drier portions of exposed mud associated with seasonally flooded 
wetlands and man-made impoundments. 

Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusillus) 
Status: Regular migrant. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 77 

Migration: Common to locally abundant migrant in the Western Upland and 
Central Plain, rare and local in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants 
arrive about 5 May, reaching peak abundance 15-30 May. Departure occurs 
5-10 June (latest— 13 June 1965 and 17 June 1977, St. Croix County). Fall 
migrants arrive about 20 July. Peak abundance occurs 10-20 August and 
departure by 5 October (latest— 16 October 1964; Kemper 1965). 

Habitat: Primarily a species of flooded agricultural fields, exposed edges of 
wetlands, man-made impoundments, and sandbars associated with islands 
in the St. Croix River. 

Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) 

Status: Casual migrant. 

Records: There are spring records from St. Croix County including 2-4 May 
1975 (peak of 11 on 3 May), 13 May 1976, 25 May 1963, 31 May 1965, and 
2 June 1966. There are five fall records including three in St. Croix County; 
2 August 1977, 14 August 1975, and 19 August 1974. At Crex Meadows, 
Burnett County, one western sandpiper was observed on 15 and 21 August 
1955, and on 12 October 1974. 

Habitat: The St. Croix County observations included birds associated with 
the exposed edge of a semipermanently flooded wetland. The Burnett 
County record was obtained from the exposed edge of a man-made impound- 
ment. 

Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Common spring and fairly common fall migrant in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, rare and local in the Northern Highland. Spring 
migrants arrive about 30 April (earliest— 23 April 1959, Burnett County). 
Peak abundance occurs 5-15 May and departure by 25 May. Fall migrants 
arrive 5-10 July (earliest— 25 June 1972, Chisago County). Peak abundance 
occurs 25 July to 10 August and departure by 30 September. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of flooded agricultural fields, exposed edges of 
wetlands, and sandbars associated with St. Croix River islands. 

White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Fairly common spring migrant in the Western Upland, uncom- 
mon to rare elsewhere. Uncommon to rare throughout the Valley in fall. 
Spring migrants arrive about 10 May (earliest— 20 April 1974, St. Croix 
County). Peak abundance occurs 20 May to 5 June and departure by 
15 June. Fall migrants arrive about 20 July and depart by 15 September 
(latest— 6 October 1964, Kemper 1965). Peak fall populations cannot be 
determined because of few records. 



78 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Habitat: Primarily a species of flooded agricultural fields and muddy edges 
of seasonally flooded wetlands. 

Baird's Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Rare spring and uncommon fall migrant in the Western Upland, 
rare to absent elsewhere. Spring migrants arrive about 5 May (earliest— 
20 April 1974, St. Croix County) and depart by 5 June. Fall migrants return 
15-20 August and depart by 15 September. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of temporarily flooded agricultural fields and 
edges of seasonally flooded wetlands. 

Pectoral Sandpiper {Calidris melanotos) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Common to locally abundant spring and common fall migrant in 
the Western Upland and Central Plain, uncommon in the Northern High- 
land. Spring migrants arrive about 15 April (earliest— 4 April 1964 and 
1976, St. Croix County) and peak abundance occurs 5-10 May. During this 
period, flocks of up to 150 individuals are commonly observed. Spring mi- 
grants depart by 1 June. Fall migrants return about 10 July, and peak abun- 
dance is 15 August to 1 September. Small flocks are observed in early Octo- 
ber and departure occurs by 30 October (latest— 15 November 1964, Burnett 
County; Kemper 1965). 

Habitat: Pectoral sandpipers use a variety of wetland habitats including 
temporarily flooded, Northern Sedge Meadow, Shrub Carr, exposed muddy 
edges of seasonally flooded wetlands and man-made impoundments, and St. 
Croix River islands. 

Dunlin (Calidris alpina) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive about 5 May, reaching peak abundance 15-20 May. Departure occurs 
1-5 June. Fall migrants arrive about 20 August and have departed by 
10 October (latest— 28 October 1960, St. Croix County). 

Habitat: Primarily a species of temporarily and seasonally flooded wetlands, 
man-made impoundments, and St. Croix River islands. 

Stilt Sandpiper (Micropalama himantopus) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Rare spring and uncommon fall migrant in the Western Upland, 
rare to absent elsewhere. Spring migrants arrive about 5 May (earliest— 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 79 

19 April 1975, St. Croix County). Peak abundance occurs 15-20 May and de- 
parture by 25 May. Fall migrants arrive 25 July to 1 August and depart by 
25 September. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of seasonally flooded wetlands, muddy edges of 
man-made impoundments, and St. Croix River islands. 

Buff -breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis) 

Status: Casual migrant. 

Records: There are five records from central St. Croix County: 10 May 1974, 
31 July 1967, 11 August 1975, 1 September 1968, and 9 September 1975. 

Habitat: All St. Croix County records were obtained from the edge of a semi- 
permanently flooded wetland in Sec. 11, T. 29 N., R. 18 W. 

FAMILY STERCORARIIDAE: Jaegers 

Parasitic Jaeger (Stercoranus parasiticus) 

Status: Accidental, two records. 

Record: One adult was observed and photographed on 28 and 29 August 
1957, on Phantom Lake at the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Burnett County 
(Lound and Lound 1958a). D. D. Tessen observed an adult at Crex Meadows 
on 28 May 1978 (Tessen 1979a). 

FAMILY LARIDAE: Gulls and Terns 

Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 

Status: Regular migrant and casual summer resident. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the inland areas, locally abundant 
along the St. Croix River. Spring migrants return in late February and reach 
peak abundance 25 March to 20 April. Most have departed by 15 May (lat- 
est— 25 May 1969, Washington County). Fall migrants arrive during the 
last 2 weeks of September. Peak abundance occurs 15 October to 1 No- 
vember and birds depart by 15 December. 

Summer: A casual summer resident along the lower St. Croix River. Herring 
gulls summered in Washington County in 1968 and were observed in Wash- 
ington County from 14 to 19 July 1975 (Eckert 1976). 

Winter: A casual early winter resident in the lower St. Croix River Valley. 
On 1 January 1972 and 1 January 1975, two herring gulls were observed 
along the St. Croix River near Hudson ( Afton CBC). 

Habitat: Largely restricted to larger water bodies, including permanent 
lakes and the St. Croix River. 



80 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Abundant spring and fall migrant throughout the Valley. Spring 
migrants return 10-20 March. Peak abundance occurs between 15 April and 
1 May and departure by 20 May. Fall migrants arrive in early September 
(earliest— 24 August 1961, Burnett County). Peak abundance occurs be- 
tween 15 September and 1 October. Flocks totaling 200 individuals are 
common during this period, and flocks of 500 are regularly observed. Fall mi- 
grants depart by 10 November (latest— 17 November 1965, St. Croix 
County and 26 November 1976, Washington County). 

Habitat: Ring-billed gulls use a variety of wetland types during migration 
including semipermanently and permanently flooded wetlands, large lakes, 
and the St. Croix River. During fall migration, ring-billed gulls make exten- 
sive use of recently plowed agricultural fields. 



Franklin's Gull (Larus pipixcan) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Rare migrant in the Western Upland and at Crex Meadows, Bur- 
nett County; absent from the forested regions. Spring migrants arrive be- 
tween 25 April and 1 May (earliest— 13 April 1954, Burnett County) and de- 
parture occurs by 25 May. Fall migrants arrive 20-25 September. Peak 
abundance occurs 1-20 October and departure by 10 November. During 
peak fall migration, Franklin's gulls are commonly found in association with 
ring-billed gulls on freshly plowed agricultural fields in western St. Croix 
County. Flocks of 200 to 300 are not uncommon and during the mid- 1 960 's, 
S. D. Robbins occasionally found flocks of 1,500 Franklin's gulls in mid- 
October. Migrants follow a rather narrow migration path through the 
Western Upland; the major route is associated with the area of Prairie Wet- 
lands. Franklin's gull is virtually absent east of R. 17 W. in St. Croix and 
Polk counties. 

Habitat: Largely restricted to semipermanently and permanently flooded 
wetlands. Extensive use is made of agricultural fields during fall migration. 

Bonaparte's Gull (Larus Philadelphia) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant throughout the Valley, fairly common on the 
prairie wetlands of St. Croix and Washington counties. Spring migrants 
return between 25 April and 1 May (earliest— 12 April 1971, Washington 
County). Peak abundance occurs 10-15 May and departure by 25 May. Fall 
migrants arrive about 10 September. Peak abundance occurs 20 September 
to 1 October and birds depart by 25 October. During the fall, Bonaparte's 
gulls are most commonly found along the St. Croix River, becoming rare to 
absent elsewhere. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 81 

Habitat: Primarily a species of large semipermanently and permanently 
flooded wetlands, and open expanses of the St. Croix River. 

Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) 

Status: Hypothetical. 

Record: N. R. Stone observed three adults at the Crex Meadows Wildlife 
Area, Burnett County, on 3 April 1959 (Stone 19596). 



Sabine's Gull (Xema sabini) 

Status: Hypothetical. 

Record: A single immature was observed on 1 October 1944 along the St. 
Croix River at Stillwater, Washington County (Longley 1947). 



Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) 

Status: Regular migrant and casual summer resident. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant near the St. Croix River, uncommon to 
rare elsewhere in the Western Upland and Central Plain, and rare to absent 
in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive 20-25 April. Peak spring 
abundance occurs 10-20 May and departure by 30 May. Fall migrants 
return 25 August to 5 September and depart by 25 September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: A casual summer resident in St. Croix and 
Washington counties; most summering birds are found along the St. Croix 
River. Establishment of nesting common terns along the lower St. Croix is 
seemingly possible, because a small group of common terns summer near the 
confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers at Ft. Snelling in the 
Twin Cities. Excessive recreational use of exposed beaches and sandy 
islands in the lower St. Croix is probably a major factor limiting colony 
establishment. If colonies are established at a future date, intensive restric- 
tion of human use will be necessary. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of large permanently flooded wetlands and 
sandy beaches and islands of the St. Croix River. 



Least Tern (Sterna albifrons) 

Status: Accidental, one record. 

Record: R. A. Knuth observed an adult on Phantom Lake, Crex Meadows 
Wildlife Area, Burnett County, on 17 August 1971 (Roberts and Roberts 
1972). This bird was observed by over 60 people during a Wisconsin Society 
for Ornithology field trip. 



82 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri) 

Status: Regular migrant and casual summer resident. The WDNR listed this 
species as endangered (Les 1979). 

Migration: Fairly common spring and rare fall migrant in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, casual in the Northern Highland. Spring mi- 
grants arrive 20-25 April and are most commonly observed 5-15 May. De- 
parture of spring migrants occurs by 25 May. Fall migrants arrive between 
1-5 September and depart by 1 October. 

Summer: A casual summer resident in St. Croix and Washington counties. 
The presence of summering birds suggests nesting; however, no nests or 
young have been recorded. This tern occurs with greatest frequency during 
the summer on the wetlands in St. Croix and Washington counties. 

Habitat: Migrants are observed in association with large semipermanently 
and permanently flooded wetlands. Observations of summering birds have 
been restricted primarily to permanently flooded wetlands that support 
extensive growths of cattail and hardstem bulrush along the periphery of 
the basin. 

Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Rare migrant in the Western Upland, casual or absent elsewhere. 
Spring migrants arrive about 1 May (earliest— 8 April 1961, Burnett 
County). Peak abundance occurs 10-20 May and departure by 25 May (lat- 
est— 30 May 1924, Chisago County; Roberts 1938: 2 June 1974, Wash- 
ington County; Eckert 1975). Fall migrants arrive about 1 September and 
have departed by 25 September. During both migration periods, Caspian 
terns are most regularly observed on the St. Croix River. Away from the 
river, they are less common and more irregular in occurrence. 

Habitat: Largely restricted to open expanses of the St. Croix River and large 
permanently flooded wetlands. 

Black Tern (Chlidonias niger) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain; uncommon in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive 25 April 
to 1 May, reaching peak abundance about 15 May. Fall migrants reach peak 
numbers about 10 August and have departed by 1 September (latest— 
4 October 1965, Washington County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: A fairly common nesting species in the prairie 
wetland region of St. Croix, Washington, and southern Polk counties, 
becoming less common in the forested regions. Breeding populations of the 
black tern have declined sharply in Wisconsin. During 1966-75, Robbins 
(1977) noted a 14% annual decrease in the statewide breeding population. A 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 83 

census of breeding black terns in St. Croix County showed a decrease from 
42 pairs in 1975 to 9 pairs in 1977 (Faanes 1979). 

Habitat: Black terns are a characteristic species of large seasonally and 
semipermanently flooded wetlands that support an abundance of emergent 
aquatic vegetation. Most nests that I have examined were on a floating 
vegetation mat, usually composed of submerged plants and emergent plant 
leaves. In the northern forested regions, black terns are less common as a 
nesting species. In this region, large, acidic wetlands are most regularly used 
for nesting. 

FAMILY COLUMBIDAE: Pigeons and Doves 

Rock Dove {Columba livia) 

Status: Regular permanent resident. 

Distribution: An abundant permanent resident in cities, towns, and near 
farm buildings. Uncommon to rare away from human habitation. 

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Abundant migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, 
uncommon and more local in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive 
in mid-March, reaching peak abundance 5-15 April. Fall migration begins 
with flock formation among immatures in mid-August. Peak abundance 
occurs between 15 September and 1 October, and most birds depart by 
25 October. Several nestlings that I banded in this region were recovered in 
southern Texas by the end of September during the same year of banding. 

Nesting Season Distribution: The mourning dove is an abundant nesting 
species in the Western Upland and Central Plain. In the Northern Highland, 
mourning doves are uncommon to rare nesting birds. Mourning doves have 
a rather long nesting season at this latitude; nest dates range from 18 April 
to 20 September. 

Winter: A fairly common winter resident in the Western Upland, rare to 
absent elsewhere. The CBC data indicate that the early winter distribution 
is centered in St. Croix and Washington counties. 

Habitat: A characteristic edge species, occurring in largest densities in Pine 
Plantations, shelterbelts, and fencerows. Occurs fairly commonly in orna- 
mental coniferous trees planted in residential areas. 

Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) 

Status: Extinct. 

Records: The destruction of this species across North America has been well 
documented. Passenger pigeons were a common nesting species in the 



84 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Valley until the 1880's. Schorger (1955) described their distribution and 
cited the last record at New Richmond, St. Croix County, on 28 September 
1887. Roberts (1932) mentioned a "pigeon nesting" that was located be- 
tween White Bear Lake and Taylors Falls in the late 1800's. This location 
may have been in either Chisago or Washington county. 

FAMILY CUCULIDAE: Cuckoos and Anis 

Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant in the Western Upland, rare elsewhere. 
Spring migrants begin to arrive between 15 and 20 May, and become well 
distributed over the breeding range by 5 June. There is a general exodus of 
fall migrants 15 August to 10 September, and the last birds depart by 
20 September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: An uncommon nesting species in Pierce, St. 
Croix, and Washington counties. Occasional summer records exist for north- 
ern Polk and southern Burnett counties. Roberts (1932) mentioned summer 
records for Pine County and observed that in northern areas this species 
"seems to vary considerably in numbers, both as to locality and season." 

Habitat: A characteristic species of brushy margins, woodlot openings, 
brushy fencerows, and field edges. Most breeding season adults that I ob- 
served were associated with medium-aged stands of Southern Deciduous 
Forest; red oak and Hill's oak were the predominant vegetation type. 

Black-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus erythropthalmus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Uncommon spring and fall migrant throughout the Valley. 
Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland between 5 and 10 May, be- 
coming most numerous during the last 2 weeks of May. Night migrants are 
frequently heard during the first week of June (S. D. Robbins, personal com- 
munication). Arrival in the Northern Highland occurs 15-20 May. Peak fall 
abundance occurs between 1 and 10 September and departure by 25 Sep- 
tember. 

Nesting Season Distribution: A fairly common nesting species throughout 
the Valley, although more common in the Central Plain and Northern High- 
land. Roberts (1938) reported that "a dozen" black-billed cuckoo nests were 
found during June 1926 in Chisago County. 

Habitat: Brushy margins of mature Northern Deciduous Forest, Deciduous 
Clear Cuts, and mixed coniferous-deciduous forest. 

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) 
Status: Accidental, one record. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 85 

Record: One adult was shot in Woodbury Township, Washington County, on 
20 October 1968 (Litkey 1969). The specimen was deposited in the museum 
collection at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. 

FAMILY STRIGIDAE: Typical Owls 

Screech Owl (Otus asio) 

Status: Regular permanent resident. 

Distribution: Uncommon permanent resident in the Western Upland and 
Central Plain, rare to absent elsewhere. Bernard (1967) did not report this 
species in Douglas County. Green and Janssen (1975) reported that screech 
owls are resident in Carlton County, indicating possible residence in Pine 
County. Documented nesting records exist for Pierce, St. Croix, and Wash- 
ington counties. 

Habitat: Breeding screech owls are restricted primarily to mature deciduous 
forests. Most breeding pairs that I have encountered were associated with 
Lowland Deciduous Forest that was dominated by cottonwood, American 
elm, and green ash. In agricultural areas, breeding screech owls are asso- 
ciated with oak woodlots and they are regularly observed using ornamental 
tree plantings in residential areas. 

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) 

Status: Regular permanent resident. 

Distribution: Common permanent resident throughout the Central Plain and 
Northern Highland, fairly common (locally common) in the Western Upland. 
Jackson (1942) reported great horned owls were generally distributed in 
northwestern Wisconsin. 

Habitat: Nesting great horned owls use a variety of habitats, including 
Lowland Deciduous Forest, mature Northern Hardwood Forest, oak wood- 
lots, Pine Plantations, Lowland Coniferous Forest, and Southern Deciduous 
Forest. 

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual winter resident. 

Migration: Rare spring and fall migrant throughout the region. Spring mi- 
grants arrive 1-15 March and are most commonly seen 20 March to 
15 April. Fall migrants arrive about 1 October and most have departed by 
1 December. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare nesting species throughout the Valley. 
Nesting has been reported in Washington County (Christenson and Fuller 
1975). In St. Croix County, the first nest record was obtained near Hudson 
in 1973, and this pair also produced young in 1974. In Polk County, nesting 



86 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

long-eared owls were found in the McKenzie Creek Wildlife Area (T. 37 N., 
R. 16 W.) and the Sterling Pine Barrens (T. 36 N. t R. 20 W.) during 1972-74. 
In Burnett County, nests have been found in jack pine habitat west of 
Grantsburg. Although breeding records are lacking for other counties in the 
Valley, nesting is expected in suitable habitat. 

Winter: Rare winter resident in the Western Upland, casual north of this 
area. 

Habitat: Nesting long-eared owls are usually associated with pine forests 
and Pine Plantations. The St. Croix County pair was found in a small valley 
of Southern Deciduous Forest. Wintering long-eared owls are usually asso- 
ciated with Pine Plantations and young pine forests. 

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) 

Status: Regular migrant, casual summer and rare winter resident, one nest 
record. 

Migration: Rare migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 
about 15 March and are most commonly observed 15-30 April. Most 
have departed by 10 May. Fall migrants arrive about 25 September. Peak 
numbers occur 30 October to 1 December and most depart by 15 December. 

Nesting Season Distribution: C. R. Elliott observed a short-eared owl nest 
with three young in St. Croix County on 15 June 1978. This nest was located 
in a Managed Grassland on the Oakridge Waterfowl Production Area near 
New Richmond (Sec. 17, T. 31 N., R 17 W.). This represents the only known 
nest record for the Valley. The presence of additional midsummer records 
from Crex Meadows, Burnett County (1968-74), Polk County (1974), and St. 
Croix County (1976) suggest that this species nests sparingly throughout 
the Valley in suitable habitat. There are no known summer records for the 
Minnesota counties. 

Winter: Rare winter resident in St. Croix, Washington, and Burnett 
counties. Although most records are from the CBC, two mid-January 
records exist for Crex Meadows. 

Habitat: All breeding season records of this species have been made from 
Northern Sedge Meadow and retired grassland habitats. Wintering short- 
eared owls occur in sedge meadows and grassy fields. 

Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident. 

Migration: Rare spring and fall migrant throughout the Valley. Yearly abun- 
dance varies considerably and migrating and wintering populations appear 
to be regulated by a 4-year cycle of small mammal populations on this 
species' tundra breeding areas. Fall migrants arrive in mid-November (ear- 
liest— 14 October 1918, Pine County; 2 November 1963, Crex Meadows) and 
during "invasion" years, reach peak abundance 15 December to 1 January. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 87 

Spring migration begins in late February and departure occurs by 1 April 
(latest— 9 April 1967, Crex Meadows and 18 April 1974, St. Croix County). 

Winter: Rare and local winter resident throughout the Valley. During years 
of peak abundance, snowy owls are fairly common winter residents at Crex 
Meadows, Burnett County; occasional concentrations range from six to 
eight birds. 

Habitat: Wintering snowy owls regularly use open agricultural fields and 
Northern Sedge Meadow or Shrub Carr. Occasionally found associated with 
semipermanently flooded wetlands in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain. At Crex Meadows, extensive use is made of restored tall grass prairie 
and Northern Sedge Meadow. 

Barred Owl (Strix varia) 

Status: Regular permanent resident. 

Distribution: Fairly common (locally common) in the Central Plain and 
Northern Highland, common in the Western Upland. There is apparently 
little difference in status between nesting and winter seasons. 

Habitat: Characteristic species of mature Northern Hardwood Forest in the 
Central Plain and Northern Highland. Predominant vegetation of barred 
owl habitat includes basswood, sugar maple, trembling aspen, green ash, 
and white pine. Lowland Coniferous Forest that contains mature yellow 
birch and black spruce provides important breeding habitat in the Northern 
Highland. In the Western Upland, the barred owl is characteristic of mature 
Lowland Deciduous Forest and reaches greatest densities in large expanses 
of this vegetation type associated with major streams that are tributary to 
the St. Croix River. 

Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa) 

Status: Casual winter resident, one nest record. 

Records: One was found dead near Lake Elmo, Washington County, on 
15 February 1969 (Green 1969). Another individual was observed at the 
Northwoods Audubon Center, Pine County, on 27 January 1973. D. G. 
Follen (personal communication) reported a single great gray owl several 
times in "early November" 1979, 16 km east of Moose Junction, Douglas 
County (T. 44 N., R. 13 W.). Follen also reported a great gray owl during No- 
vember 1979 in extreme northwestern Washburn County, Wisconsin, near 
the Douglas and Burnett County border. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Follen (1979) provided the only evidence of 
great gray owl nesting in the Valley. On 18 August 1978, he observed two 
immature great gray owls 0.6 km north of Moose Junction, Douglas County 
(Sec. 7, T. 44 N., R. 14 W.). The estimated age of these birds was 6-8 weeks. 
During the observation, an adult was seen and heart.' nearby. On 19 August 
1978, three immatures and one adult were observed at the same location and 
a stick nest found. 



88 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Habitat: Vegetation adjacent to the Douglas County nest was Lowland 
Coniferous Forest dominated by black spruce, white birch, and green ash. 
Vast areas of similar habitat exist in southwestern Douglas and adjacent 
Pine counties. Continued observations in this region may reveal additional 
breeding records. 

Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula) 

Status: Casual winter resident. 

Records: Bernard and Klugow (1963) provided the most evidence of hawk 
owl occurrence in the Valley. They reported three observations of hawk owls 
in Douglas County including "one bird 5.6 km north of Dairyland (T. 44 N., 
R. 14 W.) t in early March 1963." On 17 March 1963, a dead hawk owl was 
found 16 km west of Solon Springs (T. 45 N., R. 13 W.) and on 20 March 
1963 another hawk owl (possibly the first individual) was observed 8.8 km 
northeast of Dairyland. Other records include one bird collected at Stacy, 
Chisago County, on 20 October 1962, and two birds observed in Pine County 
on 17 February 1963 (Green 1963). 

These observations were made during a winter that produced an "inva- 
sion" of hawk owls in northwestern Wisconsin and much of northern Minne- 
sota. Later that same year, the nests and young of two separate pairs were 
found in northeastern Douglas County. The hawk owl is included as casual 
rather than accidental, because the species is well known for occasional 
irruptions into southern areas during the winter (cf. Green 1963; Eckert 
1978). Because large expanses of excellent hawk owl habitat (Lowland Conif- 
erous Forest) occur in southern Douglas and adjacent Pine counties, I would 
expect additional records of this owl during future "invasions." 



Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) 

Status: Casual winter resident. 

Records: There are two records for Burnett County: 19 December 1952 at 
Crex Meadows (N. R. Stone), and 13 April 1975 near the Fish Lake Wildlife 
Area (W. Norling). In Pine County, one was observed on 9 November 1972. 

Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident. 

Migration: Rare migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in 
mid-March, and most observations occur between 25 March and 15 April 
(latest— 16 May 1961, St. Croix County). Fall migrants arrive in mid-Sep- 
tember and most have departed by 15 December. This species is one of the 
least common regular owls in the Valley. At Hawk Ridge near Duluth, 
Minnesota, saw-whet owls are the most common migrant owl (Evans 1975). 
No doubt their small size, nocturnal habits, and very secretive behavior con- 
tribute to the scarcity of records. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 89 

On 24 May 1978, C. A. Kemper and S. D. Robbins heard saw-whet owls 
calling in four separate locations about 15 km west of Solon Springs, 
Douglas County. S. D. Robbins (personal communication) suggests that the 
saw-whet owl probably nests in the upper Valley. 

Winter: Apparently a casual winter resident until mid-January. Several late 
December records exist from the Afton, St. Paul Suburban (Washington 
County) and New Richmond (St. Croix County) CBC. Also, there are several 
January records from Burnett County. The recent increased interest in 
"owling" with tape-recorded calls may help to better establish the winter 
status of this species. 

Habitat: Most records of wintering saw-whet owls have been from medium- 
aged Pine Plantations and mature pine forests. 

FAMILY CAMPRIMULGIDAE: Goatsuckers 

Whip-poor-will (Camprimulgus vociferus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Western Upland and 
Central Plain, locally common in the Northern Highland. Most records are of 
birds on breeding territory, rather than actual migrants. Spring migrants 
arrive 1-5 May and are widely distributed by 10-20 May. Jackson (1942) re- 
ported that whip-poor-wills were common at Danbury, Douglas County, 
during late May 1918. The status of this species in the fall is poorly under- 
stood. Whip-poor-wills are quiet during this period and they are almost 
never reported. Most observations have been made between 20 August and 
20 September (latest— 22 October 1964, Burnett County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common and local nesting species 
throughout the Central Plain and Northern Highland, uncommon and local 
in the Western Upland. 

Habitat: In the Western Upland, nesting whip-poor-wills are found asso- 
ciated with mixed stands of xeric deciduous and coniferous woods, and in 
Pine Plantations. In the Central Plain and Northern Highland this species is 
most common in medium-aged Northern Hardwood Forest, Jack Pine 
Barren, and Pine Plantations. 

Common Nighthawk {Chordeiles minor) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common spring and locally abundant fall migrant throughout 
the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 5-10 May and peak abundance occurs 
25 May to 5 June. Fall migration begins with flock formation in early 
August. Peak abundance occurs between 15 August and 1 September and 
departure by 20 September (latest— 7 October 1973 and 8 October 1965, 
Washington County). 



90 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Nesting Season Distribution: A common nesting species in cities and towns, 
less common and more localized in areas away from human habitation. 

Habitat: This species has adapted well to expanding human population. In 
cities and towns, an abundance of flat roofs and gravel roadways provide 
excellent breeding habitat. Although nesting habitat away from human 
habitation is poorly known, most birds are found associated with mixed 
deciduous-coniferous forest with sandy soils and open (or barren) under- 
story. 

FAMILY APODIDAE: Swifts 

Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Chimney swifts are common to locally abundant in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, fairly common in the Northern Highland. Because 
of their relationship with human settlements, this species is most frequently 
observed near villages and cities. Spring migrants begin to arrive about 
30 April and peak abundance occurs 10-20 May. Fall migrants begin to 
form loose flocks during late July. Peak fall migration occurs between 
25 August and 10 September and departure by 20 September (latest— 
5 October 1947). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Breeding chimney swifts have been recorded 
in all counties of the Valley. Largest breeding populations occur in the 
Western Upland and Central Plain, where human habitation provides an 
abundance of nesting sites. Jackson (1942) reported that chimney swifts 
occurred regularly in the northern regions, even in areas removed from 
human settlement. 

Habitat: Chimney swifts are most numerous in villages and cities where 
they nest in chimneys and abandoned buildings. Populations of breeding 
chimney swifts occur in the forested regions where they occupy hollow trees 
(Jackson 1942) and other natural cavities for nesting. 

FAMILY TROCHILIDAE: Hummingbirds 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive during the second week of May (earliest— 13 April 1953, Burnett 
County) and peak abundance occurs 20 May to 1 June. Peak fall abundance 
occurs 10-25 August and departure by 20 September (latest— 1 October 
1947, St. Croix County; Robbins 1948a). 

Nesting Season Distribution: The ruby-throated hummingbird is a fairly 
common nesting species throughout the Valley; positive or inferred breeding 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 91 

has been recorded in all counties. 

Habitat: Breeding ruby-throated hummingbirds occur in a variety of habitat 
types, most commonly in brushy margins, openings of deciduous forests, 
and Deciduous Clear Cuts in the Central Plain and Northern Highland. I 
have found several hummingbird nests in the branches of cottonwoods along 
the Willow River in St. Croix County. Jackson (1942) noted that in north- 
western Wisconsin this species seemed to prefer tamarack bogs for nesting. 
He speculated that the abundant Usnea moss that grows on tamarack was 
important for nest building. 

Rufous Hummingbird {Selasphorus rufus) 

Status: Accidental, one record. 

Record: One rufous hummingbird was observed in Washington County, 
about 3.2 km west of Prescott, Wisconsin, from the end of September to 
15 October 1978 (Binder 1979). This was one of three rufous hummingbirds 
that occurred in Minnesota during the late summer and fall 1978. 

FAMILY ALCEDINIDAE: Kingfishers 

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Apparent increases in 
populations begin about 1 April and peak abundance occurs 10-25 April. 
Peak fall migration occurs 10 September to 1 October and most depart by 
10 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: The belted kingfisher is a fairly common 
nesting species throughout the Valley. Probably most abundant in the 
Central Plain and Northern Highland where there is an abundance of lakes, 
rivers, and streams. 

Winter: An uncommon early winter resident north to Burnett and Pine coun- 
ties; rare after mid-January. Belted kingfishers are uncommon throughout 
the winter in Washington, St. Croix, and Pierce counties, where fast-moving 
streams provide ample open water for fishing. 

Habitat: Usually found near permanent lakes and streams that support fish 
populations. Nests are usually in steep banks adjacent to streams. One nest 
observed in western St. Croix County was in the bank of a sandstone out- 
cropping about 2 km from the nearest water. 

FAMILY PICIDAE: Woodpeckers 

Common Flicker {Colaptes auratus) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 



92 



NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



Table 3. Mean number of woodpeckers, flycatchers, and swallows recorded 
on western Wisconsin Breeding Bird Survey transects, 1966-78. 





Western 












Upland 


Central Plain 


Northern Highland 


Species group 


Hudson 


Dresser 


Loraine 


Union 


Minong 


Woodpeckers 












Common flicker 


7.1 


5.8 


7.6 


1.9 


3.2 


Pileated woodpecker 


0.0 


0.3 


1.4 


0.8 


0.5 


Red-bellied woodpecker 


0.0 


0.6 


1.1 


0.0 


0.0 


Red-headed woodpecker 


3.4 


3.5 


3.8 


0.5 


0.0 


Yellow-bellied sapsucker 


0.0 


0.0 


1.4 


<0.1 


1.1 


Hairy woodpecker 


1.2 


0.6 


1.8 


1.2 


1.0 


Downy woodpecker 


1.2 


0.9 


3.3 


1.8 


1.8 


Flycatchers 












Eastern kingbird 


5.0 


4.9 


5.1 


4.7 


5.0 


Great crested flycatcher 


6.4 


7.2 


13.1 


19.9 


11.0 


Eastern phoebe 


1.2 


0.8 


2.4 


2.0 


2.8 


Yellow-bellied flycatcher 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.1 


Willow flycatcher 


<0.1 


0.0 


0.4 


0.0 


0.0 


Alder flycatcher 


0.0 


0.4 


1.2 


0.0 


4.8 


Least flycatcher 


<0.1 


0.7 


5.4 


6.0 


12.7 


Eastern wood pewee 


1.9 


2.0 


6.1 


15.4 


8.5 


Swallows 












Tree swallow 


2.4 


4.5 


8.4 


4.7 


13.0 


Bank swallow 


13.8 


3.9 


6.7 


0.0 


0.0 


Rough-winged swallow 


2.7 


3.4 


3.3 


0.0 


0.1 


Barn swallow 


17.3 


18.5 


18.2 


1.2 


3.4 


Cliff swallow 


3.4 


4.8 


11.5 


0.0 


8.1 


Purple martin 


4.7 


25.3 


11.5 


3.2 


6.0 



Migration: Common to locally abundant migrant throughout the Valley. 
Noticeable spring movements are observed by 15-25 March. Spring mi- 
grants usually travel in small scattered groups; consequently, few large 
concentrations are observed. Fall migration begins in late August with dis- 
persal of young from the nesting areas. Peak fall migration occurs 15 Sep- 
tember to 10 October and most depart by 1 November. During peak move- 
ments in fall migration, groups of 40-50 individuals are common, with 
groups totaling 100 occasionally observed. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Breeding Bird Survey data show that the 
common flicker is the most common and well-distributed breeding wood- 
pecker in the Valley (Table 3). Goddard (1972) found the common flicker the 
most abundant breeding woodpecker in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, 
Pierce County. Nesting has been observed in all counties in the Valley. 

Winter: Common flickers are rare and local winter residents in the Western 
Upland and rare or absent in other regions (Table 4). Wintering individuals 
are occasionally recorded as far north as Burnett and Pine counties. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 



93 



Table 4. Relative abundance of various birds on St. Croix River Valley 
Christmas Bird Counts. Values presented are the mean number of birds 
per party hour. 







Western Upland 


Northern 
Grants- 


Highland 






Suburban 


New 


Solon 


Species groups 


Afton 


St. Paul 


Richmond 


burg 


Springs 


Woodpeckers 












Common flicker 


<0.1 


<0.1 


<0.1 


<0.1 


0.0 


Pileated woodpecker 


0.2 


<0.1 


<0.1 


<0.1 


<0.1 


Red-bellied woodpecker 


0.6 


0.2 


0.2 


<0.1 


0.0 


Red-headed woodpecker 


<0.1 


<0.1 


<0.1 


<0.1 


0.0 


Hairy woodpecker 


1.2 


0.5 


0.3 


0.3 


0.3 


Downy woodpecker 


1.8 


0.8 


0.6 


0.4 


0.2 


Black-backed three-toed 












woodpecker 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


<0.1 


Corvids 












Blue jay 


6.8 


3.1 


5.8 


3.7 


2.7 


Common raven 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.1 


4.8 


Common crow 


12.2 


3.6 


8.1 


2.5 


0.8 


Parids and nuthatches 












Black-capped chickadee 


8.0 


4.2 


2.8 


2.1 


2.7 


Tufted titmouse 


0.2 


<0.1 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


White-breasted nuthatch 


2.8 


1.7 


1.0 


0.7 


0.3 


Red-breasted nuthatch 


0.1 


<0.1 


0.0 


<0.1 


0.3 


Selected finches and 












sparrows 












Cardinal 


3.1 


0.7 


0.8 


0.1 


0.0 


Evening grosbeak 


0.5 


0.3 


0.8 


8.3 


3.3 


Purple finch 


2.2 


0.4 


0.2 


<0.1 


<0.1 


Pine grosbeak 


0.2 


0.1 


0.0 


0.2 


4.6 


Common redpoll 


4.5 


7.6 


6.7 


6.8 


16.7 


Pine siskin 


4.0 


0.9 


0.5 


0.7 


0.3 


American goldfinch 


4.1 


2.7 


3.1 


2.3 


0.2 


Dark-eyed j unco 


8.9 


3.2 


2.5 


0.2 


<0.1 


Tree sparrow 


6.9 


2.0 


4.9 


0.3 


0.0 



Habitat: Common flickers are characteristic of the Southern Deciduous 
Forest, reaching greatest densities in medium-aged oak forest. Fairly 
common breeding species in Northern Hardwood Forest and Pine Barrens. 
Uncommon to rare in other habitat types. 



Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) 
Status: Regular permanent resident. 



94 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Distribution: Uncommon to fairly common resident in all regions of the 
Valley; most numerous along the St. Croix River and its major tributaries. 
Because of large breeding territories and relative scarcity, low numbers of 
this woodpecker are recorded along BBS transects (Table 3). All five survey 
routes traverse fair to good habitat, yet this woodpecker is recorded in very 
low numbers. 

Winter: Winter distribution of this woodpecker is presented in Table 4. 
Largest winter populations occur in the Western Upland. The pileated wood- 
pecker is fairly regular during winter in Burnett, Douglas, and Pine 
counties where a combination of Northern Hardwood Forest and coniferous 
forest provides optimum habitat. 

Habitat: The pileated woodpecker is characteristic of large expanses of the 
mature Lowland Deciduous Forest along and adjacent to the St. Croix 
River. Fairly common in mature Upland Hardwood Forest and Lowland 
Coniferous Forest. Uncommon to rare in Southern Deciduous Forest. Rare 
to absent in other habitat types. 



Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) 

Status: Regular permanent resident. 

Distribution: Fairly common breeding bird in the Western Upland, un- 
common to rare in the Central Plain, and rare to absent in the Northern 
Highland. The red-bellied woodpecker is a southern species that reaches its 
northern range limit along the St. Croix River (Peterson 1951). 

Breeding Bird Survey data show that red-bellied woodpeckers occur regu- 
larly in central Polk County. Occasional birds with young are observed 
in Burnett and southern Pine counties. Hamerstrom and Hamerstrom (1963) 
include two confirmed nest records from along the St. Croix River in western 
Burnett County. Movement into the northern regions must be fairly recent 
since Jackson (1942) failed to record this species in 1919 during his work in 
northwestern Wisconsin. Bernard (1967) considered this species to be very 
rare in Douglas County, citing three observations in areas north of the St. 
Croix River. Green and Janssen (1975) cited documented breeding records 
for Washington County and showed red-bellied woodpecker breeding range 
extending north to the Chisago- Pine county line. 

Winter: Locally a fairly common winter resident in the Western Upland, rare 
and local adjacent to the St. Croix River in the Central Plain (CBC; Table 4). 

Habitat: This woodpecker is a characteristic species of Lowland Deciduous 
Forest. Large expanses of lowland forest occurring along the St. Croix River 
and its major tributaries provide excellent breeding habitat. During the 
breeding season, pairs also use the edge between lowland forest and South- 
ern Deciduous Forest and locally in Northern Hardwood Forest. Wintering 
birds are found primarily in Lowland Deciduous Forest and Southern Decid- 
uous Forest. This woodpecker is attracted to corncribs on farms near wood- 
land edges during the winter. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 95 

Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Fairly common spring and fall migrant in the Western Upland 
and Central Plain. Uncommon and more sporadic in the Northern Highland. 
The first noticeable influx of spring migrants occurs 20 April to 1 May, 
reaching peak numbers 15-25 May. Fall migration begins about 10 August 
in the Northern Highland and 20 August elsewhere. Peak movements occur 
20 August to 15 September and most have departed by 1 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common breeding species in the 
Western Upland and Central Plain, rare to uncommon in the Northern High- 
land. Breeding Bird Survey Data indicate that a uniformly distributed 
breeding population occurs through the Western Upland and Central Plain 
(Table 3). Evidence of nesting or the presence of inferred nesting records 
have been obtained in all counties of the Valley. 

Winter: Uncommon and local winter resident in upland oak habitat near the 
St. Croix River. The CBC data (Table 4) indicate that red-headed wood- 
peckers occur regularly north to Burnett and Pine counties in winter. Moe 
(1968) also showed that the winter distribution of red-headed woodpeckers in 
Wisconsin extended northward including southeastern Burnett County. 

Habitat: Breeding red-headed woodpeckers occupy both upland and lowland 
deciduous forests. Largest breeding densities occur in mature Southern 
Deciduous Forest in the Western Upland. This woodpecker also uses second 
growth oak forest and open-oak forest extensively. Mature Lowland Decid- 
uous Forest that is dominated by green ash and American elm is also an im- 
portant breeding habitat. Suitable breeding habitat is enhanced by the 
presence of dead or dying trees. The spread of oak-wilt and dutch elm disease 
has aided in providing additional nesting sites for these birds. 

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual in winter. 

Migration: Uncommon spring and fall migrant in all regions. Spring mi- 
grants begin to arrive 25 March to 5 April and peak migration occurs 
15 April to 1 May. Fall migration begins 15-25 August. Peak numbers 
occur 20 September to 5 October and departure by 25 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon to fairly common breeding bird in 
the Northern Highland, uncommon in the Central Plain, rare and local in the 
Western Upland. Documented nesting records exist for all counties in the 
Valley. 

Winter: Yellow-bellied sapsuckers have been observed twice on the Afton 
CBC, Washington County: 2 January 1960 and 1 January 1970 (at a feeding 
station). 

Habitat: Yellow-bellied sapsuckers occupy a variety of upland deciduous 
and coniferous forest types for nesting. This species is most common during 
the breeding season in climax or near climax Northern Hardwood Forest 



96 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

that is dominated by maple and basswood. Nesting also occurs in mature 
and second growth aspen-maple forest. Coniferous forests are used to a 
lesser extent for nesting. Breeding yellow-bellied sapsuckers regularly use 
extensive stands of Lowland Deciduous Forest in the Western Upland. 

Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) 

Status: Regular permanent resident. 

Distribution: Fairly common breeding bird in the Northern Highland and 
Central Plain, uncommon and local in the Northern Highland. Goddard 
(1972) reported a breeding density of 3.45 pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic 
River Valley, Pierce County. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 3) suggest 
that breeding densities are fairly uniform throughout the Valley. 

Winter: Fairly common winter resident in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain; uncommon in the Northern Upland. The CBC data (Table 4) show the 
greatest densities occurring along and adjacent to the lower St. Croix River. 
The largest count was 91 on the Afton CBC, 1 January 1972. 

Habitat: Hairy woodpeckers are not indicative of any one habitat type. 
Breeding pairs occupy a variety of habitats including Lowland Deciduous 
Forest, Southern Deciduous Forest, Northern Hardwood Forest, and 
Lowland Coniferous Forest. 

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) 

Status: Regular permanent resident. 

Distribution: Fairly common in the Western Upland, common in the Central 
Plain and Northern Highland. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 3) suggest 
that the breeding population increases slowly northward across the Valley. 
Jackson (1942), however, noted that the downy woodpecker was usually less 
numerous than the hairy woodpecker in northern Wisconsin. Goddard (1972) 
reported a breeding density of 6.6 pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic River 
Valley, Pierce County. 

Winter: Common winter resident in the Western Upland, fairly common in 
the Central Plain and Northern Highland. The mean ratio of downy to hairy 
woodpeckers in the Valley during winter is 1.5 to 1.0. Only in the Northern 
Highland does the hairy woodpecker appear to be more numerous than the 
downy woodpecker. Young (1961) also noted a greater proportion of hairy 
woodpeckers to downy woodpeckers in northwestern Wisconsin. Largest 
winter counts were 143 on the Afton CBC, 1 January 1972 and 123 on the 
Suburban St. Paul CBC, 2 January 1976. 

Habitat: Habitat use by the downy woodpecker is characterized by both 
upland and lowland coniferous and deciduous forests. Edge situations are 
used more extensively by this species than by the hairy woodpecker, espe- 
cially for feeding. During winter, downy woodpeckers occupy habitat similar 
to that used for breeding. In agricultural areas, downy woodpeckers also use 
corn stubble fields regularly for feeding. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 97 

Black-backed Three- toed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration and Winter: Casual fall migrant and winter resident in all regions. 
Dates for Washington County include 28 October 1964 at Stillwater (Honet- 
schlager 1965), 2 November 1972, and 14 January 1973 (Huber 19746). This 
woodpecker was observed once in Chisago County on 13 November 1966, 
and in Pine County on 28 February 1974 (Eckert 1974). Wisconsin records 
include Polk County, 23 December 1974 at the McKenzie Creek Wildlife 
Area (T. 37 N., R. 16 W.); Thiel (1978) lists three winter records for Polk 
County, although he provides no dates or locations. Douglas County records 
include one bird 9.6 km west of Solon Springs (Sec. 36, T. 45 N., R. 15 W.) on 
26 November 1974. One was observed on the Solon Springs CBC on 23 De- 
cember 1976 (Table 4). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local permanent resident of the North- 
ern Highland. Bernard (1967) considered this woodpecker a "rare permanent 
resident that nests locally" in Douglas County. The nesting areas that Ber- 
nard refers to occur along the Brule River. The only evidence of nesting in 
the Valley is provided by Knudson (1978). On 3 August 1978, Knudson ob- 
served three black -backed three-toed woodpeckers that he considered to be 
one female and two immatures in T. 43 N., R. 13 W., Douglas County. On 21 
or 22 August 1978, Jeffery Knudson observed a male at the same location. 
Knudson speculated that this was a nesting record. 

Habitat: The habitat associated with most black-backed three-toed wood- 
peckers observed during the breeding season is predominantly Lowland 
Coniferous Forest. Coniferous trees killed by fire are particularly attractive 
to this species. Although Knudson (1978) found adult and immature birds 
using Jack Pine Barrens, this habitat may have been used only as feeding 
habitat and not for nesting. This species is found in the extensive Lowland 
Coniferous Forest of Burnett, Douglas, and Pine counties. Additional field 
work in Lowland Coniferous Forest directly adjacent to the St. Croix River 
may shed more light on the breeding status of this species. 

Northern Three- toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) 

Status: Casual winter visitor. 

Records: The first bird was observed by K. H. Dueholm on 8 March 1975 in 
Polk County, and subsequently on 15 March 1975 (Faanes 1975). This bird 
was using a small Black Spruce- Tamarack Bog (Sec. 12, T. 34 N., R. 16 W.). 
B. Klugow (personal communication) observed a second northern three-toed 
woodpecker in Polk County (Sec. 3, T. 33 N., R. 15 W.) on 11 April 1976. 

FAMILY TYRANNIDAE: Tyrant Flycatchers 

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) 
Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 



98 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants return 
to the Western Upland 30 April to 5 May and reach the Northern Highland 
by 10 May (earliest— 11 April 1954, Crex Meadows, Burnett County). Peak 
spring migration occurs 10-25 May and most birds are on nesting territories 
by 1 June. Fall migration begins in early August. Peak fall populations 
occur 20 August to 1 September and departure by 15 September (latest— 
2 October 1969, Chisago County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common breeding species in all regions. Con- 
firmed breeding records exist only for Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix counties. 
Inferred nesting exists for the remaining counties. Breeding Bird Survey 
data (Table 3) indicate that an unusually uniform and well-distributed breed- 
ing population exists within the Valley. 

Habitat: Eastern kingbirds use edge habitats probably more than any other 
flycatcher. Characteristics of typical eastern kingbird breeding habitat 
include woodlots, scattered clumps of tall shrubs, fencelines, open fields, and 
edges of sedge meadows. Fences and transmission lines are apparently im- 
portant components of breeding habitat and are used extensively as hunting 
perches. Jackson (1942) found eastern kingbirds "especially abundant" in 
Jack Pine Barrens and regrown burned areas in northwestern Wisconsin. 

Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis) 

Status: Casual migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Rare spring and fall migrant. Records are too few to determine 
average dates of arrival or departure. However, most observations occur 

15 May to 1 September. Migrants have been recorded from Burnett, St. 
Croix, and Washington counties. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare nesting species in St. Croix County. 
Nesting was first reported in 1961 when a pair was successful at Hudson. A 
pair returned to the same site each year until 1971 when small boys shot the 
pair from the nest. During the summer of 1967, Peter Tweet found an addi- 
tional breeding pair near Burkhardt, in west central St. Croix County. Addi- 
tional breeding season records include a single bird at Crex Meadows, Bur- 
nett County, on 27 July 1953, 11 and 26 July, and 5 August 1956. In Minne- 
sota, two young were observed at Langdon, Washington County, on 
13 August 1952 (Lupient 1952). In St. Croix County, western kingbirds were 
not recorded again until I observed a group of four near New Richmond on 

16 August 1975. This group remained in the same area until 25 August. The 
next record was obtained on 19 August 1976, when a single bird was found 
in the same area. This individual remained in the area until 26 August 1976. 

Habitat: The Hudson breeding pair was located in a residential area. Other 
records of breeding pairs are associated with edge habitats in agricultural 
areas. 

Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) 
Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 99 

Migration: Uncommon to fairly common migrant throughout the Valley, 
locally common along the lower reaches of the St. Croix River. Spring mi- 
grants generally arrive about 1 May in the Western Upland and 5-10 May 
in the Northern Highland. Peak abundance occurs 15-30 May. Fall migra- 
tion begins in mid- August, reaching peak abundance by 1 September. Mi- 
grants have departed the Northern Highland by 15 September and the 
remainder of the region by 25 September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon nesting species in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, fairly common to locally common in the Northern 
Highland. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 3) suggest a gradual increase in 
breeding densities moving northward through the Valley. However, Jackson 
(1942) recorded great crested flycatchers as "never more than two seen at a 
locality . . ." in the Northern Highland. Goddard (1972) found this flycatcher 
to be among the 12 most numerous breeding birds along the Kinnickinnic 
River Valley in Pierce County. Nesting has been confirmed only in St. Croix 
County where I observed a nest along the Willow River on 10 June 1975. Al- 
though only one nest has been confirmed, inferred nesting records have been 
obtained in the remaining counties. 

Habitat: The great crested flycatcher is a forest species, generally asso- 
caited with the upper canopy of medium-aged to mature deciduous forest. 
The only confirmed nesting record was obtained from a mature Lowland 
Deciduous Forest where cottonwood was the predominant tree species. 
Pairs are commonly recorded in extensive stands of Northern Hardwood 
Forest and in Southern Deciduous Forest. Use of residential habitats has 
also been recorded. 

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley. Eastern phoebes 
are among the first passerines to return in the spring; the first migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 20-25 March. Although most observations 
consist of pairs on breeding territories, a peak in spring migration is appar- 
ent 15-25 April. Fall migration begins in mid-August and peak movements 
occur 5-15 September. Late departure dates range from 1-5 October in the 
Northern Highland to 20 October in the Western Upland. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species in all regions 
and documented nesting records exist from each county. Breeding Bird 
Survey data (Table 3) indicate a fairly evenly distributed breeding popu- 
lation. Jackson (1942) considered the eastern phoebe to be a very common 
breeding bird along the St. Croix River. Goddard (1972) reported a density 
of 9.1 breeding pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce 
County. 

Habitat: Eastern phoebes are attracted to a variety of edge situations, pri- 
marily woods-field border and streamside habitats. During the nesting 
season, eastern phoebes are usually associated with bridges, culverts, or 
other man-made structures, sheer cliffs, and rocky outcroppings. 



100 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris) 

Status: Regular migrant, one nesting record. 

Migration: Uncommon spring migrant in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain, locally common in the Northern Highland. Fairly common to locally 
common fall migrant in all regions. Earliest spring migrants arrive 
10-15 May, reaching the Northern Highland about 20 May. Peak migration 
occurs 20-30 May and departure from most areas by 5 June. Fall migration 
begins by mid- August (earliest— 31 July 1967, Washington County). Peak 
movements occur 15 August to 1 September and birds depart by 15 Sep- 
tember. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Bernard (1967) cited the only known nesting 
record for the region, a nest with four eggs near Wascott (Douglas County) 
on 21 July 1941. Green and Janssen (1975) cited the observation of singing 
males near Bruno, Pine County. I observed singing males along the St. Croix 
River near Gordon, Douglas County, on 20 July 1976, and again on 10 June 
1977. In neither instance were nests observed. The yellow-bellied flycatcher 
is probably more widespread as a nesting species than available records indi- 
cate because of the vast amount of suitable nesting habitat in the Northern 
Highland. 

Habitat: The 1976 and 1977 records were obtained from an extensive stand 
of black spruce- tamarack swamp adjacent to the St. Croix River. At other 
seasons, this flycatcher regularly uses a variety of edge situations. 

Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens) 

Status: Casual migrant and possible nesting species. 

Records: Observations of this bird at the northern limit of its range have 
been sporadic. Because of their occurrence during normal nesting periods, 
this species must be considered a possible nesting bird. St. Croix County 
records include 12 May 1974 at Roberts, and 15 May 1973, 21 June to 5 July 
1963, and 22 July 1965 at Hudson. One record exists of this species in the 
Minnesota Counties. Bratlie (1976) described observations at Franconia, 
Chisago County, on 8 and 16 June 1976. 

Habitat: A species of deciduous forest habitats including Lowland Decid- 
uous Forest and heavily wooded hillsides in mesic Southern Deciduous 
Forest. 

Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii) 

The decision of the American Ornithologists' Union (AOU 1973) to split 
the Traill's flycatcher (Empidonax traillii) into two separate species created 
many problems in range delineation. Before that time, both willow and alder 
flycatchers were recorded as one species, even though song and habitat dif- 
ferences were readily apparent. Fortunately, S. D. Robbins maintained sepa- 
rate records of both species based on song, and from his work it is possible to 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 101 

draw conclusions on the range of these two species in Wisconsin (Robbins 
19746). Because this work was not carried out in Minnesota, only general- 
ized distribution can be provided for that State. 

Status: Regular nesting species. 

Migration: Most records of this species are of breeding pairs on territory. 
Consequently, dates of first occurrence are nearly impossible to determine. 
The earliest record I have of a singing willow flycatcher is 20 May 1974 in 
St. Croix County. This date is near the usual range of 10-20 May for the 
arrival of most Empidonax flycatchers in the Valley. Fall departure 
probably begins in early August and most birds have left by 15 September. 
Because nearly all Empidonax flycatchers are silent in the fall, few data 
exist on their migration. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Robbins (19746) cited summer records of this 
species in St. Croix County in 1961-67 and 1970. There are Polk County 
records in 1965-67 and 1970 and Pierce County records for 1965-78. S. D. 
Robbins (personal communication) found a singing male willow flycatcher 
near Fish Lake, Burnett County, on 17 June 1978 and 22 June 1977. I ob- 
served male willow flycatchers on territory in Washington County near Still- 
water on 6 July 1978. Breeding Bird Survey data were not separable to 
species until 1975. Consequently, only recent survey data from the Loraine 
transect in Polk County provide information on relative abundance 
(Table 3). One nesting record exists for the region. I found a nest with four 
eggs along Black Brook, Cylon Township, St. Croix County, on 9 July 1978. 

Habitat: Willow thickets and Shrub Carr associations are the primary 
habitats of this bird. The St. Croix County nest was placed in a young black 
willow located in an extensive Shrub Carr. Observations of singing males are 
invariably associated with these wetland types. 

Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Observations of alder flycatchers during spring are usually pairs 
on presumed breeding territories. Song dates of first observation usually 
occur 15-20 May in the Western Upland and about 20 May in the Northern 
Highland. Alder flycatchers are apparently most numerous 20 May to 
5 June. Fall migration begins in mid-August, reaching peak numbers 
1-10 September. Departure of this species occurs 15-20 September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common to locally common nesting 
species north of the Tension Zone. Within this zone of overlap, observations 
of breeding pairs have been made in southern Washington and northwestern 
Pierce counties. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 3) indicate that the 
largest breeding populations occur north of the Tension Zone. Documented 
nesting records exist for Polk and Douglas counties. Faanes and Goddard 
(1976) cited observations of singing males 15-20 June in northern St. Croix 
County. 

Habitat: Alder flycatchers use a greater diversity of habitat types than is 

\ 



102 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

used by the preceding species. Nests in Polk County were in Alder Thicket 
habitat where speckled alder was the predominant shrub species. Elsewhere, 
breeding pairs have been recorded in Northern Hardwood Forest, Black 
Spruce-Tamarack Bogs, and Deciduous Clear Cuts. 

Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common to locally abundant migrant in all regions, reaching 
largest numbers in the Central Plain and Northern Highland. Spring 
migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 May and the Northern Highland 
by 10 May. Peak abundance occurs 15 May in the Western Upland to 
20 May in the north. Fall migration begins in early August. Peak fall migra- 
tion occurs 20 August to 1 September in the north and 25 August to 5 Sep- 
tember elsewhere. Departure from the Northern Highland occurs 10-15 Sep- 
tember and elsewhere by 30 September (latest— 5 October 1974, St. Croix 
County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common to locally abundant nesting species 
in all regions. Goddard (1972) reported a breeding density of 8.1 pairs per 
40 ha in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County. Confirmed nesting 
records exist only for Polk County; inferred nesting has been documented in 
all other counties. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 3) indicate that least 
flycatcher breeding populations apparently increase in abundance moving 
northward through the Valley, reaching peak density in the Northern High- 
land. Jackson (1942) reported that the least flycatcher was the most abun- 
dant flycatcher in Polk and Burnett counties. 

Habitat: Primarily an edge species; nesting season least flycatchers are 
usually recorded in a variety of habitat types. Western Upland breeding 
birds are usually associated with medium-aged Southern Deciduous Forest 
and mature Lowland Deciduous Forest. Central Plain and Northern High- 
land birds are typically recorded in mature Northern Hardwood Forest, 
Deciduous Clear Cut, and mixed coniferous-deciduous forest. In the Jack 
Pine Barren regions of the Central Plain, breeding pairs are usually asso- 
ciated with deciduous habitats along streams rather than jack pines. 

Eastern Wood Pewee (Contopus virens) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Eastern wood pewees are among the latest arriving flycatchers 
in this region, usually not observed until after 15 May (earliest— 26 April 
1974, Burnett County), and peak migration occurs 20-30 May. Fall migra- 
tion begins about 5 August in the Northern Highland and 15 August else- 
where. Peak migration occurs 20 August to 1 September and departure by 
25 September (latest— 27 September 1976, Washington County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species in all regions of 
the Valley. Confirmed nesting has been documented in St. Croix and 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 103 

Douglas counties with inferred nesting elsewhere. Breeding Bird Survey 
data (Table 3) indicate that a fairly uniform breeding population occurs in 
the Western Upland and Central Plain. Relative abundance increases mark- 
edly north of that zone. Goddard (1972) found this species to be the sixth 
most abundant breeding bird along the Kinnickinnic River in Pierce County. 
The mean breeding density in that area was 27.4 pairs per 40 ha. 

Habitat: The eastern wood pewee is characteristic of mature deciduous 
forest. In the Western Upland, breeding pairs are generally associated with 
mature Lowland Deciduous Forest and occasionally with mature Southern 
Deciduous Forest. Central Plain and Northern Highland populations are 
apparently most numerous in mature Northern Hardwood Forest. 

Olive-sided Flycatcher (Nuttallornis borealis) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: The olive-sided flycatcher is among the latest arriving songbirds. 
Average date of spring arrivals in the Western Upland is 16 May and arri- 
vals in the Northern Highland are during 20-25 May. Dates of peak abun- 
dance are not provided, primarily because this bird migrates singly or in 
small groups. Consequently, very few individuals are recorded daily during 
periods when they would be expected to be numerous. Migrants have usually 
departed nonbreeding areas by 1 June (latest— 11 June 1974, Pierce 
County). Fall migrants arrive in the Western Upland during early August 
and become most conspicuous 20-30 August. Departure from northern 
nesting areas occurs about 5 September and departure elsewhere by 20 Sep- 
tember. 

Nesting Season Distribution: The only confirmed evidence of nesting is pro- 
vided by Green and Janssen (1975) who listed a nest record from Sturgeon 
Lake, Pine County. Considerable inferred breeding evidence exists for north- 
ern Burnett and southern Douglas counties where this bird is an uncommon 
and local summer resident. Although nests have not been observed, exten- 
sive stands of black spruce-tamarack habitat along the St. Croix River in 
Burnett, Douglas, and Pine counties usually support breeding season 
adults. 

Habitat: Olive-sided flycatchers are characteristic of boreal forest habitat 
during the nesting season. Extensive stands of Lowland Coniferous Forest, 
combined with an interspersion of open areas of sphagnum moss provide 
ideal breeding habitat. Also frequently used are white cedar swamps. One 
factor that characterizes olive-sided flycatcher habitat is the presence of 
dead snags that are used for feeding and singing perches. 

FAMILY ALAUDIDAE: Larks 

Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual winter resident. 



104 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Migration: Common to abundant migrant throughout the Valley. The 
largest numbers occur in open agricultural regions of the Western Upland 
and Central Plain. Spring migration begins during late January in the south 
and the first migrants reach Burnett and Pine counties by 15 February. 
Peak spring migration occurs between 25 February and 25 March. Peak fall 
migration occurs between 15 October and 10 November and most have de- 
parted by 15 December. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Horned larks are common nesting birds in the 
Western Upland and Central Plain, rare and local in the Northern Highland. 

Winter: During the winter, horned larks present a perplexing problem in 
determining whether individuals are early or late migrants or actual winter 
residents. North of St. Croix Falls, this species is generally absent from mid- 
December to late January. South of St. Croix Falls, occasional small flocks 
of 5 to 20 individuals can be found in open areas during this period. I usually 
consider displaying individuals to be returning summer residents and con- 
sider migration to be commencing with the observation of the first large 
flocks. 

Habitat: Horned larks are characteristic of agricultural areas. Breeding 
densities appear largest in short vegetation associated with domestic hay- 
fields and oat stubble. This species has adapted well to man's increased agri- 
cultural production and breeding pairs regularly use bare cultivated fields 
and various row-crop fields. 

FAMILY HIRUNDINIDAE: Swallows 

Tree Swallow {Iridoprocne bicolor) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Abundant migrant in all regions. Spring migrants arrive in the 
Western Upland 25 March to 5 April and reach the Northern Highland 
5-10 April. Peak spring abundance occurs 20-30 April. Fall migration 
begins in late July with flocking of family groups. Peak fall abundance 
occurs 15-30 August and departure by 10 October. During peak fall migra- 
tion, tree swallows are occasionally observed in massive mixed-species 
flocks near large water bodies. Concentrations of 4,000 to 5,000 individuals 
are frequently observed along the lower St. Croix River. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, common and more local in the Northern High- 
land. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 3) show that tree swallows are uni- 
formly distributed throughout the Valley. 

Habitat: Tree swallows nest in loose, semicolonial associations. Breeding 
pairs are typically associated with water bodies that are normally near small 
groves of trees (Western Upland and Central Plain) or along northern Forest 
Bordered Lakes. Extensive use is made of the edge between deciduous forest 
and natural openings or agricultural fields. Nests are normally located in 
natural cavities in tree stumps or fence posts and occasionally in holes in 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 105 



stream banks. Tree swallows have benefited by exploiting the large number 
of eastern bluebird houses that have been placed in agricultural areas and 
near residential areas. 

Bank Swallow {Riparia riparia) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common spring and fall migrant throughout the Valley. Spring 
migrants arrive in the Western Upland 15-20 April and reach the Northern 
Highland 20-25 April. Peak abundance occurs between 25 April and 
15 May. Fall migration begins during mid- July. Peak abundance through 
the Valley occurs between 25 July and 5 August, and departure by 5 Sep- 
tember. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species throughout the 
Western Upland and Central Plain becoming uncommon to rare and local in 
the Northern Highland. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 3) show that the 
breeding distribution of this swallow is restricted primarily to areas that are 
not heavily forested. 

Habitat: Breeding bank swallows are associated with natural banks along 
rivers, streams, and lakes. Gravel pits and roadside banks that were exposed 
during highway construction are also heavily used. Colonies are frequently 
associated with open agricultural areas that are used extensively for for- 
aging. 

Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, 
north to Grantsburg, Burnett County; rare and local elsewhere. Spring 
migrants arrive 15-25 April and peak abundance occurs 25 April to 5 May. 
Fall migration begins in late July with gathering of family groups. Peak 
abundance occurs between 25 July and 10 August and departure by 1 Sep- 
tember. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common (locally abundant) breeding 
species in the Western Upland and Central Plain, rare to absent in heavily 
forested regions. Breeding Bird Survey data suggest that this species is the 
least common of the swallows nesting in the Valley. However, Goddard 
(1972) found rough-winged swallows among the 10 most abundant breeding 
bird species along the Kinnickinnic River, Pierce County. Average breeding 
density in that area was 26.5 pairs per 40 ha. This exceptionally high density 
results from the numerous exposed limestone cliffs along that river, which 
provide abundant nesting sites. 

Habitat: Breeding rough-winged swallows are usually associated with ex- 
posed banks along rivers and streams. Particularly important are limestone 
cliffs along fast-moving streams and rivers in the Western Upland. Occa- 
sional use is made of artificial earthen banks and bridges over small streams. 



106 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common spring and fall migrant throughout the Valley. Spring 
migrants arrive in the Western Upland during 15-20 April reaching the 
Northern Highland about 25 April (earliest— 11 April 1953, Burnett 
County). Peak abundance during spring migration occurs 5-10 May. Fall 
migration begins about 1 August. Peak fall abundance occurs 25 August to 
10 September and departure by 10-15 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, uncommon and local in the Northern Highland. 
Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 3) suggest that the barn swallow is the 
most numerous breeding swallow in the Western Upland and Central Plain. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of open habitats, usually associated with 
human habitation. Most nests are found under bridges or on buildings. 

Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley, occasionally abundant 
near the St. Croix River. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 
1-5 May and peak abundance occurs 10-20 May. Fall migration begins in 
mid- August. Peak fall abundance occurs 1-10 September and departure by 
25 September (latest— 18 October 1974, Pierce County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common breeding species throughout 
the Valley. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 3) suggest that the abundance 
of the nesting population increases northward across the Valley. 

Habitat: Primarily a colonial or semicolonial nesting species, utilizing barns, 
sheds, and bridges extensively for nest placement. Occasional groups are 
found nesting in natural settings, including limestone cliffs. 

Purple Martin (Progne subis) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common to abundant migrant throughout the Valley. Spring 
migrants arrive 5-10 April and peak abundance occurs 1-10 May. Fall 
migration begins about 1 August. Peak abundance occurs 25 August to 
1 September and departure by 20 September (latest— 6 October 1966, Wash- 
ington County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species throughout the 

Valley. Jackson (1942) referred to the purple martin as "the most generally 

distributed" among the swallows in northwestern Wisconsin. Breeding Bird 

Survey data (Table 3) suggest that the largest densities occur in the Central 

Plain. 

Habitat: The purple martin is one of few species benefiting from expanding 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 107 

human population. Colonial martin houses in residential and rural areas 
have become vitally important to this species. 

FAMILY CORVIDAE: Jays, Magpies, and Crows 

Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis) 

Status: Casual migrant, winter and summer resident. 

Migration: Irregular migrant throughout the Valley. Earliest fall migration 
records include 17 October 1976 (Washington County), 25 October 1965 
(Crex Meadows, Burnett County), and 1 November 1974 (Chisago County). 
Most fall observations occur 15 November to 15 December. Green (1967) de- 
scribed an invasion of gray jays in northern Minnesota that resulted in sev- 
eral Valley records. Spring observations range from 23 February 1957 to 
30 March 1966 and 6 April 1954 (Crex Meadows, Burnett County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: W. Norling observed one pair of gray jays in a 
spruce forest southwest of Moose Junction, Douglas County, on 3 July 
1978. On 27 June 1956, A. C. Sprunt observed several gray jays in the Koh- 
ler-Peet Wildlife Area, Burnett County (Lound and Lound 19566). Sprunt 
found this species near Gordon, Douglas County, on 6 July 1956. 

Winter: Irregular winter visitor with documented records only from Burnett 
(1948, 1955, 1957, and 1976), Pierce (January 2, 1976) and Pine (1973 and 
1976) counties. During the winter of 1956-57, gray jays were reported as 
"numerous" near Grantsburg, Burnett County. This species is probably 
more common during winter months than available data indicate, par- 
ticularly in the Northern Highland. 

Habitat: During migration and winter, gray jays use a variety of habitats in- 
cluding Lowland Coniferous Forest, Northern Hardwood Forest, and Jack 
Pine Barren. Summer observations have been restricted to extensive areas 
of Lowland Coniferous Forest. 

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristaia) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Common to locally abundant migrant in all regions. The first 
migration movements in spring are usually noted about 1-5 April and peak 
numbers occur 25 April to 10 May. Fall migration begins in mid-August 
with the formation of loose flocks. Peak movements during fall occur 
5-15 September and most migrants have departed the Northern Highland 
by 15 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common breeding species in the 
Western Upland and Central Plain, common in the Northern Highland. God- 
dard (1972) found the blue jay to be among the 10 most common breeding 
birds in mixed deciduous habitat along the Kinnickinnic River, Pierce 
County. Mean breeding density in that area was 23 pairs per 40 ha. Breeding 



108 



NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



Table 5. Mean number of corvids, parids, wrens, mimids, and thrushes 
recorded on western Wisconsin Breeding Bird Survey transects, 1966-78. 





Western 












Upland 


Central Plain 


Northern Highland 


Species group 


Hudson 


Dresser 


Loraine 


Union 


Minong 


Corvids 












Blue jay 


4.9 


9.0 


11.2 


29.0 


19.1 


Common raven 


0.0 


0.0 


0.5 


<0.1 


3.2 


Common crow 


36.3 


30.2 


54.7 


28.6 


29.5 


Parids and nuthatches 












Black-capped chickadee 


0.4 


0.6 


2.4 


7.0 


8.2 


White-breasted nuthatch 


0.6 


1.8 


2.2 


1.0 


0.5 


Red-breasted nuthatch 


0.0 


<0.1 


0.0 


0.2 


0.5 


Wrens 












House wren 


8.9 


10.4 


13.3 


14.8 


9.0 


Winter wren 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.1 


Long-billed marsh wren 


0.0 


0.2 


0.2 


0.0 


0.0 


Short-billed marsh wren 


2.5 


3.7 


6.4 


0.0 


1.3 


Mimids 












Gray catbird 


5.2 


8.8 


16.7 


8.0 


12.4 


Brown thrasher 


8.4 


9.1 


5.2 


5.9 


5.6 


Thrushes 












American robin 


30.5 


46.1 


30.6 


19.8 


26.9 


Wood thrush 


0.4 


0.6 


0.7 


0.8 


2.2 


Hermit thrush 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


1.4 


6.1 


Veery 


<0.1 


1.4 


11.2 


1.2 


27.1 


Eastern bluebird 


2.1 


3.8 


3.9 


6.7 


1.8 



Bird Survey data (Table 5) demonstrate a gradual increase in abundance 
northward across the Valley. 

Winter: Blue jays are among the few conspicuous members of the winter avi- 
fauna in the Valley. Populations vary considerably each winter because of 
various environmental factors affecting habitat suitability and food supply. 
Analysis of CBC data (Table 4) indicates that winter populations are largest 
in the Western Upland region where the predominant habitat is Southern 
Deciduous Forest. Winter populations in Jack Pine Barrens (Grantsburg 
CBC) are also high. Lowest winter populations occur in the mixed decid- 
uous-coniferous forest type of the Northern Highland. Largest CBC counts 
include 597 (2 January 1976) and 485 (2 January 1977) on the Suburban St. 
Paul CBC, and 509 (1 January 1970) on the Afton CBC. 

Habitat: Blue jays use a variety of habitats for nesting, including deciduous 
and coniferous communities, edge situations, and various ornamental plant- 
ings in residential areas. Highest breeding densities occur in northern conif- 
erous communities including Jack Pine Barren and mixed deciduous-conif- 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 109 



erous habitats. In the Western Upland, blue jays are common in Southern 
Deciduous Forest and in remnants of oak savannah. This species appears to 
be partial to oak forest. During years of poor acorn production, the migra- 
tion of this species is heavy. In years of high acorn production, large win- 
tering populations occur. 



Black-billed Magpie (Pica pica) 

Status: Casual, two fall records and one hypothetical record. 

Records: K. H. Dueholm observed a black-billed magpie at the McKenzie 
Creek Wildlife Area, Polk County, on 25 October 1973. C. Strehlow observed 
one in St. Croix County on 12 November 1921 (Milwaukee Public Museum 
files). Bernard (1967) described a specimen in the University of Wiscon- 
sin-Superior bird collection that was "said to have been taken at Solon 
Springs in the 1930's. Unfortunately, however, no label is attached to the 
specimen." Roberts (1932) stated that in Minnesota, the black-billed magpie 
occurs "as far east as Pine and Goodhue counties, both bordering on the 
Wisconsin line." 



Common Raven (Corvus corax) 

Status: Regular permanent resident. 

Migration: Uncommon spring and fall migrant in the Northern Highland 
and Central Plain, accidental elsewhere. Definite migratory movements 
begin about 15 October, reaching a peak by 1 December. Spring migration 
begins in late February with dispersal from winter territories. Most ravens 
have reached their breeding territories by 1 April. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Breeding Bird Survey data suggest that the 
common raven is a rare breeding bird in the Central Plain and uncommon in 
the Northern Upland (Table 5). Documented nest records exist only for 
Burnett and Polk counties. Jackson (1942) failed to record ravens during his 
research in northwestern Wisconsin in 1919. Bernard (1967) considered 
common ravens uncommon in summer, but cited no evidence of breeding. 

Winter: Fairly common to common winter resident in the Northern High- 
land, uncommon to fairly common in the Central Plain. The largest concen- 
trations have been recorded near Solon Springs, Douglas County; 192 were 
recorded on 23 December 1974. 

Habitat: Common ravens are not characteristic of any one habitat during 
the breeding season. The Burnett County nest was found in an oak savannah 
that was invaded by jack pine. The Polk County nest was in mixed aspen- 
maple forest. Observations of apparent territorial common ravens indicate 
an attraction to Northern Hardwood Forest during the nesting season. 
Large numbers of common ravens are usually associated with garbage 
dumps during the winter. 



110 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Common Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Spring migration begins in the Western Upland during mid-Feb- 
ruary with dispersal from local winter roosts. Numbers of migrants grad- 
ually increase, reaching peak numbers 25 March to 10 April. Fall migration 
begins in late August with flock formation. Peak movements occur 20 Sep- 
tember to 15 October and nonwintering birds have departed by 15 No- 
vember. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting bird in all regions. Breeding 
Bird Survey data indicate a fairly uniform breeding population throughout 
the Valley; greatest abundance is in the Central Plain (Table 5). Documented 
breeding records exist for all eight counties. 

Winter: The CBC data (Table 4) show the winter distribution pattern of the 
common crow. This species is common to locally abundant in the Western 
Upland, fairly common in the Central Plain, and rare and local in the North- 
ern Highland. The highest winter counts include 959 (1 January 1975), 941 
(1 January 1977), and 908 (1 January 1974), all on the Afton CBC. 

Habitat: The common crow is primarily an edge species using several wood- 
land habitat types. Common crow breeding habitat is further characterized 
by the association of agricultural fields or Old Field Community. Also used 
is Lowland Deciduous Forest and Northern Hardwood Forest. The occur- 
rence of large farming operations and the resultant abundance of waste 
grains probably enhance the habitats of the Western Upland for wintering 
common crows. 

FAMILY PARIDAE: Titmice 

Black-capped Chickadee (Parus atricapillus) 

Status: Regular permanent resident. 

Distribution: Uncommon (locally common) nesting species in the Western 
Upland, common and more widespread in the Central Plain and Northern 
Highland. Analysis of BBS data (Table 5) suggests a rapid increase in abun- 
dance moving northward from the southern oak forest type of the Western 
Upland to the mixed deciduous-coniferous forest of the Northern Highland. 
Goddard (1972) reported a breeding density of 15.1 pairs per 40 ha in mixed 
habitats along the Kinnickinnic River, Pierce County. Jackson (1943) re- 
ported that this species was "only moderately common at most localities" in 
northwestern Wisconsin. However, he reported it "seemed to be more plenti- 
ful .. . at Solon Springs." 

Winter: Common and well-distributed winter resident in the Western Up- 
land and Central Plain, uncommon in the Northern Highland. Christmas 
Bird Count data (Table 4) also suggest that the largest winter densities 
occur in the southern regions. Mean numbers of black-capped chickadees on 
the Afton CBC (Western Upland) are nearly three times as large as those 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 111 

on the Solon Springs CBC (Northern Highland). Comparison of CBC and 
BBS data (Tables 4 and 5) shows that the relative abundance of this species 
among physiographic regions is reversed between seasons. This is logical 
considering the periodic influxes of this species into areas south of the breed- 
ing range throughout the eastern United States. 

Habitat: The black-capped chickadee is rather cosmopolitan in its choice of 
habitats during the nesting season. Breeding pairs in the Western Upland 
use Southern Deciduous Forest and Lowland Deciduous Forest most exten- 
sively. Habitat use in the Central Plain includes Northern Hardwood Forest, 
Lowland Deciduous Forest, Black Spruce-Tamarack Bog, and Jack Pine 
Barren. In the Northern Highland, extensive use is made of Northern Hard- 
wood Forest, primarily stands of medium-aged mixed forest that is domi- 
nated by sugar maple, basswood, and scattered white pine. Also important 
in this region are Lowland Coniferous Forest, Black Spruce-Tamarack Bog, 
and remnant stands of Upland Coniferous Forest. One important aspect of 
black-capped chickadee breeding habitat is the presence of natural cavities 
or dead snags for nest placement. The spread of Dutch Elm disease, pri- 
marily in Lowland Deciduous Forest, may benefit this species. Several 
breeding pairs that I observed in this habitat in the Western Upland were 
using holes in dead American elm that had been excavated by woodpeckers. 

Boreal Chickadee (Parus hudsonicus) 

Status: Casual winter resident, one summer record. 

Winter: Boreal chickadees have been recorded on several CBC's: Afton— 
29 December 1966 and 1 January 1972; Suburban St. Paul— 1 January 1975; 
Grantsburg— 26 December 1976; and Solon Springs— 23 December 1976. A 
single bird was recorded at St. Croix Falls (Polk County) on 3 January 1950, 
and one individual in Washington County on 30 September 1972. 

Nesting Season Distribution: An adult was seen and heard near Solon 
Springs, Douglas County, on 27 June 1972. Boreal chickadees are not known 
to nest in northwestern Wisconsin; Bernard (1967) mentioned only winter 
records from Douglas County. Green and Janssen (1975) showed that the 
breeding range of this species in Minnesota extended south to central 
Carlton County. 

The midsummer Douglas County record increases the probability that the 
boreal chickadee nests rarely in the Valley. An abundance of suitable 
Lowland Coniferous Forest habitat exists along the St. Croix in southern 
Douglas County and throughout Pine County. Additional field work in this 
region during the summer may provide confirmation of nesting. 

Habitat: Boreal chickadees observed during the winter are usually found at 
feeding stations. The June 1972 observation was of a single bird in Lowland 
Coniferous Forest. 

Tufted Titmouse (Parus bicolor) 
Status: Regular permanent resident. 



112 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Distribution: Rare and local breeding species restricted primarily to the 
Western Upland. Establishment of this species in the lower Valley has been 
very recent. Roberts (1932) rarely found this bird in southeastern Minnesota 
and then primarily only during the winter months. Currently, the major area 
of abundance appears to be along the St. Croix River and its major tribu- 
taries north to Marine-on-St. Croix (Washington County). Confirmed nest 
records have been obtained from St. Croix and Washington counties. Edgar 
(1943) observed tufted titmice feeding their young in Washington County on 
25 July 1943, thus providing the first confirmed nest record for Minnesota. 
Occasional records from central Polk and southern Burnett counties (Bauers 
1964), suggest another range extension. Young (1967) summarized the dis- 
tribution of this species in Wisconsin and reported that the tufted titmouse 
was concentrated south of the Tension Zone in that State. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of mature Lowland Deciduous Forest asso- 
ciated with major tributaries of the St. Croix River. Near Afton State Park 
(Washington County) and along the Kinnickinnic River (Pierce County), 
tufted titmice also use stands of medium-aged Southern Deciduous Forest. 



FAMILY SITTIDAE: Nuthatches 



White-breasted Nuthatch {Sitta carolinensis) 

Status: Regular permanent resident. 

Distribution: Fairly common permanent resident throughout the Valley, de- 
creasing in abundance northward. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 5) sug- 
gest that breeding white-breasted nuthatches occur in largest numbers in 
the Central Plain, becoming much less numerous in the heavily forested 
Northern Highland. Bernard (1967), however, considered this species 
common in Douglas County. Goddard (1972) reported a breeding season 
density of 14.7 pairs per 40 ha along the Kinnickinnic River, Pierce County. 

Winter: Common winter resident in the Western Upland, fairly common in 
the Central Plain, and uncommon in the Northern Highland. Christmas Bird 
Count data (Table 4) show a rapid decrease in relative abundance moving 
northward through the Valley. Densities in birds per party hour are nearly 
10 times greater on the Afton Count (Western Upland) than on the Solon 
Springs Count (Northern Highland). 

Habitat: Primarily a species of various deciduous forest communities in- 
cluding Southern Deciduous Forest, Lowland Deciduous Forest, and North- 
ern Hardwood Forest. Rarely encountered during the breeding season in 
pure coniferous forest. Although nests are frequently placed in coniferous 
trees (primarily white pine), breeding pairs are usually associated with 
extensive mixed deciduous-coniferous forest. Breeding pairs regularly use 
large deciduous trees in residential areas. Residential feeding stations are 
important during winter. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 113 

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: An irruptive species, usually an uncommon migrant throughout 
the Valley. During years of peak migration, red-breasted nuthatches are 
common to locally abundant, primarily in the Northern Highland and Cen- 
tral Plain. In years when this species stages a major population influx, the 
first migrants may arrive by 15 July and build gradually to a 20 September 
to 15 October peak. Fall migrants arrive in the Central Plain and Western 
Upland during late August (earliest— 19 August 1970, Washington County). 
Peak fall abundance occurs 1 October to 15 November. Peak spring migra- 
tion occurs 15 March to 15 April and most have departed nonbreeding areas 
by 15 May. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Green and Janssen (1975) reported that nests 
or family groups were observed in Washington County. These authors 
showed that the breeding range of the red-breasted nuthatch included all 
three Minnesota counties. There are no known breeding records for the Wis- 
consin counties. Nesting season adults are rare in the Central Plain and un- 
common in the Northern Highland. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 5) 
suggest that this nuthatch is uncommon in southern Douglas County and 
throughout Pine County. 

Winter: Uncommon to rare and irregular winter resident in the Western 
Upland, uncommon in the Central Plain, and fairly common in the Northern 
Highland (Table 4). The occasional winter irruptions are considered to be re- 
lated to the failure of the pinecone crop in northern nesting regions. Young's 
(1965) analysis of winter red-breasted nuthatch distribution in Wisconsin 
suggests that largest densities occur north of the Tension Zone. 

Habitat: During the nesting season, the red-breasted nuthatch is character- 
istic of Lowland Coniferous Forest that supports black spruce, tamarack, 
and yellow birch in the overstory. Occasional breeding pairs are also re- 
corded in Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs, and in Northern Hardwood Forest 
that exhibits a mixture of coniferous and deciduous tree species. Winter 
habitat use is similar to that of the nesting season in the Northern Highland 
and Central Plain. Wintering red-breasted nuthatches in the Western 
Upland make extensive use of Pine Plantations. Ornamental conifers asso- 
ciated with feeding stations in residential areas also receive use during the 
winter. 

FAMILY CERTHIIDAE: Creepers 

Brown Creeper (Certhia familiaris) 

Status: Regular migrant, winter resident, and probable nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 10-20 March, reaching the Northern Highland 
about 25 March. Peak spring abundance occurs 10-20 April and departure 



114 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

by 10 May (latest— 19 May 1966, Washington County). The first fall mi- 
grants arrive in the Western Upland 1-10 September. Peak fall abundance 
occurs 25 September to 25 October and most have departed by 20 No- 
vember. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon and local resident, restricted pri- 
marily to the Northern Highland, although occasionally observed in the 
Central Plain. There is no direct evidence of nesting in the Valley. I have ob- 
served breeding season adults along the upper St. Croix River in Douglas 
and Pine counties in 1976 and 1977. Although I observed no nests or young, 
these records suggest possible nesting. Intensive field work in southern 
Douglas and throughout Pine counties during late May and June may shed 
additional light on brown creeper breeding status. 

Winter: Brown creepers occur throughout the Valley during early winter; ob- 
servations were made until 23 December in southern Douglas County. 
During midwinter this species is rare or absent in the Northern Highland 
and Central Plain, uncommon and local in the Western Upland. 

Habitat: My observations of brown creepers during the nesting season have 
been confined to extensive stands of Northern Hardwood Forest that are 
dominated by mixed sugar maple, basswood, white birch, trembling aspen, 
red pine, and white pine. During the winter Lowland Deciduous Forest, 
dominated by silver maple, American elm, and green ash, is used exten- 
sively. Occasional use is also made of mixed-oak forest and Pine Plantations. 

FAMILY TROGLODYTIDAE: Wrens 

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 
in the Western Upland 20-25 April (earliest— 15 April 1978, St. Croix 
County) and reach the Northern Highland about 25 April. Peak spring 
migration occurs 1-10 May. Peak fall migration occurs 25 August to 15 Sep- 
tember and departure by 10 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 5) show that 
this is the most numerous wren in the Valley during the nesting season and 
that relative abundance is similar throughout the Valley. Jackson (1943) ob- 
served that the house wren was a common nesting species throughout north- 
western Wisconsin. Goddard (1972) found that house wrens were the third 
most abundant breeding species in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce 
County. Mean density in that area was 36.1 pairs per 40 ha. 

Habitat: A characteristic species of several deciduous forest communities in- 
cluding Southern Deciduous Forest, Old Field Community, Northern Hard- 
wood Forest, Lowland Deciduous Forest, and Deciduous Clear Cut. Also im- 
portant are edge habitats including forest-agricultural field borders, brushy 
road ditches, and brushy fencerows. Jackson (1943) found house wrens 
"especially abundant" in burns and cut-over land. This species has adapted 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 115 

well to ornamental plantings in residential areas and is a familiar "back 
yard" bird, responding especially well to artificial cavities. 

Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, two winter records. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 30 March to 10 April, reaching the Northern 
Highland 10-15 April (earliest— 27 March 1942, Burnett County; Feeney 
1942). Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 15 April to 1 May 
and departure from non-nesting areas occurs by 10 May. Fall migration 
begins in late August and the first migrants arrive in the Western Upland 
10-15 September. Peak fall abundance occurs 25 September to 15 October 
and departure by 1 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon nesting species restricted pri- 
marily to the Northern Highland (Table 5). Hofslund (1952) reported a nest 
with four young at Solon Springs, Douglas County. Rare and casual else- 
where during the nesting season. Green and Janssen (1975) mentioned sum- 
mer records but no broods from Washington County. Several recent records 
suggest that the winter wren is probably established as a nesting species in 
northeastern Chisago County. Longley (19736) reported winter wrens along 
Lawrence Creek, Chisago County, on 9 June 1973, and Bratlie (1976) ob- 
served a winter wren nest at the same location on 16 June 1976. 

Winter: There are two records (1 January 1968 and 1973) from the St. Croix 
County portion of the Afton CBC. 

Habitat: The winter wren is a characteristic nesting species of Lowland 
Coniferous Forest dominated by black spruce, balsam fir, and yellow birch. 
The Chisago County nesting area was described by Longley (19736) as a 
hardwood forest consisting of sugar maple, yellow birch, American elm, ash, 
white pine, and red pine. 

Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii) 

Status: Casual migrant and summer resident. 

Records: S. D. Robbins observed Bewick's wrens near North Hudson, St. 
Croix County, on four occasions: 5-17 May 1963; 13 May 1964; 7 May 1965; 
and 17 June 1961. Green and Janssen (1975) mentioned that Bewick's wren 
had been observed during the summer in Washington County. 



Carolina Wren (Thyrothorus ludovicianus) 

Status: Casual migrant, nesting species, and winter visitor. 

Migration Records: Roberts (1938) reported the observation of a single Caro- 
lina wren at Woodbury, Washington County, on 30 May 1935. One was ob- 
served at St. Croix Falls, Polk County (no date), during 1940 (Kumlien and 



116 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Hollister 1951). I found one along the Kinnickinnic River, Pierce County, on 
26 April 1977. S. D. Robbins found one near Roberts, St. Croix County, on 
3 May 1965 (Faanes and Goddard 1976). Olyphant (1972) caught and banded 
a Carolina wren in Washington County on 26 October 1971. This bird 
remained in the area through at least 4 January 1972. 

Winter: One Carolina wren was reported on the Afton CBC in Washington 
County on 1 January 1974 (Eckert 1974). W. Gantenbein observed single 
Carolina wrens at Osceola, Polk County, during December 1965 to 
13 January 1966 (Hilsenhoff 1966), and December 1966 to 14 January 1967. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Green and Janssen (1975) reported that Caro- 
lina wrens have nested in Washington County. In 1938, two Carolina wrens 
were observed at St. Croix Falls by S. Owen from 15 April to 4 September. 
During the summer of 1938, several unsuccessful nest searches were made, 
but on 2 and 3 July the adults were seen with four fully grown young. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of Lowland Deciduous Forest and adjacent 
edge habitats. 

Long-billed Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain, uncommon to rare and local in the Northern Highland. Spring 
migrants arrive in the Western Upland 25-30 April and the Northern High- 
land 1-5 May. Peak abundance during spring migration occurs 10-20 May. 
Fall migration begins in late August. Peak abundance in the Western Up- 
land occurs 5-15 September and departure by 15 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon and local nesting species in the 
Western Upland and Central Plain, rare and local in the Northern Highland. 
Evidence of nesting has been obtained in Burnett, Chisago, Polk, St. Croix, 
and Washington counties. 

Habitat: A characteristic nesting species of seasonally, semipermanently, 
and permanently flooded wetlands. Principal vegetation associated with 
long-billed marsh wren nesting habitat includes cattail, hardstem bulrush, 
river bulrush, burreed, and phragmites. This species nests in reduced 
numbers along the edges of more acidic northern Forest Bordered Wetlands 
and in emergent vegetation along rivers. 

Short-billed Marsh Wren (Cistothorus platensis) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, un- 
common and local in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the 
Western Upland 25-30 April and the Northern Highland 1-5 May. Peak 
spring migration through the Valley occurs 15 May to 5 June. Fall migra- 
tion begins during early August with a gradual exodus from nesting areas. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 117 



Peak fall migration occurs 25 August to 10 September and departure by 
1 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common to abundant nesting species in the 
Western Upland and Central Plain, uncommon and local in the Northern 
Highland. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 5) suggest that the greatest 
abundance occurs in the Central Plain. 

Habitat: In the Central Plain and Northern Highland, the species is found in 
Northern Sedge Meadow dominated by tussock sedge, manna grass, and 
bluejoint grass. In the Western Upland, breeding pairs are frequently en- 
countered in Shrub Carr Wetlands. During dry years, this wren also uses 
alfalfa and timothy hayfields, Managed Grasslands, and occasionally Old 
Field Community. 



FAMILY MIMIDAE: Mockingbirds and Thrashers 

Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) 

Status: Casual visitor. 

Records: The first record was obtained at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, 
on 7 May 1958 (MacBriar 1958). One was recorded at Crex Meadows on 5 
and 16 May 1964 (Soulen 1965). Two were recorded in Washington County 
on 23 May 1978 (Willard 1971) and 19 July 1978 (Green 1979). Single mock- 
ingbirds were observed at Crex Meadows on 10 May 1975 and 23 May 1976 
(M. Link, personal communication), and on 18 May 1980 (D. D. Tessen, per- 
sonal communication). Faanes and Goddard (1976) cited a 25 April 1976 
record from near Woodville, St. Croix County. 

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual in winter. 

Migration: Common (locally abundant) migrant throughout the Valley. 
Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 May and the Northern 
Highland 5-10 May. Peak spring abundance occurs 10-20 May. Fall migra- 
tion begins in mid-August. Peak fall migration occurs 5-20 September and 
departure 5-10 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common (locally common) nesting 
species in the Western Upland, common in the Central Plain and fairly 
common in the Northern Highland. Goddard (1972) found the gray catbird 
the most abundant nesting species in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce 
County. Breeding density in that area was 48.9 pairs per 40 ha. Breeding 
Bird Survey data (Table 5) show that this species is well distributed 
throughout the Valley and that greatest densities occur in the Central Plain. 

Winter: Polk County records include 9 January to 30 March 1956 at Luck 
(Lound and Lound 1957a), and December 1956 to 1^ January 1957 (Lound 
and Lound 19576). A single gray catbird remained at a Newport feeder 



118 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

(Washington County) until 27 December 1964 (Huber 1965). One observed 
at St. Croix Falls, Polk County, on 9 March 1948 may have wintered locally 
(Robbins 1948c). 

Habitat: Primarily a species of deciduous forest edge habitats. Important 
among these are second-growth Northern Hardwood Forest, Deciduous 
Clear Cuts, Old Field Community, and fencerows. Lowland Deciduous 
Forest is occasionally used in the Western Upland and Black Spruce-Tam- 
arack Bogs receive limited use in the Northern Highland. In residential 
areas, ornamental shrubbery is used. 

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual early winter resident. 

Migration: Common migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, 
fairly common in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the 
Western Upland 20-25 April (earliest— 4 April 1975, Washington County) 
and reach the Northern Highland 25-30 April. Peak spring abundance 
occurs 1-15 May. Fall migration begins 15-30 August; peak movements 
occur 5-20 September and departure by 10 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, fairly common and more local in the Northern 
Highland. Jackson (1943) reported this species as "not common" in north- 
western Wisconsin in 1919 but almost 50 years later, Bernard (1967) consid- 
ered brown thrashers "common" in Douglas County. Breeding Bird Survey 
data (Table 5) suggest a gradual decrease in relative abundance moving 
northward across the Valley. Major changes in abundance appear to occur 
between the Central Plain and Northern Highland. Goddard (1972) reported 
a breeding density of 6.4 pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, 
Pierce County. 

Winter: There are three early winter records from Washington County: 
20 December 1969, 29 December 1973, and 1 January 1975. One remained at 
a Pierce County feeder through 11 January 1976 (Faanes and Goddard 
1976). 

Habitat: Primarily a species of edge habitats. Important among these are 
natural clearings in Southern Deciduous Forest, Old Field Community, 
brushy fencerows, and Deciduous Clear Cuts. Recently logged oak forests 
and grazed woodlots supporting an abundance of prickly ash and hawthorn 
are frequently used in the Western Upland. 



FAMILY TURDIDAE: Thrushes, Solitaires, and Bluebirds 

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley. The first spring mi- 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 119 

grants arrive in the Western Upland during the first 10 days of March, 
reaching the Northern Highland 15-25 March. Peak spring migration 
through the Valley occurs 25 March to 15 April. Fall migration begins 
during late August with the formation of loose feeding flocks. Peak fall 
migration occurs 15 September to 10 October and most have departed by 
1 November. During the peak of fall migration, flocks of 50 to 75 individuals 
are regularly encountered and occasional groups of 200 to 250 have been re- 
corded. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Abundant nesting species in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, common in the Northern Highland. Jackson 
(1943) considered the American robin abundant throughout northwestern 
Wisconsin in 1919. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 5) show that the Amer- 
ican robin is by far the most numerous nesting thrush in the Valley. God- 
dard (1972) recorded a nesting density of 18.4 pairs per 40 ha in the Kin- 
nickinnic River Valley, Pierce County. 

Winter: This species is fairly well distributed throughout the Valley; several 
midwinter records exist from Burnett, Douglas, and Pine counties. Amer- 
ican robins are regularly observed during midwinter in the Western Upland 
and appear to be dependent on trees and shrubs (mountain ash, cedar) that 
retain their fruits throughout the period. 

Habitat: Breeding American robins are found in nearly all habitat types in 
the Valley. This species has adapted well to man's continued alteration of 
the Valley and is a common breeding species in park-like Residential Habi- 
tats. The establishment of Pine Plantations, particularly in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, has provided increased areas of excellent 
nesting habitat. 

Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) 

Status: Casual winter visitor. 

Records: This western thrush has been recorded in the Valley at least seven 
times. Minnesota records include one at Stillwater, Washington County, 
from mid-December to 30 March 1974 (Eckert 1974). Additional Wash- 
ington County records include single birds on 3 January 1976, late No- 
vember 1976, and 9 January 1977. Longley (1967) observed a single bird in 
Chisago County on 13 November 1966. Records from the Wisconsin 
counties include one bird at Osceola, Polk County, from early December 
1948 until 21 April 1949 (Simmons 1949). One apparently wintering bird re- 
mained near Grantsburg, Burnett County, from 12 November 1963 to mid- 
March 1964 (Bauers 1964). 

Habitat: Varied thrushes in this region are usually found at feeding stations. 
Surrounding habitats include Southern Deciduous Forest composed pri- 
marily of Hill's and white oak and brushy edges. 

Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) 
Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 



120 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Migration: Uncommon migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 May, reaching the Northern Highland 
10-15 May. Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 10-25 May. 
During late July this species becomes very secretive and is not regularly en- 
countered. Peak fall migration apparently occurs 15-30 August and de- 
parture 20-30 September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon nesting species throughout the 
Valley. Jackson (1943) found this species "fairly common" at St. Croix Falls 
and heard it occasionally at Danbury (Burnett County) in 1919. Breeding 
Bird Survey data (Table 5) show a fairly uniform breeding density through- 
out the Western Upland and Central Plain. The greatest abundance appar- 
ently occurs in the Northern Highland. In Minnesota, however, Green and 
Janssen (1975) consider it most common south of the latitude occupied by 
the Twin Cities. Goddard (1972) reported a density of 2.1 pairs per 40 ha in 
the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County. 

Habitat: In the Western Upland, the wood thrush is most common in 
mature Southern Deciduous Forest and Lowland Deciduous Forest. Breed- 
ing pairs in the Central Plain are most commonly encountered in mesic 
Northern Hardwood Forest. In the Northern Highland, this species uses 
Northern Hardwood Forest and is occasionally found in Lowland Coniferous 
Forest. In all instances, wood thrushes appear to select woodlands with a 
closed canopy of mature trees. 

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. The hermit thrush is 
the first of the Catharus thrushes to arrive in spring. The first migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 5-10 April (earliest— 31 March 1967, Wash- 
ington County) and reach the Northern Highland 10-15 April. Peak spring 
migration occurs 15-25 April and departure from nonbreeding areas occurs 
by 10 May. Fall migration begins in late August. Peak abundance occurs 
25 September to 15 October and departure by 1 November (latest— 5 No- 
vember 1975). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species in the North- 
ern Highland, rare and local in the Central Plain (Table 5). Confirmed nest 
records exist for Douglas and Pine counties, and nesting is inferred in Bur- 
nett and Polk counties. 

Habitat: This species is characteristic of wet coniferous-deciduous forests in 
the Northern Highland. Important among these are Lowland Coniferous 
Forest, Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs, and low areas of Northern Hardwood 
Forest. Breeding pairs also use drier portions of Jack Pine Barrens through- 
out the Northern Highland. 

SwainsorTs Thrush {Catharus ustulatus) 

Status: Regular migrant and probable nesting species. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 121 

Migration: Common spring and abundant fall migrant throughout the 
Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 5-10 May (earliest— 
30 April 1950, Polk County), reaching the Northern Highland 10-15 May. 
Peak abundance through the Valley occurs 15-25 May and departure by 
5 June (latest— 8 June 1968, Polk County). This species is the first of the 
Catharus thrushes to arrive in the fall. The first migrants arrive in the 
Western Upland 5-10 August (earliest— 27 July 1966, St. Croix County). 
Peak abundance through the Valley occurs 25 August to 15 September and 
departure by 10 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local in the Northern Highland 
during the nesting season. There are no confirmed records of nesting in the 
Valley. Green and Janssen (1975) showed the probable breeding range of 
this thrush to include northern and central Pine County. Roberts (1932) 
mentioned records that suggest nesting in Pine County in 1918. I recorded 
one singing male along the St. Croix River in Douglas County on 20 June 
1976. This is my only summer record for the Valley. 

Habitat: During migration, Swainson's thrush regularly uses a wide range 
of deciduous and coniferous communities. My only nesting season record 
was obtained from a large tract of Lowland Coniferous Forest that was 
dominated by black spruce, balsam fir, and yellow birch. 

Gray-cheeked Thrush (Catharus minimus) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 5-10 May (earliest— 1 May 1967, St. Croix 
County), reaching the Northern Highland about 10 May. Peak migration 
occurs 15-25 May and departure by 5 June. Fall migrants arrive in the 
Northern Highland in mid-August, reaching the Western Upland 
25-30 August. Peak fall migration occurs 5-15 September and departure by 
1 October. 

Habitat: Largely restricted to mature tracts of Upland and Lowland Decid- 
uous Forest in the Western Upland. In the Central Plain and Northern High- 
land, this species is most numerous in Northern Hardwood and Lowland 
Coniferous Forests. 

Veery (Catharus fuscescens) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 
in the Western Upland 25 April to 1 May, reaching the Northern Highland 
1-5 May. Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 10-25 May. Fall 
migration begins in early August. Peak abundance occurs 20 August to 
10 September and departure by 1 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species in the Northern 
Highland and Central Plain, uncommon to rare and local in the Western 



122 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Upland. Jackson (1943) reported that the veery was common throughout 
northwestern Wisconsin. The southern limit of the breeding range is closely 
associated with the southern limit of maple-basswood forest. This range 
limit occurs about at the latitude occupied by Marine-on-St. Croix, Wash- 
ington County. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 5) suggest a rapid increase 
in relative abundance moving northward across the Valley. 

Habitat: Primarily a species occupying various age classes of moist decid- 
uous forest. In the Northern Highland and Central Plain, this species uses 
mature stands of Northern Hardwood Forest dominated by sugar maple, 
basswood, trembling aspen, and white birch. Alder Thicket, Lowland Conif- 
erous Forest, and Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs are also used in these 
regions. In the Western Upland, habitat use is almost entirely restricted to 
mixed maple-oak Forest. Occasional use is made of Shrub Carr wetlands 
that support an abundant growth of silver willow. 

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual in winter. 

Migration: Fairly common spring and fall migrant in the Western Upland 
and Central Plain, more localized in the Northern Highland. Spring mi- 
grants arrive in the Western Upland 20-30 March (earliest— 12 March 1966, 
Washington County and 12 March 1977, Pierce County) and the Northern 
Highland about 1 April. Peak abundance through the Valley occurs 
15-30 April. Fall migration begins with the formation of loose family groups 
in mid- August. Peak fall abundance occurs 15 September to 10 October and 
departure by 1 November (latest— 30 November 1967, Washington County). 
On 17 October 1964, W. E. Scott observed an estimated 200 eastern 
bluebirds near St. Croix Falls, Polk County (Kemper 1965). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species throughout the 
Valley. Jackson (1943) found this species common in northwestern Wis- 
consin, especially in recently burned areas. Breeding Bird Survey data 
(Table 5) suggest that a fairly uniform abundance exists throughout the 
Western Upland and Central Plain, except in the Jack Pine Barren region 
along the Union transect, Burnett County. 

Concern has been expressed about the status of the eastern bluebird in 
North America (cf. Arbib 1978) and in Wisconsin (R. L. Hine, personal com- 
munication). Some authorities believe that population declines are related to 
mortality on the wintering grounds, whereas others believe these declines 
are related to competition for nest sites with other hole-nesting species (e.g., 
house sparrow). Careful monitoring of the Valley population should be 
undertaken to determine if declines are occurring. 

Winter: One bird was observed at St. Croix Falls, Polk County, on 7 and 
8 February 1948. Two birds were observed in Washington County on 20 De- 
cember 1969. Roberts (1932) mentioned, without details, winter records 
from Washington County. 

Habitat: The eastern bluebird is a characteristic species of edge and open 
habitats including fencerows, early successional stage deciduous forest, 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 123 

Deciduous Clear Cuts, and openings in grazed woodlots. In the Northern 
Highland and Central Plain, extensive use is made of Jack Pine Barrens. 
This is evidenced by the high relative abundance of this species along the 
Union BBS transect, Burnett County. Local populations, particularly in 
agricultural areas, can be enhanced by the establishment and monitoring of 
bluebird houses. Many 4-H Clubs and Future Farmers of America (FFA) 
chapters have created "Bluebird Trails" that are very beneficial in providing 
nesting sites. 

Townsend's Solitaire {Myadestes townsendi) 

Status: Accidental. 

Records: One Townsend's solitaire was observed at Hudson, St. Croix 
County, from December 1942 to 10 January 1943 (Scott 1943a). Longley 
(1973a) described the observation of a single bird in Chisago County on 
27 April 1973. 

FAMILY SYLVIIDAE: Gnatcatchers and Kinglets 

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Uncommon and local migrant restricted primarily to the 
Western Upland. Spring migrants arrive 1-5 May and are most conspicuous 
after 15 May. Fall migration apparently begins in late July with dispersal of 
family groups. This species is most common during the fall 1-15 August and 
departure occurs by 25 August (latest— 6 September 1975, Washington 
County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon and local nesting species in the 
Western Upland. Occasional summer records at St. Croix Falls, Polk 
County, suggest possible nesting. The observations by Breckenridge (in 
Roberts 1932) and Maurer (1970) of nests at Marine-on-St. Croix are prob- 
ably the northernmost documented records in the Valley. Breckenridge re- 
ported two adults, but no young, at Taylor's Falls, Chisago County, on 
11 August 1938 (Erickson and Upson 1938). The area of greatest abundance 
is restricted to the lower St. Croix River and its major tributaries from Still- 
water, Washington County, south to its confluence with the Mississippi 
River. 

The status of this species as a nesting bird in the Valley is apparently 
changing. Robbins (1963) suggested that as of 1962 blue-gray gnatcatchers 
"may not be counted on to be present every year" at Hudson, St. Croix 
County. Since first observing nesting pairs along the Willow River at 
Hudson in 1973, the number of pairs on one site has risen from 7 in 1973 to 
17 in 1978. Expansion of this species along major St. Croix River tributaries 
in Wisconsin is also evident. During 1976 and 1977, breeding pairs were lo- 
cated along the Kinnickinnic River near Roberts, St. Croix County (Sec. 11, 
T. 28 N., R. 18 W.), along the Willow River near Jewett, St. Croix County 



124 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

(Sec. 4, T. 30 N., R. 17 W.), and along the Apple River near Amery, Polk 
County (Sec. 8, T. 32 N., R. 17 W.). Expansion along streams that are tribu- 
tary to the St. Croix River in Washington County has also been observed. 

Habitat: Characteristic species of mature tracts of Lowland Deciduous 
Forest along the St. Croix and its tributaries. Several breeding pairs located 
along the Lower Kinnickinnic River, Pierce County, in 1976 were using 
medium-aged Southern Deciduous Forest that was dominated by white oak 
and Hill's oak. The territories occupied by five pairs in 1976 and seven pairs 
in 1977 along the Willow River were associated with sapling cottonwood and 
green ash in the Lowland Forest. Three nests were placed from 2.1 to 6.1 m 
above the ground in young green ash trees. 

Golden-crowned Kinglet {Regulus satrapa) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 15-25 March, reaching the Northern Highland 
25-30 March. Peak abundance through the Valley occurs 5-25 April and de- 
parture by 15 May. Green and Janssen (1975) stated that the St. Croix River 
Valley can be included in this species' breeding range in Minnesota, al- 
though there are no breeding records to support this. Fall migrants arrive in 
the Northern Highland in mid-September, reaching the Western Upland 
25 September to 1 October. Peak fall abundance occurs 15 October to 1 No- 
vember and most have departed by 1 December. 

Winter: Uncommon to rare and local winter resident in the Western Upland, 
casual in the Northern Highland where several late December records have 
been obtained. 

Habitat: During migration and winter, this species is most commonly ob- 
served in coniferous communities and occasionally in Lowland Deciduous 
Forest. Most important among coniferous habitats are Pine Plantations and 
Lowland Coniferous Forest dominated by black spruce, balsam fir, and 
hemlock. 

Ruby-crowned Kinglet {Regulus calendula) 

Status: Regular migrant, casual summer and early winter resident. 

Migration: Common spring and fall migrant throughout the Valley. Spring 
migrants arrive in the Western Upland 5-10 April, reaching the Northern 
Highland by 15 April. Peak abundance occurs 1-10 May and departure by 
25 May. A female collected at St. Croix Falls, Polk County, on 22 May 1919, 
was considered a migrant (Jackson 1943). Fall migrants arrive in the North- 
ern Highland 1-10 September, reaching the Western Upland about 10 Sep- 
tember (earliest— 23 August 1963, St. Croix County). Peak fall abundance 
occurs 25 September to 10 October and departure by 30 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: There are no documented nest records in the 
Valley. Green and Janssen (1975) showed that the breeding range of this 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 125 

species in Minnesota extended south to the northern border of Pine County. 
On 20 and 21 June 1976, 1 observed two singing male ruby-crowned kinglets 
along the St. Croix River in Douglas County (Sec. 24, T. 43 N., R. 14 W.). Al- 
though the behavior of these birds suggested nesting, I failed to observe 
nests or young. 

Winter: Casual early winter resident in the Western Upland, usually ob- 
served during the CBC period. The latest observations are two birds on the 
Afton CBC 1 January 1976. 

Habitat: During migration, this species uses a wide range of both deciduous 
and coniferous communities. During these periods, ruby-crowned kinglets 
appear to prefer brushy communities including Deciduous Clear Cuts. The 
singing males that I recorded in Douglas County were in an extensive Low- 
land Coniferous Forest dominated by black spruce, balsam fir, and yellow 
birch. 

FAMILY MOTACILLIDAE: Pipits 

Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, 
rare or absent in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the 
Western Upland 25 April to 5 May. Peak spring abundance through the 
Valley occurs 10-20 May and departure by 25 May. Fall migrants arrive 
during mid- September. Peak fall abundance occurs 25 September to 
10 October and departure by 25 October. 

Habitat: Primary habitat includes seasonally flooded wetlands, agricultural 
fields, and man-made impoundments that are managed for waterfowl 
production. During fall migration, this species is especially numerous in re- 
cently plowed agricultural fields. 

FAMILY BOMBYCILLIDAE: Waxwings 

Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) 

Status: Casual migrant and winter resident. 

Migration: This species is erratic in both distribution and abundance. The 
highest frequency of occurrence appears to be in the Western Upland. Al- 
though fall arrival periods are not regular, small flocks begin to arrive 
20 November to 15 December. Spring departure is also irregular; most 
flocks leave by mid-March (latest— 6 April 1970, Washington County). 

Winter Distribution: An irregular winter resident throughout the Valley. 
Observations of Bohemian waxwings during midwinter usually consist of 
flocks of 15 to 30 birds. Most records have been obtained during the CBC 
period during the last 2 weeks of December. 



126 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Habitat: Most of my observations have involved birds foraging at the edge 
of deciduous forests or flocks in residential areas. The existence of vege- 
tation that retains its fruit into the winter is important in maintaining this 
waxwing. Among these plants mountain ash and flowering crab apple, 
established as ornamentals in residential areas, are most important. 

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Common to abundant spring and fall migrant throughout the 
Valley. Determination of arrival dates is compounded by the irregular 
nature of waxwing movements. During years when winter populations are 
very low, the first noticeable influx of migrants occurs 1-20 May, reaching a 
peak 1-15 June. When summer populations are low, fall movements occur 
from mid- August through 30 November and peak abundance usually occurs 
during late September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species throughout the 
Valley. Jackson (1943) reported that cedar waxwings were common through- 
out most of northwestern Wisconsin during the 1919 nesting season. 
Breeding Bird Survey data suggest that the largest population occurs in the 
Central Plain and Northern Highland. Goddard (1972) reported a density of 
9.7 pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County. 

Winter: Common to abundant winter resident in the Western Upland and 
Central Plain, uncommon in the Northern Highland. Yearly winter popu- 
lations are characterized by large fluctuations, probably related to the abun- 
dance and availability of a food source. This species, like the Bohemian 
waxwing, is closely associated with fruit-bearing trees during the winter. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of open or semi-open deciduous forest. Im- 
portant among these habitats are openings in Southern Deciduous Forest, 
Northern Hardwood Forest, and Deciduous Clear Cuts. Nesting cedar 
waxwings also use, to a lesser extent, coniferous communities and orna- 
mental shrubbery in residential areas. 



FAMILY LANIIDAE: Shrikes 

Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident. 

Migration: Uncommon to rare migrant throughout the Valley. The first fall 
migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 20-30 October, reaching the 
Western Upland 1-15 November (earliest— 22 October 1976, St. Croix 
County). This species is most frequently encountered 20 November to 
10 January. During spring migration, peak numbers occur 1-15 March and 
departure by 15 April (latest— 26 April 1953, Burnett County). 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 127 



Winter: Rare winter resident throughout the Valley, most regularly ob- 
served in the Western Upland and Central Plain. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of semi-open natural habitats and agricultural 
communities during migration and winter. Most northern shrikes are ob- 
served perched near the edge of wooded habitats and open fields or along 
fencerows and highway rights-of-way. The northern shrike is observed infre- 
quently in coniferous habitat including Lowland Coniferous Forest and 
Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs. 



Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, accidental in winter. 

Migration: Formerly common throughout the Valley, this species is now rare 
during migration. The spring migration period extends from early April (ear- 
liest— 27 March 1954, Burnett County) through early May. Fall migration 
occurs from late August through mid-October (latest— 2 November 1972, 
Burnett County). Caution must be exercised when identifying shrikes during 
April and October, because their plumage is similar to the northern shrike. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Formerly a fairly common breeding species; 
breeding was documented as far north as Solon Springs in Douglas County. 
Jackson (1943) noted that "several birds were seen in the open pine barrens 
five miles south of Solon Springs on 4 August 1919, where two families of 
full grown young were located." Within the last 15 years, however, the 
status of the loggerhead shrike during the nesting season has changed. Erd- 
man (1970) summarized the status and distribution of this shrike in Wis- 
consin, concluding that it was experiencing a statewide decline. Erdman pro- 
vided information on a nest site near Clayton, Polk County, that is now the 
northernmost location in the Valley. Loggerhead shrikes were observed in 
southern Pine County during the 1974 nesting season (Eckert 1974). How- 
ever, no nests or young were found. 

During 1977, I located two nesting pairs that produced five young in St. 
Croix County. In 1978, five pairs were located in that county, primarily be- 
tween Roberts and New Richmond. I observed an additional pair during 
July about 6.4 km south of Lake Elmo, Washington County. 

Winter: There are two records of the loggerhead shrike during winter in- 
cluding one bird in Washington County on 1 January 1976. R. E. Faanes ob- 
served the other bird hunting near a bird feeder in Hudson, St. Croix 
County, on 15 February 1978. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of edge habitats including fencerows, thorny 
hedgerows, and brush areas associated with grazed deciduous woodlots. 
Current clean farming practices, including fencerow removal, may be 
responsible for some of the decline observed in the breeding population. 



128 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

FAMILY STURNIDAE: Starlings 

Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 

Status: Introduced. Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Abundant migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, less 
common in the Northern Highland. Dates of spring arrival are difficult to 
determine because of wintering individuals. However, large increases in the 
population occur from late February through 20 March. During fall migra- 
tion, flocks begin forming in early August and peak movements occur 
15 September to 15 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Abundant nesting species in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain; uncommon and local in the Northern Highland. 
The first record of this species in the Valley was obtained from St. Croix 
County in 1937 (Anonymous 1939). Since that time, the starling population 
has expanded and the species now breeds throughout the Valley. Breeding 
Bird Survey data show that largest populations occur in areas heavily 
settled by humans and where agriculture has expanded. The mean number of 
starlings recorded along the route of the Dresser BBS (Polk County) is 44.3; 
however, in the heavily forested region traversed by the Union BBS route 
(Burnett County), this species was not recorded. 

Winter: Common to locally abundant winter resident in the Western 
Upland, fairly common in the Central Plain, and uncommon to rare or absent 
in the Northern Highland. During this period, large flocks of starlings are 
associated with cattle feedlots or barnyards in agricultural areas, and near 
feedmills and feeder operations in residential areas. 

Habitat: Starlings nest in a variety of vegetation types, and in residential 
buildings, or in nest boxes erected for other species. Starlings have been 
considered an important factor in the decline of several more desirable 
species including the red-headed woodpecker and eastern bluebird. Because 
starlings return to their breeding areas and establish territories earlier than 
other hole-nesting species, they dominate these nest sites before other 
migrants return. 



FAMILY VIREONIDAE: Vireos 

White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus) 

Status: Accidental. 

Record: An adult white-eyed vireo was trapped and banded at the Warner 
Nature Center, Washington County, on 3 May 1977 (Wojahn 1977). 

Bell's Vireo (Vireo bellii) 

Status: Casual migrant and summer resident. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 129 

Records: Five records exist during 13 May to 7 September: Polk County, 
18 May 1974; Chisago County, 7 September 1968; and St. Croix County, 
13 May 1964, 17 June to 21 July 1977, and 3 July 1963. The 1977 St. Croix 
County record may have been a breeding pair. One male was observed 
almost daily on territory 5.6 km east of New Richmond. The male was heard 
singing and appeared to be defending a breeding territory. Attempts to 
locate a nest or a mated female failed. 

Habitat: The 1977 observation was of a bird in second-growth Lowland 
Deciduous Forest along the Willow River. 

Yellow-throated Vireo ( Vireo flavifrons) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, 
rare and local in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the 
Western Upland 5-10 May and the Northern Highland 10-15 May and are 
well distributed 15-25 May. Fall migration begins about 15 August. Peak 
movements occur 25 August to 10 September and departure 20-25 Sep- 
tember. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, uncommon and local in the Northern Highland. 
Jackson (1943) recorded this species nesting at St. Croix Falls, Polk County; 
however, he failed to obtain records elsewhere in northwestern Wisconsin. 
Bernard (1967) considered this vireo an "uncommon to rare summer resi- 
dent" in Douglas County. Nesting records have been obtained from Solon 
Springs, which is at the northern limit of their range in Wisconsin. There are 
several nest records for Chisago and Pine counties, the farthest north at St. 
Croix State Park, Pine County (Sparkes 1953). Breeding Bird Survey data 
(Table 6) indicate that the breeding population is fairly uniform throughout 
the Valley. Goddard reported a density of 2.9 pairs per 40 ha in the Kin- 
nickinnic River Valley, Pierce County. 

Habitat: A characteristic breeding bird of mature deciduous forests. During 
the breeding season, this species is most commonly found in Northern Hard- 
wood Forest and Lowland Deciduous Forest. Occasional breeding pairs are 
recorded in residential habitats and in Lowland Coniferous Forest. 



Solitary Vireo {Vireo solitarius) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Uncommon to fairly common migrant throughout the Valley. 
Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 May, reaching the North- 
ern Highland by 10 May. Peak spring migration occurs 10-20 May and de- 
parture from nonbreeding areas is by 30 May. Fall migration begins in the 
Northern Highland in mid- August. The first migrants reach other regions 
by 25 August. Peak fall migration occurs 10-20 September and departure 
by 30 September (latest— 27 October 1970, Pine County). 



130 



NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



Table 6. Mean number of uireos and warblers recorded on western Wis- 
consin Breeding Bird Survey transects, 1966-78. 





Western 












Upland 


Central Plain 


Northern Highland 


Species 


Hudson 


Dresser 


Loraine 


Union 


Minong 


Vireos 












Yellow-throated 


1.2 


1.7 


2.8 


3.8 


2.0 


Solitary 


0.0 


0.0 


0.2 


0.0 


1.2 


Red-eyed 


3.6 


6.6 


21.3 


16.1 


41.2 


Warbling 


6.1 


13.1 


10.7 


3.8 


5.4 


Warblers 












Black-and-white 


0.0 


<0.1 


1.3 


<0.1 


6.9 


Blue-winged 


<0.1 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


Golden-winged 


0.0 


0.3 


5.1 


0.0 


2.5 


Nashville 


0.0 


<0.1 


1.4 


1.7 


20.2 


Yellow 


2.5 


5.8 


21.9 


1.6 


8.0 


Magnolia 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


<0.1 


Cape May 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


<0.1 


Yellow-rumped 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.2 


1.9 


Black-throated green 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.6 


Blackburnian 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


<0.1 


0.2 


Chestnut-sided 


0.3 


0.2 


5.2 


3.9 


29.8 


Pine 


0.0 


0.0 


0.3 


0.4 


3.8 


Ovenbird 


0.0 


0.5 


4.7 


23.7 


19.0 


Common yellowthroat 


7.9 


12.6 


36.2 


14.6 


36.2 


Mourning 


0.0 


<0.1 


1.2 


<0.1 


6.3 


Connecticut 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


1.7 


2.7 


Canada 


0.0 


0.0 


<0.1 


0.0 


1.7 


American redstart 


0.0 


0.6 


5.2 


0.3 


7.9 



Nesting Season Distribution: Documented evidence of nesting by this vireo 
exists only for Douglas County, where I observed an adult incubating on 
11 June 1977. This bird was found along the St. Croix River about 6.4 km 
west of Gordon, Wisconsin. Although there is considerable evidence of 
nesting in Burnett and Pine counties, neither nests or young have been ob- 
served. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 6) also suggest that nesting is pri- 
marily restricted to the Northern Highland. 

Habitat: Solitary vireos are characteristic of Lowland Coniferous Forest. 
Vegetation associated with the Douglas County nest site was Lowland 
Coniferous Forest dominated by black spruce and white cedar adjacent to 
the St. Croix River. Additional observations within the breeding range occur 
in similar habitat or in Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs. 



Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 131 

Migration: Common (locally abundant) migrant throughout the Valley. 
Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 10-15 May, reaching the 
Northern Highland by 20 May. The peak of migration occurs 20 May to 
5 June. Fall migration begins 20-25 August. Peak abundance occurs 
10-15 September and departure by 5 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species in the Western 
Upland, common to locally abundant in the Central Plain and Northern 
Highland. Goddard (1972) reported this vireo to be among the 10 most abun- 
dant breeding birds in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County. Mean 
density in that area was 25.3 pairs per 40 ha. Analysis of BBS data (Table 6) 
indicates a gradation in abundance moving northward through the Valley. 
Documented nesting records exist for Polk, St. Croix, and Washington coun- 
ties and there is evidence of nesting in the other counties. 

Habitat: Red-eyed vireos are largely restricted to various deciduous forest 
types during migration and the nesting season. Although not characteristic 
of any one habitat type, their abundance is predictable when compared 
among geomorphic regions. 

In the Western Upland, highest breeding densities occur in mature Low- 
land Deciduous Forest and mature Southern Deciduous Forest. In the Cen- 
tral Plain, breeding populations are greatest in mature Northern Hardwood 
Forest dominated by sugar maple and basswood. In the Northern Highland, 
populations are greatest in aspen forest and mature Northern Hardwood 
Forest. 

Philadelphia Vireo (Vireo philadelphicus) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Uncommon to rare migrant throughout the Valley. This is the 
latest arriving vireo; average first appearance is 15 May in the Western 
Upland. Migrants arrive in the Northern Highland about 20 May. Observa- 
tions usually are of single birds or occasionally pairs; therefore, peak migra- 
tion cannot be determined. Spring departure from the southern regions 
occurs by 30 May and from the Northern Highland by 5 June. Fall migrants 
arrive 10-15 September. This species is most frequently encountered 
15-25 September and departs from 30 September to 5 October (latest— 
29 October 1970, Washington County). 

Habitat: Philadelphia vireos use a variety of habitat types during migration; 
however, they are most regularly observed in medium-aged to mature 
Northern Hardwood Forest. 



Warbling Vireo ( Vireo gilvus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant in the Western Upland; fairly common in the 
Central Plain and Northern Highland. Fairly common fall migrant in the 
Western Upland, uncommon to rare elsewhere. The mean date of spring arri- 



132 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

val in the Western Upland is 8 May (earliest— 1 May 1976, St. Croix County) ; 
and migrants reach the Northern Highland 10-15 May. Peak migration i 
through the Valley occurs 15-25 May. Fall migration begins 10-15 August. 
Peak fall migration occurs 20 August to 5 September and departure by 
20 September. Peak fall migration in the Western Upland occurs 10-20 Sep- 
tember and departure by 1 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common to locally common nesting 
species in the Western Upland and Central Plain, rare to locally uncommon 
in the Northern Highland. Jackson (1943) considered this vireo to be un- 
common when compared with the red-eyed vireo in northwestern Wisconsin. 
Bernard (1967) described this species as a "regular but generally uncommon 
summer resident" in Douglas County. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 6) 
indicate a fairly constant abundance throughout the Valley. Nesting has 
been documented in all counties. 

Habitat: Characteristic nesting species of mature Lowland Deciduous 
Forest. Highest breeding densities occur in that habitat and mature North- 
ern Hardwood Forest. Other habitats frequently used include Southern 
Deciduous Forest, Deciduous Clear Cuts, and Residential Habitats. 

FAMILY PARULIDAE: Wood Warblers 

Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley. Jackson (1943) 
reported that the black-and-white warbler was "the most abundant of 
warblers" during the 1919 spring migration in Polk and Burnett counties. 
Earliest spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland during the last 
5 days of April, reaching the Northern Highland 1-5 May. Peak migration 
occurs 10-20 May, and nonbreeders depart by 25 May. Fall migration 
begins in mid- August and birds reach the Western Upland 20-25 August. 
Peak fall migration occurs 10-20 September, and most have departed by 
5 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon and local nesting species, most fre- 
quently encountered in the Northern Highland. Green and Janssen (1975) 
indicated the breeding range of this warbler extended into northern Wash- 
ington County. My Minnesota breeding season records have been obtained 
only in southern Pine County. Confirmed nesting records exist only for Polk 
County (12 June 1975). Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 6) suggest a rapid 
increase in relative abundance moving northeast through the Valley. The 12- 
year mean number of males recorded on Dresser BBS is <0.1, increasing to 
1.3 on the Loraine BBS, and 6.9 on Minong. 

Habitat: Territorial males have been recorded in both deciduous and conif- 
erous habitats during the breeding season. In deciduous areas, a preference 
is shown for mature Northern Deciduous Forest, characterized by extensive 
stands of maple and basswood. This species apparently prefers Northern , 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 133 

Coniferous Forest, Black Spruce-Tamarack Bog, and white cedar com- 
munities. 

Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Rare migrant in the Western Upland; one record from the 
Central Plain (7 May 1966, Chisago County). Observations of this warbler 
are insufficient to determine patterns of spring and fall migration. Most 
records appear to be birds on or near potential nesting territories. Spring mi- 
grants are usually first recorded 10-15 May (earliest— 4 May 1974, Pierce 
County). Records of fall migrants are even more irregular; the latest is 
10 September 1975 (St. Croix County). Most observations of this bird during 
migration periods have been restricted to areas along and adjacent to the St. 
Croix River in Pierce, St. Croix, and Washington counties. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Very rare nesting species, apparently re- 
stricted to the Western Upland. Maurer (1970) briefly described the observa- 
tion of a nest near Marine-on-St. Croix (Washington County) containing one 
young on 5 July 1970. On 10 July 1945, 11 male prothonotary warblers were 
found on territory between Marine-on-St. Croix and Stillwater, and three 
females were observed feeding near nests (Hubert 1945). On 28 June 1945, a 
single male was observed along the St. Croix River near Osceola, Polk 
County. Observations of territorial males along the lower reaches of the Kin- 
nickinnic, Willow, and Apple rivers provide evidence of possible additional 
breeding records. 

Habitat: The prothonotary warbler is restricted almost entirely to large 
stands of mature Lowland Deciduous Forest dominated by cottonwood, 
green ash, and American elm. The brief description of the habitat near the 
nest Maurer observed suggests a mixture of willow and basswood. 

Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorus) 

Status: Casual, three spring records. 

Records: S. D. Robbins heard and saw one male along Trout Brook Road 
near Hudson, St. Croix County, on 18 May 1969 (Faanes and Goddard 1976). 
Maurer (1969) described the observation of a worm-eating warbler in Wash- 
ington County on 18 May 1969. I observed one near Trout Brook Road in St. 
Croix County on 18 May 1980. This species has been recorded with in- 
creasing frequency in central Minnesota and southern Wisconsin and may 
become more regular in the lower reaches of the Valley. 

Golden-winged Warbler {Vermiuora chrysoptera) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 5-10 May, and reach the Northern Highland 



134 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

about 15 May. Jackson (1943) reported that golden-winged warblers were 
"common" along the St. Croix River near St. Croix Falls from 21-25 May 
1919. One pair was observed copulating on 22 May 1919. This warbler appar- 
ently migrates singly, or in small very loose flocks; thus periods of peak 
spring abundance are difficult to determine. Spring migrants have departed 
nonbreeding areas in the Western Upland by 30 May. Fall migrants reach 
the Western Upland about 10 August. Peak fall movements occur 
20 August to 5 September. Departure from the Northern Highland occurs 
by 5 September and elsewhere by 15 September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon and local breeding bird in the 
Central Plain and Northern Highland. One nest record from the Western 
Upland (12 June 1976; River Falls, St. Croix County). Confirmed breeding 
records exist for St. Croix and Polk counties. Green and Janssen (1975) cited 
inferred breeding records for Chisago and Pine counties, although the 
golden-winged warbler was referred to as "quite numerous" in Pine County 
during the nesting season. One was reported from Washington County on 
5 July 1970 (Russell 1970). Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 6) suggest that 
the center of their breeding range is in the Central Plain. 

Habitat: Golden-winged warblers appear to be characteristic of second- 
growth deciduous forest in early developmental stages. Data from nearby 
Barron County (Wisconsin) show that largest densities occur in Deciduous 
Clear Cuts that are less than 10 years old (9 pairs per 40 ha). This density de- 
creases to <0.1 pair per 40 ha in mature aspen-maple woods over 40 years 
old. Breeding golden-winged warblers also use brushy edges of retired agri- 
cultural fields, openings in spruce woods, and occasionally Black 
Spruce-Tamarack Bogs. Golden-winged warblers apparently avoid jack 
pine habitat; this warbler has yet to be recorded along the Union BBS route 
(Burnett County) which traverses extensive stands of jack pine forest. 

Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora pinus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Rare migrant in the Western Upland, virtually absent elsewhere. 
Most observations consist of birds on or near presumed breeding territories. 
Spring migrants arrive 15-20 May, becoming most conspicuous 25 May to 
5 June. One spring record exists for Burnett County, 20 May 1956 (South- 
ern 1960). Breeding birds disperse early from the breeding areas. The latest 
fall date is 15 September 1975 (St. Croix County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local breeding bird in the Western 
Upland. Green and Janssen (1975) provided the only evidence of confirmed 
breeding for the Valley (Washington County). Breeding season birds are 
largely restricted to areas along major river systems, including the Kin- 
nickinnic, Willow, and lower St. Croix. The northern limit of blue-winged 
warbler breeding range in Wisconsin and Minnesota closely approximates 
the southern limit of its congener, the golden-winged warbler. As with other 
regions of limited overlap, hybrids of these species have been observed. 
Manley Olson observed a hybrid referable to "Brewster's warbler" on 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 135 

31 May 1967 in St. Croix County. Olyphant (1973) banded a Brewster's 
warbler in Washington County on 13 July 1973. 

Habitat: In this region, breeding blue-winged warblers are characteristic of 
extensive stands of mature Lowland Deciduous Forest. Typical vegetation 
of their breeding habitat includes Cottonwood, American elm, and green ash 
as dominants. Ground-layer vegetation in many situations is usually wood 
nettle and various grasses. Along the lower Willow River near Hudson, a 
small group of breeding blue-winged warblers use a savannah-like asso- 
ciation of Hill's oak and little bluestem. Brushy fields with invading saplings 
or scattered trees are also used. 

Tennessee Warbler (Vermivora peregrina) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Mean date of spring 
arrival in the Western Upland is 4 May (earliest— 25 April 1948, Polk 
County; Robbins 1948c). Arrival in the Northern Highland occurs 
10-15 May. Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 10-25 May. 
Departure of spring migrants in the Western Upland and Central Plain 
occurs 25-30 May. In the Northern Highland, stragglers can still be found 
until 10 June. Several mid-June records that suggest possible breeding exist 
for the Solon Springs area. However, there are no known breeding records of 
this bird in Wisconsin. 

The Tennessee warbler is among the earliest fall migrants of this family, 
usually arriving in the Northern Highland 15-20 July, reaching the Central 
Plain and Western Upland 25 July to 1 August. Peak fall migration occurs 
20 August to 15 September. This warbler has departed the Northern High- 
land by 25 September and elsewhere by 5 October (latest— 12 October 1961, 
St. Croix County). 

Habitat: Migrant Tennessee warblers regularly use both deciduous and 
coniferous woods. Perhaps because of its abundance, this warbler is also 
regularly encountered in residential shrubbery. At the peak of migration, 
this species congregates in tall trees in residential areas. Six to 10 males per 
block is not unusual on a peak day. Most mid-June records have been of 
birds in Northern Hardwood Forest, Lowland Coniferous Forest, and Black 
Spruce-Tamarack Bogs. 

Orange-crowned Warbler (Vermivora celata) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain, uncommon in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the 
Western Upland 25 April to 1 May (earliest— 22 April 1949, Burnett 
County), reaching the Northern Highland 5-10 May. Peak spring migration 
occurs 10-20 May and departure by 25 May. Fall migrants arrive 1-5 Sep- 
tember. Peak fall migration occurs 20 September to 5 October and de- 
parture by 10 October (latest— 18 October 1976, St. Croix County). 



136 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Habitat: Most observations of orange-crowned warblers have been in decid- 
uous woods of various early successional stages. Occasional individuals 
have been observed foraging at the edge of cattail marshes, primarily during 
spring migration. 

Nashville Warbler (Vermivora ruficapilla) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley, locally abundant in 
coniferous habitats of the Northern Highland. Spring migrants begin to 
arrive in the Western Upland about 1 May, reaching the Northern Highland 
10-15 May. Peak spring migration occurs 10-20 May and departure of non- 
breeders by 30 May. Fall migration begins with family dispersal in early 
August; however, the first obvious migratory movements occur after 
10 August. The first fall migrants reach the Western Upland about 
20 August (earliest— 14 August 1963, St. Croix County). Peak fall migration 
occurs 1-15 September and departure by 5 October (latest— 19 October 
1968, Pine County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common breeding bird throughout the North- 
ern Highland; less common and more localized in the Central Plain. No 
breeding records exist for the Western Upland. Jackson (1943) referred to 
the Nashville Warbler as "one of the most plentiful Warblers in summer in 
most of the region" in 1919. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 6) demon- 
strate the rapid increase in relative abundance moving northward from the 
Central Plain. 

Habitat: Breeding Nashville warblers have been recorded in a variety of 
deciduous and coniferous habitats. Greatest use appears to be in coniferous 
habitats and of these Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs are probably the most 
important. 

Northern Parula (Parula americana) 

Status: Regular migrant and summer resident. 

Migration: Rare and local migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, 
uncommon in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive 5-10 May in 
the Western Upland, reaching the Northern Highland 10-15 May. Because 
of the low numbers recorded, no peak dates have been determined. De- 
parture from the southern regions occurs by 20 May. Fall migration is 
diffuse as very few birds were recorded each year. Available data suggest 
that the main period of migration extends from 20 August to 20 September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local summer resident of the North- 
ern Highland. Available records suggest the main part of their breeding 
range lies north of the St. Croix River in Douglas and Pine counties. The 
only Breeding Bird Survey route in the Valley that has recorded this species 
is the Minong route in Douglas County. 

Habitat: Although confirmed nest records are lacking, this species un- 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 137 



doubtedly breeds in the Valley. Northern parula observations during the 
breeding season consist of birds using Lowland Coniferous Forest domi- 
nated by a mixture of white cedar, balsam fir, and black spruce. Also typical 
of their breeding habitat is Unsea moss which is used in nest construction. 



Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common spring migrant in all regions; fairly common during fall. 
Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 May and reach the 
Northern Highland by 10 May. Peak spring abundance occurs 10-20 May. 
Fall migration begins with dispersal from breeding areas in late July. The 
first large fall movement of yellow warblers occurs 1-5 August. Peak fall 
movements are noted 10-25 August and departure by 5 September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common breeding species throughout the 
region with confirmed breeding records from all counties. Jackson (1943) re- 
ported that yellow warblers were uncommon breeding birds at the head- 
waters of the St. Croix River in 1919. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 6) 
suggest that the center of yellow warbler abundance in the Valley is in the 
Central Plain. Goddard (1972) reported a breeding density of 3.4 pairs per 
40 ha in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County. 

Habitat: This warbler appears to use a wide range of habitats, including 
second-growth deciduous and coniferous woodland, Deciduous Clear Cuts, 
Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs, Alder Thicket, Shrub Carr, and edge of 
various natural basin wetlands. Although seemingly ubiquitous in breeding 
habitat use, it appears that the yellow warbler demonstrates a strong pref- 
erence for wetland and wetland-associated habitats. 

Magnolia Warbler (Dendroica magnolia) 

Status: Regular migrant and summer resident. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant in all regions. Spring migrants arrive in 
the Western Upland 5-10 May (earliest— 1 May 1969, Washington County) 
and reach the Northern Highland about 15 May. Peak spring migration 
occurs 15-25 May but stragglers remain until 1 June. Fall migrants arrive 
in the Northern Highland 15-20 August and the Western Upland about 
20 August (earliest— 15 August 1976, Washington County). Peak fall migra- 
tion occurs 5-20 September and departure by 1 October (latest— 21 October 
1955, Polk County; Foster 1956). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local summer resident, restricted to 
the Northern Highland. Several summer records (16 June 1973, 28 June 
1974, and 12 June 1977 from along the St. Croix River in Douglas County, 
and 10 June 1977 along the St. Croix in Pine County) suggest the possibility 
of nesting. Bernard (1967) considered the magnolia warbler a rare summer 
resident in Douglas County, but provided no evidence of nests. 



138 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Habitat: Migrant magnolia warblers occupy a wide range of both deciduous 
and coniferous habitats. This species is most frequently encountered during 
migration in early successional stages of northern upland deciduous forest 
and in Deciduous Clear Cuts. My observations of this warbler during the 
breeding season have been confined to extensive stands of Black 
Spruce-Tamarack Bog. This habitat type appears to be used extensively for 
nesting within their normal breeding range in northern Minnesota and Wis- 
consin. 

Cape May Warbler (Dendroica tigrina) 

Status: Regular migrant, one summer record. 

Migration: Uncommon to rare migrant in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain, uncommon to locally common migrant in the Northern Highland. 
Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 5-10 May, reaching the 
Northern Highland about 15 May. During spring migration, Cape May 
warblers are most regularly observed 15-25 May and have departed by 
1 June. Robbins (1973) provided the only summer record for the Valley, a 
singing male 1.6 km north of Gordon, Douglas County, on 16 June 1971. Fall 
migration begins in mid- August with first arrivals in the Central Plain about 
20 August. During fall they are regularly encountered from 25 August to 
10 September and depart by 25 September (latest— 29 September 1965, 
Washington County). 

Habitat: Migrant Cape May warblers use various age classes of coniferous 
habitats and early successional stage deciduous habitats. In residential 
areas, this species is also attracted to blossoming apple trees and orna- 
mental spruces. Robbins (1973) described the habitat of a group of nesting 
Cape May warblers along the Brule River as black spruce. The area that 
Robbins described is 8.0 km north of Solon Springs, Douglas County, and 
within 4.8 km of the St. Croix River watershed. Because extensive stands of 
similar black spruce habitat exist along the St. Croix near Solon Springs, I 
would expect that additional birds could be located. However, to date I have 
been unsuccessful in finding this warbler during the breeding season along 
the St. Croix River. 

Black-throated Blue Warbler (Dendroica caerulescens) 

Status: Regular migrant, occasional summer resident. 

Migration: Rare migrant throughout the Valley. Most records are from 
directly adjacent to the St. Croix River. Spring migrants arrive 5-10 May 
(earliest— 2 May 1972, Washington County) and have departed by 25 May. 
Fall records tend to indicate that this warbler occurs more commonly during 
that period. Fall migrants arrive 30 August to 5 September. Records indi- 
cate that peak fall numbers occur 15-25 September and departure by 
30 September (latest— 21 October 1961, Polk County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: The only evidence of summer residence is pro- 
vided by Green and Janssen (1975) who reported the most southerly summer 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 139 



records in Minnesota are from "northern Pine County." I have obtained no 
summer records of this bird within the Valley in Minnesota or Wisconsin. 
However, during 5-30 June 1971, I regularly observed three pairs of black- 
throated blue warblers in Bayfield County about 24 km east of Solon 
Springs. These observations suggest that breeding black-throated blue 
warblers may also occur in suitable habitat along the northern reaches of the 
St. Croix River. 

Habitat: During migration, this warbler is most common in wet or mesic 
deciduous forest sites. I have only one record from xeric Southern Deciduous 
Forest that was dominated by red oak. Observations of black-throated blue 
warblers during the breeding season in Bayfield County, Wisconsin, were in 
extensive stands of mature maple-basswood-aspen forest. 



Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, occasional winter resident. 

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley. The yellow-rumped 
warbler is the most numerous warbler in this region. Spring migrants arrive 
in the Western Upland about 5 April (earliest— 21 March 1975, Pierce 
County; 24 March 1963, St. Croix County). Migrants reach the Northern 
Highland 10-15 April. Peak spring migration through the Valley extends 
from 20 April to 10 May. Departure from nonbreeding areas occurs by 
15 May (latest— 24 May 1971, Washington County). Fall migration begins 
in the Northern Highland 15-20 August; however, the first fall migrants do 
not reach the Western Upland until 10 September. Peak fall migration 
occurs 20 September to 5 October. Departure from the Northern Highland 
occurs by 15 October; 1 November is the usual departure date elsewhere. 
Occasional stragglers remain in the Western Upland through November. 
Late dates include 30 November 1975, Pierce County and 3 December 1961, 
St. Croix County. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local breeding bird, restricted pri- 
marily to the Northern Highland. Green and Janssen (1975) showed that the 
breeding range of this warbler extended into northwestern Pine County. 
Jackson (1943) did not record breeding season yellow-rumped warblers in the 
Valley during 1919. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 6) show that a limited 
number of yellow-rumped warblers occur along the route of the Minong BBS 
transect in Douglas County. 

On 24 June 1974 and 11 June 1977, I recorded singing yellow-rumped 
warblers along the St. Croix River in Sec. 23, T. 43 N., R. 14 W., Douglas 
County, and one singing male was recorded along the St. Croix River in Pine 
County at the U.S. Highway 77 crossing 4.8 km west of Danbury. Singing 
and behavioral activities suggested nesting, although nests or young were 
not observed. 

Winter: The only record of an overwintering yellow-rumped warbler is that 
of one bird remaining at a feeder near River Falls, St. Croix County, during 
the 1960-61 winter (Faanes and Goddard 1976). Two additional early winter 
records exist from the Afton CBC: 1 January 1970 (St. Croix County) and 



140 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

1 January 1975 (Washington County). It is not known if these birds re- 
mained throughout the winter. 

Habitat: During migration, this warbler is ubiquitous, occurring in essen- 
tially all available habitats. Breeding season records include birds from 
extensive stands of Lowland Coniferous Forest, dominated by white spruce, 
from Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs, Jack Pine Barren, and areas of mature 
white pine. Both habitats are used extensively by nesting yellow-rumped 
warblers within their normal breeding range in northern Minnesota and Wis- 
consin. 

Black-throated Green Warbler (Dendroica virens) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant throughout the Valley, locally common in 
the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 
5-10 May, reaching the Northern Highland 10-15 May. Peak spring migra- 
tion occurs 15-25 May and nonbreeders have departed by 30 May. Fall 
migration begins in the Northern Highland 15-20 August and the first 
migrants reach the Western Upland 25-30 August. Peak fall migration 
occurs 5-20 September and departure by 5 October (latest— 7 October 1973, 
St. Croix County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon breeding bird in the Northern 
Highland. Rare and local in southern Pine, Burnett, and northern Polk and 
Chisago Counties. Jackson (1943) reported this warbler as "not uncommon" 
at Solon Springs, Douglas County. On BBS transects (Table 6) black- 
throated green warblers have been recorded only on the Minong route, 
Douglas County. This warbler was recorded on 9 June 1973 in Chisago 
County (Longley 19736), but no evidence of nesting was obtained. 

Habitat: Mature Northern Hardwood Forest dominated by sugar maple, 
basswood, and trembling aspen is used extensively. The large expanses of 
Lowland Coniferous Forest, primarily adjacent to the upper St. Croix River, 
are also important. 

Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulea) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Rare spring and fall migrant, restricted primarily to the Western 
Upland and a small region of the Central Plain. Spring migrants begin to 
arrive 10-15 May. Most observations are after 15 May and are probably of 
birds on breeding territories. Data are too few to establish fall migration 
periods. The latest date available is 16 August 1974 in St. Croix County. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local breeding bird. Confirmed nest 
records exist only for St. Croix County. On 23 June 1976, I observed adults 
feeding two young in the nest along the Willow River near Hudson (T. 29 N., 
R. 19 W.). Cerulean warblers occur regularly only in the lower reaches of the 
Kinnickinnic River (Pierce County) and Willow River (St. Croix County) and 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 141 

near Afton State Park (Washington County). Occasional breeding season 
records have been obtained at the mouth of the Apple River (St. Croix 
County) and from lowland forest at Marine-on-St. Croix (Washington 
County). Records away from the typical range of this warbler in the Valley 
include two singing males on 2 June 1968 at Franconia, Chisago County, one 
in Chisago County on 6 June 1971, and one male near Range, Polk County, 
on 15 June 1968. 

Habitat: Breeding season observations of this warbler have been restricted 
to Lowland Deciduous Forest. Predominant vegetation of these areas in- 
clude mature stands of American elm, cottonwood, and green ash. 

Blackburnian Warbler {Dendroica fusca) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain, common in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive 5-10 May, 
reaching the Northern Highland 10-12 May. Peak spring migration occurs 
15-25 May and departure from nonbreeding areas by 30 May. Jackson 
(1943) considered this warbler "abundant" at St. Croix Falls (Polk County) 
21-25 May 1919. Fall migration begins 10-15 August and the first birds 
reach the Western Upland about 20 August. Peak fall migration occurs 
5-15 September and birds depart by 25 September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon breeding bird, restricted to the 
Northern Highland. Breeding season records exist for Burnett, Douglas, 
and Pine counties. The only confirmed nest records are from Pine (Green and 
Janssen 1975) and Douglas (Chambers 1944) counties. However, it undoubt- 
edly nests elsewhere in the Northern Highland. Jackson (1943) reported that 
courting Blackburnian warblers were observed at St. Croix Falls on 24 May 
1919. He noted that "although no nests were discovered .... the environ- 
ment is favorable for nesting." Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 6) indicate 
that this bird occurs in relatively low densities during the breeding season in 
the Northern Highland. 

Habitat: The Blackburnian warbler is characteristic of northern coniferous 
forests. Territorial birds are encountered most regularly in large tracts of 
Lowland Coniferous Forest dominated by black spruce, white cedar, and 
hemlock. Breeding birds also use Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs and white 
pine forest where remnants still exist. 



Chestnut-sided Warbler (Dendroica pensylvanica) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. The mean date of 
spring arrival in the Western Upland is 8 May (earliest— 2 May 1974, Pierce 
County) and arrival in the Northern Highland by 12 May. Peak migration 
occurs 10-25 May and birds have departed nonbreeding areas by 30 May. 
Fall migration begins in the Northern Highland 5-10 August with dispersal 



142 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

of young, and the first migrants reach the Western Upland 15-20 August. 
Peak migration occurs 1-15 September. Departure from the Northern High- 
land occurs 15-20 September and elsewhere by 1 October (latest— 5 October 
1973, St. Croix County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common breeding bird in the Northern High- 
land and that part of the Central Plain north of St. Croix Falls and Taylor's 
Falls. South of that line, they are uncommon and local, and rare and local in 
the Western Upland. Green and Janssen (1975) showed that the breeding 
range of this warbler extended through the three Minnesota counties. On 
26 June 1979, I heard and saw territorial males 4.8 km west of Taylor's 
Falls, Chisago County. Although nests or young were not observed, I have 
no doubt they nested in this area. 

Nests or young have been recorded in all subject Wisconsin counties 
except Pierce. An area near the Cylon Marsh Wildlife Area (Sec. 15, T. 31 N., 
R. 16 W.) and at the mouth of the Apple River (Sec. 20, T. 31 N., R. 19 W.), 
St. Croix County, are the most southerly locations of regular occurrence. 
Jackson (1943) recorded this warbler only "occasionally" in the Northern 
Highland near Solon Springs in 1919, but BBS data (Table 6) show that 
breeding chestnut-sided warblers occur commonly throughout the Valley 
and that largest densities are in the Northern Highland. 

Habitat: Early successional stages of deciduous and coniferous habitats are 
used for nesting. Deciduous Clear Cuts that are predominantly aspen sup- 
port the greatest density of breeding chestnut-sided warblers. Northern 
Hardwood Forest that is dominated by maple-basswood-aspen is also im- 
portant. Recent attempts by State wildlife agencies to retard vegetational 
succession by clear-cutting or selectively logging mature deciduous forest 
are beneficial for this warbler. 



Bay-breasted Warbler (Dendroica castanea) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Uncommon to rare spring migrant in the Western Upland and 
Central Plain; fairly common in the Northern Highland. Common fall 
migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western 
Upland 8-12 May, reaching the Northern Highland about 15 May. Peak 
migration occurs 15-25 May and departure by 1 June. Jackson (1943) re- 
ported that the collection of a female bay-breasted warbler at Danbury, 
Douglas County, on 27 May 1919 was the only spring record obtained in 
northwestern Wisconsin that year. Fall migrants arrive in the Northern 
Highland in late July, reaching the Western Upland 10-15 August. Peak fall 
migration occurs 1-20 September. Departure from the Northern Highland 
occurs 20-25 September and elsewhere by 1 October (latest— 19 October 
1968, Chisago County). 

Habitat: Bay-breasted warblers occupy a wide range of deciduous and conif- 
erous habitats. In the Northern Highland they are most regularly observed 
in Lowland Coniferous Forest or Black Spruce-Tamarack Bog. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 143 

Blackpoll Warbler (Dendroica striata) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 
in the Western Upland 5-10 May (earliest— 30 April 1967; 1 May 1969, 
Washington County) and the Northern Highland 10-15 May. Peak spring 
migration occurs 15-25 May and departure is by 30 May (latest— 2 June 
1970, Washington County). Fall migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 
10-15 August and reach the Western Upland 15-20 August. Peak fall 
migration occurs 30 August to 20 September and departure 25-30 Sep- 
tember. 

Habitat: Although both deciduous and coniferous forest habitats are regu- 
larly used, this warbler is the most common in mature deciduous forest. 

Pine Warbler (Dendroica pinus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Uncommon to rare migrant throughout the Valley. Jackson 
(1943) found this warbler not as plentiful as anticipated in 1919. However, 
they were considered "common" at Danbury, Burnett County, 27-30 May 
1919. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 May and the 
Northern Highland 5-10 May. This species is most frequently encountered 
10-20 May. Departure from nonbreeding areas occurs by 25 May. Fall 
migration begins in the Northern Highland 10-15 August and the first birds 
reach the Western Upland 20-30 August. This species is most frequently 
encountered 1-15 September and they have departed by 1 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon breeding species in the Northern 
Highland, rare and local in the Central Plain. Breeding Bird Survey data 
(Table 6) also suggest that this species is in the Western Upland during the 
nesting season. Although breeding season records exist for all areas except 
Pierce and Washington counties, confirmed nest records exist only for Pine 
County. Territorial birds were recorded in Chisago County during the sum- 
mers of 1973-74 and 1976. The only location of regular occurrence in St. 
Croix County is near Burkhardt (Sec. 3. T. 29 N., R. 19 W.). 

Habitat: Characteristic nesting species of remnant white pine forest. Al- 
though regularly recorded in Jack Pine Barrens, Breeding Bird Survey data 
for the Union transect (Burnett County) suggest that low densities occur in 
that habitat. 

Palm Warbler {Dendroica palmarum) 

Status: Regular migrant, probable nesting species. 

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley, probably second only 
to the yellow-rumped warbler in overall abundance. Spring migrants arrive 
in the Western Upland 25 April to 1 May, reaching the Northern Highland 
1-5 May. Peak migration occurs 5-15 May and departure by 25 May. A 
singing male in Chisago County on 4 June 1968 was undoubtedly a very late 



144 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

migrant. Fall migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 20-25 August and 
the Central Plain 25 August to 5 September. Peak fall migration occurs 
10-25 September and birds depart by 10 October (latest— 25 October 1968, 
Chisago County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: This species probably nests in Douglas County 
(S. D. Robbins, personal communication). On 27 June 1966, Robbins heard a 
singing male palm warbler in a bog in Sec. 35, T. 43 N., R. 12 W. On 26 June 
1974 a male was heard in Sec. 23, T. 43 N., R. 12 W. On the same date an- 
other male palm warbler was recorded in a large open bog 6.4 km north of 
Moose Junction (T. 44 N., R. 14 W.). 

Habitat: In the Western Upland and Central Plain, palm warblers occupy 
medium-aged deciduous forest extensively. Alder Thicket and Shrub Carr 
are also important. In the Northern Highland, extensive use is made of Low- 
land Coniferous Forest, Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs, and sedge meadow. 
Nesting season records are of birds in open Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs. 

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 
in the Western Upland about 1 May and the Northern Highland 5-10 May. 
Peak spring migration occurs 10-20 May. Departure from nonbreeding 
areas of the Western Upland occurs by 25 May. Peak fall migration is 1 Sep- 
tember (Northern Highland) to 10 September (Western Upland) and de- 
parture is by 1 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common to locally abundant breeding bird in 
the Northern Highland and Central Plain. Uncommon and local in the West- 
ern Upland. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 6) indicate that this warbler 
occurs in greatest numbers in the Northern Highland and Central Plain. 
Jackson (1943) referred to the ovenbird as the characteristic and often domi- 
nant breeding bird in heavier deciduous forest (= mature Northern Hard- 
wood). Goddard (1972) reported the ovenbird was the most abundant breed- 
ing warbler in the Lower Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County. 

Habitat: Characteristic nesting species of mature Northern Hardwood 
Forest, where the predominant tree species include sugar maple, basswood, 
trembling aspen, and white birch. In the Western Upland, breeding oven- 
birds are associated with red oak-Hill's oak forest. Remnant stands of 
mixed red pine and white pine are regularly used in the northern regions. 

Northern Waterthrush (Seiurus noveboracensis) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain, locally common in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive 
1-5 May, reaching the Northern Highland 5-10 May. Peak migration occurs 
10-20 May and departure from nonbreeding areas is by 30 May. Fall 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 145 

migrants arrive in the Northern Highland about 5 August, reaching the 
Western Upland 20-25 August (earliest— 12 August 1962, St. Croix 
County). Peak fall migration occurs 25 August to 10 September and de- 
parture by 30 September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local breeding species, occurring pri- 
marily in the Northern Highland. Most observations of nesting season 
northern waterthrushes have been in habitats along and adjacent to the St. 
Croix River in Douglas, Burnett, and Pine counties. Breeding Bird Survey 
data show the low breeding density of this species in the Valley. Goddard 
(1972) reported a northern waterthrush during the breeding season along the 
Kinnickinnic River, Pierce County, in June 1971. If correct, that record 
would extend the probable breeding range of this species at least 160 km 
south. The lack of proper habitat, plus the population of Louisiana water- 
thrush along the river, render that record suspect. 

Habitat: This species uses a narrow range of wet habitats in the Northern 
Highland. Primary breeding habitat includes Lowland Coniferous Forest, 
Alder Thicket, and Northern Sedge Meadow that is becoming invaded with 
various shrubs including smooth alder and gray dogwood. During migration 
in the Western Upland and Central Plain, Lowland Deciduous Forest, 
Northern Hardwood Forest, and Deciduous Clear Cuts are used extensively, 
as are shorelines of lakes and streams. 

Louisiana Waterthrush (Seiurus motacilla) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Rare spring migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain. 
Records in the Central Plain are restricted to areas south of St. Croix Falls 
and Taylor's Falls. No well-defined pattern of spring migration can be estab- 
lished. Most birds observed appear to be on established breeding territories. 
Most spring individuals occur 10-30 May (earliest— 27 April 1964 [Soulen 
1965], 2 May 1948, and 3 May 1966; Washington County). Fall migration is 
early and diffuse (latest— 23 August 1974, Chisago County; 11 September 
1972, St. Croix County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local nesting species of the Western 
Upland and Central Plain. Confirmed breeding records exist for Chisago 
(Green and Janssen 1975), Washington, and St. Croix counties. Breeding 
season birds have also been recorded in Pierce and Polk counties; however, 
nest records are lacking. 

Probably the best-known breeding area in the Valley for Louisiana water- 
thrush is along Lawrence Creek near Franconia, Chisago County. Longley 
(19736) described the first known breeding record of this bird at that loca- 
tion, when a nest containing two young cowbirds, one young Louisiana 
waterthrush, and one addled egg was found near Franconia on 9 June 1973. 
In June 1968 Longley (19736) recorded six singing males at this same local- 
ity. One Louisiana waterthrush was also recorded at that location in 
1974-76 and a nest was found in 1975. 

Another well-known nesting area is along the lower Willow River near the 



146 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Trout Brook Road bridge at Hudson, St. Croix County. At that location, 
Louisiana waterthrush has been recorded in the breeding season intermit- 
tently since 1960. On 3 June 1974 I recorded singing males at four locations 
along a 300-m reach of this stream. Returning on 5 June 1975, I located two 
singing males and found one nest containing three eggs; their outcome is un- 
known. 

Elsewhere, records from Washington County include one nest at Still- 
water on 10 July 1943 (Chambers 1944) and a nest containing five young on 
17 June 1945 (Lupient 1945). Roberts (1938) described the observation of a 
nest and young along the St. Croix River below Taylor's Falls, Chisago 
County, on 2-4 July 1927. Goddard (1972) reported this species during June 
1971 along the Lower Kinnickinnic River, Pierce County. In the area near 
the mouth of that river, two to three singing males have been recorded 
yearly in June 1973-78, but no nest has been found. 

Habitat: Rich stands of Lowland Deciduous Forest along fast-moving 
streams. The St. Croix County nest was located beneath an overhanging 
root of American elm, less than 1 m from water's edge. 

Kentucky Warbler (Oporornis formosus) 

Status: Casual, two records. 

Record: S. D. Robbins observed a male Kentucky warbler near Roberts, St. 
Croix County, on 28 May 1963 (Faanes and Goddard 1976). This observation 
represents the most northerly record of this warbler in Wisconsin. Glassel 
(1977) described the observation of a singing male Kentucky warbler on 
17 June 1977 at Afton State Park, Washington County. The bird remained 
in the area at least until 19 June 1977. 

Connecticut Warbler (Oporornis agilis) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Rare spring and uncommon fall migrant throughout the Valley. 
Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 15-20 May (earliest— 4 May 
1974, Pierce County), and reach the Northern Highland about 25 May. 
During spring they are most frequently observed 25 May to 5 June and 
depart by 10 June. Fall migrants arrive 15-20 August in the Northern High- 
land and 20-25 August in the Western Upland. Peak fall migration occurs 
5-15 September and they depart by 25 September. Roberts (1938) men- 
tioned the observation of "several" Connecticut warblers in Pine County 
during the first week of October 1929. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local during the nesting season. 
Gromme (1941) described the only confirmed breeding of this warbler in the 
Valley; a nest containing four young on 7 July 1941, near Gordon, Douglas 
County (T. 43 N., R. 13 W.). Green and Janssen (1975) showed that the 
nesting range of this warbler in Minnesota reached northern Pine County. 
Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 6) suggest that a fairly large breeding 
population exists in southern Douglas County (Sec. 11, 12, 13, 14, T. 43 N., 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 147 

R. 12 W.; Robbins 1974a). Another population is known to occur in north- 
western Burnett County near Grantsburg. 

Habitat: Bent (1953) described the breeding habitat of the Connecticut 
warbler as consisting of tamarack bogs or wet coniferous forest. However, 
Robbins (1974a) reported this warbler in fairly large densities in monotypic 
stands of jack pine. Further description of this habitat indicates the trees 
were 4-9 m high and had well-developed lower branches. Trees < 4.6 m tall 
or those with a scarcity of lower branches were not used by breeding Con- 
necticut warblers. Robbins' observation of nesting in jack pine is further 
substantiated by recent (1974-78) records from the Union BBS transect, 
Burnett County. The habitat along this route also consists of large tracts of 
jack pine, and Connecticut warblers have been found regularly there. 

Mourning Warbler (Oporornis Philadelphia) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 10-15 May and reach the Northern Highland 
15-20 May. Peak spring migration occurs 25 May to 5 June and departure 
from nonbreeding areas by 10 June. Fall migrants arrive in the Western 
Upland 20-25 August. Peak fall migration through the Valley occurs 
5-15 September and departure by 25 September (latest— 29 September 
1965, Washington County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common (locally common) breeding bird 
in the Northern Highland and the northern half of the Central Plain. Else- 
where, the mourning warbler is uncommon to rare during the nesting season. 
A nest with young observed in Washington County on 11 and 13 July 1975 
(Eckert 1975) represents the southernmost breeding record in the Valley. 
Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 6) also suggest that the mourning warbler 
breeding population increases with latitude through the Valley. 

Habitat: Characteristic breeding habitat of the mourning warbler includes 
Northern Hardwood Forest and Deciduous Clear Cuts. Primary nesting 
habitat of this warbler appears to be areas of dense understory in mature 
stands of deciduous forest, such as those resulting from openings in the 
overstory that allow ample sunlight to penetrate. The edge between 
medium-aged aspen forest and open fields or highway rights-of-way are also 
important habitats. I have not recorded this warbler in coniferous habitats 
during the breeding season. 

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 
in the Western Upland 1-5 May and the Northern Highland about 10 May. 
Peak spring migration occurs 10-20 May. Fall migration begins about 
15 August. Peak fall migration through the Valley occurs 5-20 September 
and departure by 5 October (latest— 17 October 1955, Polk County). 



148 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Nesting Season Distribution: Abundant and well-distributed breeding bird 
in all regions. Confirmed nest records have been obtained from all counties. 
Goddard (1972) reported that the common yellowthroat was the second 
most abundant breeding warbler in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce 
County. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 6) suggest that the common 
yellowthroat is the most obvious, if not the most abundant, breeding 
warbler in the Valley. The greatest relative abundance occurs in the North- 
ern Highland and in northern areas of the Central Plain. 

Habitat: The common yellowthroat is nearly unlimited in its choice of 
nesting habitat. Jackson (1943) found this warbler in "damp brushy wood- 
land." In the Western Upland, common yellowthroats are most abundant in 
small patches of mixed willow and cottonwood associated with streams or 
rivers. In the Central Plain, extensive use is made of the cattail-bulrush 
vegetation associated with seasonally and semipermanently flooded 
wetlands; Shrub Carr and sedge meadow are also important. In the North- 
ern Highland, this warbler uses Alder Thickets, Northern Sedge Meadows, 
and Forest Bordered Lakes. Tamarack bogs and Lowland Coniferous Forest 
are also important. Use of upland habitats include dry upland fields and 
brushy edge areas. 



Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens) 

Status: Casual migrant and summer resident. 

Migration: There are two spring records from St. Croix County: 6 May 1964 
and 18 May 1962. Both observations were made along Trout Brook Road 
near Hudson. One fall record (22-29 September 1948) exists for St. Croix 
Falls, Polk County (Robbins 1949). 

Nesting Season Distribution: S. D. Robbins observed singing male yellow- 
breasted chats near Hudson and Burkhardt, St. Croix County, on 17 June 
1961, 21 June 1963, and 30 June 1964. The habitat associated with these 
birds consisted of various shrubby plants at the border of agricultural fields 
and (one bird) the edge of a retired hayfield. These habitats are similar to 
typical breeding habitat within their normal range. Thus, it is likely at that 
date that these were males defending territories or at least advertising for a 
mate. 

Habitat: This species is most frequently encountered in the Old Field Com- 
munity and brushy edges of Southern Deciduous Forest. 



Hooded Warbler ( Wilsonia citrina) 

Status: Casual, two spring records. 

Records: S. D. Robbins observed a singing male hooded warbler at the en- 
trance to Birkmose Park in Hudson, St. Croix County, on 29 May 1963 
(Faanes and Goddard 1976). A male hooded warbler was banded and photo- 
graphed in Washington County on 2 June 1962 (Olyphant 1962). 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 149 

Wilson's Warbler (Wilsonia pusilla) 

Status: Regular migrant. 

Migration: Fairly common (locally common) migrant throughout the Valley. 
Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland about 10 May (earliest— 
4 May 1966, Washington County) and reach the Northern Highland from 
10-15 May. Peak spring migration occurs 15-25 May and departure is by 
1 June. Fall migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 10-15 August and 
the Western Upland about 20 August. Peak fall migration occurs 25 August 
to 10 September and departure is by 25 September (latest— 27 September 
1967, Washington County). 

Habitat: Wilson's warbler uses a variety of deciduous and coniferous habi- 
tats during migration. Although no single habitat is of major importance, 
this species is most frequently observed in brushy fencerows, Deciduous 
Clear Cuts, and young to medium-aged Northern Hardwood Forest domi- 
nated by trembling aspen and white birch. 

Canada Warbler (Wilsonia canadensis) 

Status: Regular migrant and summer resident. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant throughout the Valley. The Canada warbler 
is among the latest arriving warblers during spring migration. The first 
birds reach the Western Upland 12-15 May and the Northern Highland 
15-20 May. Peak spring migration occurs 20-30 May and departure from 
nonbreeding areas by 30 May (latest— 2 June 1970, Washington County). 
The first fall migrants arrive in the Western Upland 5-10 August. Peak fall 
migration occurs 15 August to 5 September and departure by 15 September 
(latest— 29 September 1967, Washington County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local during the breeding season, 
apparently restricted to the Northern Highland. Breeding Bird Survey data 
(Table 6) also suggest restriction to the Northern Highland. The breeding 
range of this warbler in the Minnesota counties is known to include only 
northern Pine County (Green and Janssen 1975). 

Habitat: Primarily encountered along the edge of Northern Hardwood 
Forest and in Lowland Coniferous Forest during the nesting season. My ob- 
servations of this bird's breeding habitat suggests that brushy understory 
associated with Northern Hardwood Forest is probably most regularly used. 
Deciduous Clear Cuts in the Northern Highland receive moderate use as 
does the brushy edge between aspen forest and adjacent open areas. 

American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common (locally abundant) migrant fhroughout the Valley. 
Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 May and reach the 
Northern Highland 5-10 May. Peak spring migration occurs 10-25 May. 



150 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

During 1919, Jackson (1943) reported that American redstarts were "the 
commonest of the warblers" at St. Croix Falls, Polk County, and he found 
them "abundant" in timber along the St. Croix River. Fall migration begins 
5-10 August in the Northern Highland and 20-25 August elsewhere. Peak 
fall migration occurs 25 August to 15 September and departure is by 5 Octo- 
ber (latest— 13 October 1966, Washington County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species throughout the 
Valley. Locally abundant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, in areas 
associated with the mouths of major streams. Goddard (1972) reported a 
density of 3.9 pairs per 40 ha in the lower Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce 
County. However, his study area was primarily upland deciduous forest, 
which is not preferred habitat of breeding American redstarts. Breeding 
Bird Survey data (Table 6) suggest that highest breeding densities occur in 
the Central Plain and Northern Highland. Unfortunately, this route of 
survey does not traverse important American redstart habitat directly adja- 
cent to the St. Croix River and its tributaries in the Western Upland. 

Habitat: Characteristic breeding bird of Lowland Deciduous Forest in the 
Western Upland and Central Plain. Vegetation of these areas includes 
American elm, box elder, green ash, and basswood. Important upland 
habitat in the Northern Highland includes medium-aged to mature Northern 
Hardwood Forest that is dominated by basswood, maple, big-toothed aspen, 
and white birch. Use of coniferous habitats by nesting American redstarts is 
very light. 

FAMILY PLOCEIDAE: Weaver Finches 

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 

Status: Introduced permanent resident. 

Distribution: Common to locally abundant resident throughout the Valley. 
The largest concentrations of house sparrows occur in residential areas and 
other sites of human habitation, including rural residential developments 
and farms. This species is less numerous and more localized in heavily for- 
ested habitats away from the influence of humans. 

Habitat: Closely related to areas of human settlement including houses, 
office buildings, feedmills, railroad tracks, farmyards, feedlots, and 
pastures. 

FAMILY ICTERIDAE: Meadowlarks, Blackbirds, and Orioles 

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common to locally abundant migrant in Western Upland and 
Central Plain, uncommon and local in the Northern Highland. Spring mi- 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 



151 



grants arrive 25 April to 1 May, reaching northern areas by 10 May. Peak 
spring migration occurs 10-20 May. Fall migration begins in late July in the 
Northern Highland and 10-15 August elsewhere. Peak abundance occurs 
20-30 August and departure from the Northern Highland by 20 August and 
15 September elsewhere. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common to locally abundant nesting species 
in Western Upland and Central Plain. Rare to uncommon and local in the 
Northern Highland. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 7) indicate that a uni- 
formly large breeding population occurs in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain. Documented breeding records exist for Pierce, St. Croix, and Polk 
counties. There are inferred breeding records for the remainder of the region. 
In Douglas County, Bernard (1967) referred to the bobolink as a "common 
summer resident." Jackson (1943) found this species to be "distributed . . . 
where meadow environment suitable for them prevails"; however, he pro- 
vided no data for the Valley. 

Habitat: Characteristic species of grassland communities including retired 
cropland, alfalfa fields, tame pasture, Managed Grasslands, and remnant 
prairies. Occasionally found using Northern Sedge Meadow and Shrub Carr; 
however, these habitats apparently receive higher use during migration. 

Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual in winter. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant east of the St. Croix River, uncommon 
west of the river. Spring migrants arrive 5-15 March, reaching peak abun- 
dance 1-15 April. Fall migration begins in early September in the Northern 
Highland and by 10 September elsewhere. Peak abundance occurs 25 Sep- 
tember to 15 October and departure by 1 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species throughout the 
Valley; most numerous in eastern segments of the Western Upland and 



Table 7. Mean number of bobolinks, meadow larks and blackbirds recorded 
on western Wisconsin Breeding Bird Survey transects, 1966-78. 





Western 












Upland 
Hudson 


Central Plain 


Northern 
Union 


Highland 


Species 


Dresser 


Loraine 


Minong 


Bobolink 


31.0 


30.7 


37.0 


0.1 


0.5 


Eastern meadowlark 


3.4 


10.7 


22.7 


0.0 


0.4 


Western meadowlark 


133.7 


73.7 


32.2 


0.1 


0.2 


Yellow-headed blackbird 


4.1 


3.4 


1.2 


0.1 


0.5 


Red-winged blackbird 


50.0 


184.4 


203.2 


8.7 


36.0 


Northern oriole 


7.3 


16.3 


12.2 


3.7 


8.3 


Brewer's blackbird 


0.0 


0.6 


1.7 


0.2 


2.7 


Common grackle 


43.8 


84.6 


61.2 


0.4 


10.5 


Brown-headed cowbird 


L1.2 


36.1 


33.5 


24 l 


37.9 



152 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Central Plain. Documented nesting records exist from St. Croix and Pierce 
counties. The eastern meadowlark probably nests in the remainder of the 
Valley. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 7) demonstrate a marked in- 
crease in relative abundance moving eastward from the St. Croix River. 
These population indices range from an average of 3.4 per year on the 
Hudson BBS (St. Croix County), to 22.7 per year on the Loraine BBS (Polk 
County). 

Winter: Several winter records exist for this species, primarily from Wash- 
ington County. These records include one on the St. Paul Suburban CBC 
30 December 1961 and two on this count 30 December 1972. There are two 
winter records from Wisconsin: three birds that I netted on 16 January 1975 
in Pierce County and one bird near Deronda, Polk County, during the 
1947-48 winter (Robbins 19486). 

Habitat: Eastern meadowlarks occupy a variety of grassland habitats in- 
cluding domestic hayfields, retired croplands, remnants of oak savannah 
habitats, overgrazed pasture, Old Field Communities, and drier portions of 
Shrub Carr wetlands. 

Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Common to abundant migrant in the Western Upland and 
Central Plain, fairly common in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 5-10 March and reach the Northern Highland 
25 March to 5 April. Peak abundance occurs 25 March to 15 April. Fall 
migration begins in mid-August in the Northern Highland and by 1 Sep- 
tember elsewhere. Peak abundance occurs 20 September to 20 October and 
departure by 1 November; occasional stragglers remain to 1 December. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common to locally abundant breeding species 
in all regions. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 7) demonstrate a marked in- 
crease in relative abundance westward through the Valley. Average num- 
bers recorded per route range from < 1 in Douglas County (Minong BBS) 
and 32.2 in Polk County (Loraine BBS) to 133.7 in St. Croix County (Hudson 
BBS). This trend in breeding population distribution is the reverse of the 
eastern meadowlark. 

Winter: Meadowlarks are fairly regular during winter months in the 
Western Upland. Many of these records are probably referable to western 
meadowlark; however, plumages are similar to the eastern meadowlark, 
which confounds identification. 

Habitat: Highest density breeding populations occur in retired croplands 
and Managed Grasslands where characteristic vegetation includes timothy, 
brome grass, quack grass, and intermediate wheat grass. Nesting western 
meadowlarks also use heavily grazed pastures, Hayland, remnant prairie 
associated with oak savannah, and Old Field Communities. In the Central 
Plain and Northern Highland, nesting pairs occasionally occupy drier por- 
tions of Northern Sedge Meadow. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 153 

Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common (locally common) migrant in the Western Upland, 
uncommon and local in the Central Plain, and rare in the Northern Highland. 
Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland about 15 April, reaching the 
Northern Highland by 1 May. Peak spring abundance occurs 1-15 May and 
nonbreeding birds depart by 20 May. Fall migration begins with dispersal 
from breeding marshes and the formation of loose flocks in late July. Peak 
fall abundance occurs 15 August to 1 September and departure by 30 Sep- 
tember (latest— 9 October 1966, Washington County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common to locally abundant breeding bird in 
central St. Croix, Washington, and southern Polk counties. I conducted a 
census of breeding yellow-headed blackbirds in 1975 and found over 1,000 
pairs in central St. Croix County; a 1977 census yielded fewer than 500 pairs. 
The difference was attributed to persistent drought conditions. Documented 
breeding records exist for St. Croix, Washington, Polk, and Burnett coun- 
ties. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 7) suggest that the largest breeding 
populations occur in the Western Upland. An isolated breeding population 
exists at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Burnett County. Ellarson (1950) re- 
ported two additional colonies in Burnett County in 1948 and 1949 which 
were still occupied in 1977. Green and Janssen (1975) stated that this species 
is absent from "much of Pine County." 

Habitat: Characteristic nesting species of deep semipermanently and perma- 
nently flooded wetlands. Predominant vegetation associated with yellow- 
headed blackbird nesting habitat includes cattail, river bulrush, hardstem 
bulrush, and phragmites. 



Red-winged Blackbird {Agelaius phoeniceus) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive in late February in the Western Upland, reaching the Northern High- 
land by 15 March. Peak spring migration occurs 15 March to 10 April. Fall 
migration begins in mid-July with dispersal from nesting areas and the 
formation of loose flocks. Numbers gradually build through August reach- 
ing peak abundance 10-25 September. During this period, roost flocks 
ranging from 25,000 to 50,000 individuals can be observed. Most fall mi- 
grants have departed by 1 November; however, stragglers remain into early 
December. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Abundant nesting species in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, common in the Northern Highland. Breeding Bird 
Survey data (Table 7) suggest that a very large breeding population exists in 
the open agricultural areas of the Western Upland and Central Plain. This 
breeding population diminishes in abundance in the more forested Northern 
Highland. 



154 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Winter: Regular winter resident in the Western Upland, casual elsewhere. 
Wintering red-winged blackbirds are usually associated with Lowland 
Deciduous Forest, Shrub Carr, Alder Thicket, natural basin wetlands, farm- 
steads, and feedlots. 

Habitat: Red-winged blackbirds use a variety of wetland and upland sites 
for nesting. Wetlands include sedge meadows, seasonally, semipermanently, 
and permanently flooded wetlands dominated by cattail, river bulrush, hard- 
stem bulrush, softstem bulrush, and phragmites. Alder Thicket, Shrub 
Carr, northern Forest Bordered Wetlands, and Black Spruce-Tamarack 
Bogs are also important. Upland nesting sites include agricultural fields, 
Old Field Community, Hayland, Managed Grasslands, and to a lesser extent 
Northern Hardwood Forest, Southern Deciduous Forest, and Lowland 
Deciduous Forest. This species is among the most widespread and adaptable 
breeding birds in the Valley. 

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) 

Status: Casual migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Rare migrant in Pierce, St. Croix, and Washington counties; acci- 
dental elsewhere. Migrants arrive 15-20 May, remaining in this region until 
mid- August. There are two spring records for Polk County: 20 May 1949 
and 20 May 1976. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Several nesting season records exist in the 
Western Upland; however, only one confirmed nesting record exists. A nest 
with eggs was found in Washington County on 15 July 1953 (Herz 1954). S. 
Sprunt found a singing male near Gordon, Douglas County, on 6 July 1956 
(Lound and Lound 19566). Recently, nesting season adults have been regu- 
larly observed along the lower Willow River in St. Croix County. Although 
nest records have not been obtained here, strong evidence of nesting exists. 

Habitat: Breeding season orchard orioles are typically associated with open 
areas in mature Lowland Deciduous Forest. 

Northern Oriole (Icterus galbula) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley, locally abundant adja- 
cent to the St. Croix River in St. Croix, Pierce, and Washington counties. 
Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 May and peak popu- 
lations occur 15-20 May. Spring migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 
by 10 May (earliest— 26 April 1957, Burnett County; Lound and Lound 
1957c), reaching peak populations 20-25 May. Fall migration begins in late 
July. Peak movement in the Northern Highland occurs 5-20 August and de- 
parture is by 10 September. Peak fall migration in the Western Upland 
occurs 15-30 August and departure is by 15 September (latest— 1 December 
1971, Washington County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species in the Western 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 155 

Upland and Central Plain, uncommon and local in the Northern Highland. 
Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 7) suggest that the region of greatest 
abundance is the Central Plain. Unfortunately, the Hudson BBS route does 
not traverse large expanses of northern oriole habitat as this species is a 
common breeding bird in that area. A recent increase in breeding popu- 
lations is suggested by Jackson's (1943) statement that this species was 
"nowhere common in the region except at St. Croix Falls," (Polk County). 
Goddard (1972) reported a density of 20.7 pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic 
River Valley, Pierce County. 

Habitat: The northern oriole is primarily a species of mature deciduous 
forest. Also fairly common in ornamental plantings in residential areas. The 
largest breeding populations occur in mature Northern Hardwood Forest 
and Lowland Deciduous Forest. 

Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) 

Status: Regular migrant and occasional early winter resident. 

Migration: Common spring and abundant fall migrant throughout the 
Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland about 10 March and 
reach the Northern Highland by 25 March. Peak spring populations occur 
1-20 April and departure is by 5 May. Fall migrants arrive about 15 Sep- 
tember, reaching peak populations 10-25 October. Most have departed from 
the Northern Highland by 10 November and elsewhere by 1 December. 

Winter: Early winter records of this species consist primarily of small flocks 
associated with lowland forest habitats. Christmas Bird Count data suggest 
that early winter occurrences are restricted largely to areas adjacent to the 
lower St. Croix River. However, one record of an individual on the Solon 
Springs CBC was probably of a late migrant. During January and February, 
single birds will occasionally frequent feeding stations, including one at a 
Polk County feeder through 17 February 1959 (Winkler 1959). 

Habitat: The rusty blackbird is primarily a species of wetland habitats. Fall 
concentrations of these birds are typically observed in large Alder Thickets, 
Shrub Carr, or northern bog habitats. Edges of prairie wetlands are also 
heavily used, primarily in the Western Upland. 

Brewer's Blackbird {Euphagus cyanocephalus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common spring and uncommon fall migrant throughout 
the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 10-15 March, 
reaching the Northern Highland by 1 April. Peak migration occurs 
10-30 April and departure from nonbreeding areas by 10 May. Fall mi- 
grants arrive in the Western Upland 10-15 August. Peak fall populations 
occur 25 August to 15 September and departure is by 10 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common to locally uncommon nesting 
species in the Central Plain and Northern Highland. Roberts (1932) de- 



156 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

scribed the eastward extension of this species' breeding range from the Red 
River Valley to east-central Minnesota in the early 1900's. Additional evi- 
dence of recent expansion into this region is provided by Jackson (1943) who 
failed to record this bird in northwestern Wisconsin in 1919. 

Winter: Several CBC records of Brewer's blackbird exist for the Suburban 
St. Paul count. These records include: 4 on 29 December 1962, 4 on 26 De- 
cember 1964, and 11 on 30 December 1972. 

Habitat: Brewer's blackbirds primarily use fencerows, railroad rights-of- 
way and Old Field habitats. Occasional breeding pairs are encountered in 
Northern Sedge Meadow, open bog habitats, and in highway rights-of-way. 

Common Grackle {Quiscalus quiscula) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Abundant migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, 
fairly common (locally common) in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 20-25 February, reaching the Northern High- 
land by 30 March. Peak populations occur 20 March to 15 April. Fall migra- 
tion begins in mid-July with dispersal from breeding areas. Large mixed 
flocks of common grackles and red-winged blackbirds form in early August, 
supplemented with Brewer's blackbirds in late August and rusty blackbirds 
in late September. Peak fall populations occur 10 September to 10 October. 
Departure from the Northern Highland occurs by 15 October and most birds 
have departed from the Western Upland by 5 November but stragglers 
remain to 30 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common to locally abundant nesting species 
in the Western Upland and Central Plain, uncommon to locally common in 
the Northern Highland. This is one of the most rapidly increasing nesting 
species in the Valley. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 7) show a gradual 
decrease in relative abundance northward from the heavily farmed regions 
of the Western Upland. In 1919, Jackson (1943) reported that common 
grackles were "never particularly plentiful, except when they gathered in 
flocks." The current abundance of this species and the expansion of its 
breeding range has been fairly recent and may be associated with an ex- 
panding human population or changes in agricultural practices. 

Winter: Common grackles occasionally overwinter each year in the Western 
Upland. Individual birds elsewhere may be wintering or late migrants. 

Habitat: Common grackles are fairly opportunistic in their selection of 
nesting habitats and have been recorded in nearly every habitat type. High- 
est breeding densities are usually associated with Pine Plantations, decid- 
uous woodlots, or ornamental conifer plantings. The increased planting of 
coniferous trees has enhanced common grackle nesting populations and may 
be a factor in their expanding and increasing populations. 

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual early winter resident. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 157 

Migration: Abundant spring and uncommon fall migrant throughout the 
Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 15-20 March and 
reach the Northern Highland by 10 April. Peak spring populations occur 
10-25 April. Fall migration begins with flock formation in late June. A grad- 
ual movement away from breeding areas occurs throughout the fall; conse- 
quently, no peak population dates can be given. Most migrants have de- 
parted by 15 September and stragglers remain through October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common to locally abundant nesting species 
throughout the Valley. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 7) show a large 
and well-distributed breeding population. Goddard (1972) reported a density 
of 24.2 pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County. 

Winter: Several early winter records exist from CBC's in Washington, St. 
Croix, and Douglas counties. These records include: 1 January 1970 (St. 
Croix); 1 January 1975, and 3 January 1976 (Washington); and 18 December 
1974 (Douglas). 

Habitat: Brown-headed cowbirds use virtually all habitats in this region. 
Largest breeding populations occur in woodland edge situations. 



FAMILY THRAUPIDAE: Tanagers 

Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 May, reaching the Northern Highland 
5-10 May. Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 10-25 May. 
Fall migration begins in mid-August. Peak fall migration occurs 25 August 
to 15 September and departure by 1 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species throughout the 
Valley. This species is more widespread and probably occurs in greater 
densities in the Central Plain and Northern Highland. Bernard (1967) consid- 
ered the scarlet tanager a common summer resident in Douglas County. 
Jackson (1943) reported this species as common at St. Croix Falls, Polk 
County, and mentions the observation of mated pairs at that location. God- 
dard (1972) reported a density of 4.5 pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic 
River Valley, Pierce County. 

Habitat: Characteristic nesting species of deciduous forest communities. 
Habitat use by nesting scarlet tanagers varies with geomorphic province. In 
the Western Upland, this species is most abundant in mature Lowland 
Deciduous Forest and Southern Deciduous Forest. In the Central Plain and 
Northern Highland, scarlet tanagers are most abundant in mature Northern 
Hardwood Forest and in early successional stage aspen forest. Breeding 
pairs in Jack Pine Barren habitat are normally found in the "scrub" oak sa- 
vannahs interspersed with jack pine. 



158 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra) 

Status: Casual, two records. 

Records: One male was observed in Polk County on 18 May 1956 (Lound and 
Lound 1956a). Another male was observed at Grantsburg, Burnett County, 
on 29 September 1967 (Caldwell 1968). 

FAMILY FRINGILLIDAE: Grosbeaks, Finches, Sparrows, and Buntings 

Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 

Status: Regular permanent resident. 

Distribution: Fairly common (locally common) resident of the Western 
Upland. Uncommon to rare in the Central Plain, and rare and local in the 
Northern Highland. Movement of the cardinal into this region has been very 
recent. In 1919 Jackson (1943) failed to report this bird in northwestern Wis- 
consin. Young et al. (1941) reported that the first records for Burnett and 
Pierce counties were in 1920. Roberts (1932) reported several mid-1920 
records for the Washington County region. By the 1960's Bernard (1967) 
considered this bird a rare visitor in Douglas County and mentioned records 
from Solon Springs. M. Link (personal communication) reported that cardi- 
nals were regular at Pine City, Pine County, in 1974. 

Breeding season records of the cardinal provide excellent documentation 
of their decreasing population, which is moving northward through the 
Valley. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest an abrupt decrease in 
breeding density from a mean of 1.5 per route in the Western Upland to 
<0.1 per route in the Northern Highland. Goddard (1972) found the mean 
density of breeding cardinals in the Kinnickinnic River Valley was 16 pairs 
per 40 ha. 

Winter: Common winter resident in the Western Upland. As shown for the 
breeding season, the abundance of this bird decreases rapidly as it moves 
northward. On five CBC's in the Valley, the mean number of cardinals re- 
corded per party hour ranged from 3.1 on the Afton CBC to at Solon 
Springs (Table 4). 

Habitat: Primarily a species of deciduous forest edge during the breeding 
season. Use of Lowland Deciduous Forest and Southern Deciduous Forest is 
usually restricted to openings and brushy edges. Highway rights-of-way and 
windbreaks planted around farmsteads are important, as are shrubbery and 
ornamental plantings in residential areas. 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 
1-5 May (earliest— 30 April 1978, St. Croix County), reaching peak abun- 
dance 10-20 May. Fall migration begins in the Northern Highland 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 



159 



15-25 August. Peak fall migration through the Valley occurs 5-20 Sep- 
tember. Departure from the Northern Highland occurs 20-25 September 
and elsewhere by 5 October (latest— 26 October 1965, Washington County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common (locally common) nesting 
species in the Western Upland. Population densities apparently increase 
northward through the Valley. Goddard (1972) reported a density of 31.2 
pairs per 40 ha along the Kinnickinnic River Valley in Pierce County; the 
rose-breasted grosbeak was the fifth most abundant breeding bird in that 
valley. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that rose-breasted gros- 
beaks occur in greatest abundance in the Northern Highland. 

Habitat: The rose-breasted grosbeak is a characteristic breeding species of 
mature deciduous forest and forest edge. In the Western Upland, this gros- 
beak uses Southern Deciduous Forest dominated by mixed stands of white, 
red, black, and bur oaks. Also important is mature Lowland Deciduous 
Forest characterized by cottonwood, green ash, and American elm along the 
major river systems. In the Central Plain and Northern Highland, primary 
use is made of mature Northern Hardwood Forest dominated by sugar 
maple, basswood, trembling aspen, and white birch. Residential Habitats, 
primarily ornamental shade trees, are also used for nesting. 



Table 8. Mean number of grosbeaks, finches, towhees, and sparrows 
recorded on western Wisconsin Breeding Bird Survey transects, 1966-78. 





Western 












Upland 
Hudson 


Central Plain 


Northern 
Union 


Highland 


Species 


Dresser 


Loraine 


Minong 


Cardinal 


1.5 


0.6 


0.0 


<0.1 


<0.1 


Rose-breasted grosbeak 


6.0 


12.2 


18.1 


15.0 


19.6 


Indigo bunting 


7.4 


8.7 


23.3 


18.5 


18.6 


Dickcissel 


12.1 


6.4 


5.4 


0.0 


0.0 


American goldfinch 


4.7 


9.1 


20.6 


6.0 


5.9 


Purple finch 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


1.0 


3.3 


Pine siskin 


0.0 


0.0 


<0.1 


<0.1 


0.2 


Rufous-sided towhee 


0.2 


0.2 


0.6 


21.7 


15.8 


Savannah sparrow 


17.3 


14.1 


26.3 


0.0 


0.3 


Grasshopper sparrow 


9.6 


5.7 


6.7 


0.7 


0.0 


Henslow's sparrow 


1.2 


1.1 


0.5 


0.0 


0.0 


Vesper sparrow 


18.9 


15.3 


13.7 


6.5 


8.6 


Dark-eyed junco 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.6 


Chipping sparrow 


1.6 


6.3 


10.9 


21.2 


24.2 


Clay-colored sparrow 


4.4 


3.0 


2.7 


7.2 


1 1.9 


Field sparrow 


7.0 


3.2 


2.2 


10.2 


1.9 


White-throated sparrow 


0.0 


0.0 


<0.1 


0.0 


3.5 


Lincoln's sparrow 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


<0.1 


Swamp sparrow 


0.0 


0.2 


0.9 


0.2 


1.1 


Song sparrow 


12.9 


24.4 


32.6 


3.5 


24.0 



160 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus) 

Status: Casual spring migrant. 

Records: This western grosbeak has been recorded in the Valley on four occa- 
sions. The first record was a male on 27 May 1970 in Washington County 
(Huber 1974a). A female was observed in Washington County 11 May to 
1 June 1974, and a male was noted in the same location on 13 May 1974 
(Savaloja 1974). I observed a singing male in Glen Park at River Falls, Pierce 
County, on 25 May 1979 (Eckert 1979). 

Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, un- 
common (locally common) in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive 
in the Western Upland 1-5 May (earliest— 26 April 1976, Pierce County) and 
reach the Northern Highland 5-10 May. Peak spring migration through the 
Valley occurs 15-30 May. Fall migration begins about 10-15 August. Peak 
fall migration occurs 1-15 September and departure 20 September to 5 Oc- 
tober. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common and well-distributed nesting species 
in the Western Upland and Central Plain. Fairly common in the Northern 
Highland, except in regions of extensive coniferous forest. Jackson (1943) 
considered the indigo bunting an uncommon nesting bird in the Northern 
Highland in 1919. In the Western Upland, Goddard (1972) found the indigo 
bunting was the 12th most numerous breeding bird (X = 21.8 pairs per 
40 ha) along the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County. Breeding Bird 
Survey data (Table 8) suggest that lowest populations occur in the heavily 
farmed regions of the Central Plain but increase northward into the North- 
ern Highland. 

Habitat: The indigo bunting is a characteristic breeding bird of shrubby 
"edge" habitat types. In the Central Plain and Northern Highland, Decid- 
uous Clear Cuts under 10 years old receive heavy use by nesting indigo bunt- 
ings. Important vegetation associated with their breeding habitat includes 
trembling aspen, box elder, basswood, choke cherry, hazelnut, and prickly 
ash. 



Dickcissel (Spiza americana) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, rare 
and local in the Northern Highland. Populations of this bird experience tre- 
mendous variations between years and they appear to be cyclic. In adjacent 
years, dickcissels can vary from among the most numerous migrants in 
grassland habitats to virtually absent. Spring migrants arrive in the 
Western Upland and Central Plain 20-30 May and are widespread 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 161 

1-10 June. During most years, this bird is most numerous during the first 
10 days of June. Singing ceases about 1 August and birds become difficult 
to find after that date. There is no discernible peak in fall migration, and 
most have departed by 25 August (latest— 16 September 1974, Polk 
County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common although highly irregular 
nesting species in the Western Upland and Central Plain. There are no 
known nest records for Douglas or Pine counties, although Green and Jans- 
sen (1975) stated that the breeding range in Minnesota "usually extended 
only to southern Pine County." Jackson (1943) did not record this species in 
northwestern Wisconsin during 1919. 

During 1975, the dickcissel was virtually absent from St. Croix and Wash- 
ington counties during the nesting season. In 1976, I recorded a density of 
20.4 pairs per 40 ha on Managed Grassland tracts in St. Croix and Polk 
counties. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) provide another indication of 
the rapid decrease in abundance moving northward from the Western 
Upland to Northern Highland. 

Habitat: Characteristic breeding bird of retired agricultural fields that have 
become overgrown with a rank growth of vegetation. Also an important 
breeding bird of alfalfa fields and of Managed Grasslands that are main- 
tained by various State and Federal wildlife agencies for duck nesting cover. 

Evening Grosbeak (Hesperiphona vespertina) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident, casual summer visitor, and 
possible nesting species. 

Migration: Common yet erratic fall and spring migrant in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain. Usually a common to abundant migrant in the 
Northern Highland. Migration periods appear to depend upon the abun- 
dance of a food source in the northern breeding areas. The first fall migrants 
usually arrive in the Northern Highland 1-15 October and reach the 
Western Upland about 15 November, except during invasion years, when 
they have been recorded in mid-October (15 October 1959, Polk County). 
Peak fall migration varies with the year, however, usually occurring 15 No- 
vember to 15 December. Peak spring migration usually occurs during 
March. During non-invasion years, peak spring migration occurs 25 March 
to 5 May. The largest late flock on record (600) was observed at Webster 
(Burnett County) on 25 April 1950. Departure also apparently varies with 
the year. There are several Polk County departure records that range from 
4 May (1954) to 17 May (1952). Latest dates from nonsummering areas 
include 28 May 1962, Polk County and 30 May 1972, Burnett County. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Casual summer resident in the Northern High- 
land. There are no confirmed nest records for the Valley, although a few 
pairs may remain to nest after invasion years. Evening grosbeaks were re- 
corded during the 1972 summer in Pine County (Green and Baumhoffer 
1972). S. D. Robbins recorded evening grosbeaks along the route of the 
Minong BBS during mid-June from 1965 to 1977. During June 1974 I ob- 



162 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

served three male evening grosbeaks in Sec. 14, T. 43 N., R. 15 W., Douglas 
County, but no evidence of nesting. 

Winter: Usually a common to locally abundant winter resident in the North- 
ern Highland. Uncommon to rare (except during invasion years) winter resi- 
dent in the Central Plain and Western Upland. The highest mean numbers of 
evening grosbeaks per party hour on CBC are 8.3 at Grantsburg and 3.3 at 
Solon Springs (Table 4), both in the Northern Highland. The highest count 
of individuals on CBC's was 739 recorded on the 1974 Grantsburg Count. 
Considerable variation also exists in yearly totals, which is indicative of the 
cyclic influxes of this species. 

Habitat: Migrant evening grosbeaks use both deciduous and coniferous 
habitats. Box elder and maple trees that retain their fruits are preferred 
during migration. Most winter records are obtained from the vicinity of feed- 
ing stations, both in rural and urban areas. My records of this bird during 
the breeding season were obtained from an extensive stand of black spruce 
adjacent to a stream. This vegetation type appears to be preferred in the 
northern breeding areas. 



Purple Finch {Carpodacus purpureus) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Common migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, occa- 
sionally abundant in the Northern Highland. Fall migration begins in the 
Northern Highland about 25 August and the first birds arrive in the West- 
ern Upland 15-25 September. Peak fall migration occurs 1 October to 
15 November and departure from nonwintering areas by 1 December (lat- 
est— 18 December 1979, Douglas County). Spring migrants arrive in the 
Northern Highland about 15 March. Peak spring migration occurs 25 March 
to 15 April and departure by 1 May (latest— 10 May 1970 and 17 May 1966, 
Washington County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species in the North- 
ern Highland. Confirmed nest records exist for Burnett, Polk, and Douglas 
counties. Green and Janssen (1975) cited an inferred breeding record for Pine 
County. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that nesting is re- 
stricted to the Northern Highland. The most southerly nest record that I 
have obtained was a female incubating four eggs on 26 May 1974 near Clam 
Falls, Polk County (Sec. 11, T. 35 N., R. 15 W.). Jackson (1943) observed a 
mated pair at St. Croix Falls, Polk County, on 25 May 1919. 

Winter: Common (locally abundant) winter resident in the Western Upland. 
Becomes progressively more scarce in the Central Plain and is virtually 
absent from the Northern Highland. Christmas Bird Count data (Table 4) 
demonstrate sharp declines in winter abundance moving northward from 
the lower St. Croix River. On 1 January 1978, 294 were recorded on the 
Afton CBC. On 16 February 1979, I banded 105 at a feeding station in 
Hudson, St. Croix County. 

Habitat: During the nesting season, the purple finch is a characteristic 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 163 

species of cool, moist, Lowland Coniferous Forest. Principal vegetation asso- 
ciated with breeding habitat includes black spruce, tamarack, yellow birch, 
and black ash. All purple finch nests that I have observed were associated 
with this vegetation type. During migration, purple finches were also found 
in deciduous habitats, primarily those having heavily seeded box elder. Win- 
tering birds are usually found in black spruce habitat or near feeding 
stations in residential areas. 

Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident. 

Migration: Uncommon fall migrant (occasionally common) in the Northern 
Highland, rare and irregular fall migrant (occasionally fairly common) in the 
Central Plain and Western Upland. Less common in all regions during 
spring migration, except after invasions. On 23 November 1946 pine gros- 
beaks were already considered "numerous" at Grantsburg, Burnett County. 
Fall migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 25 October to 15 November. 
Peak fall migration occurs 15 November to 15 December. Spring migration 
begins with a gradual northward exodus in late February. Peak spring 
migration occurs 1-15 March and departure by 1 April (latest— 8 May 1974, 
Polk County). 

Winter: Irregular winter resident except for the Northern Highland where 
wintering pine grosbeaks are observed each year. Winter populations of this 
bird are considered cyclic. The largest number recorded in the Valley was 
436 on the Solon Springs CBC 17 December 1970. Christmas Bird Count 
data (Table 4) provide supportive evidence of their relative abundance in the 
various regions of the Valley. 

Habitat: Generally restricted to extensive stands of Lowland Coniferous 
Forest and Jack Pine Barrens. During invasion years, pine grosbeaks use 
Upland Deciduous Forest, especially if box elder and maple or sumac trees 
are heavily laden with seeds. 

Gray-crowned Rosy Finch (Leucosticte tephrocotis) 

Status: Accidental, one record. 

Record: Ludwig (1974) described the observation of a single gray-crowned 
rosy finch in Pine County 27 March to 6 April 1974. This was the third 
record of that species in Minnesota. 

Hoary Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni) 

Status: Irregular migrant and winter resident. 

Migration: During invasion years, a rare migrant in the Northern Highland 
and Central Plain, casual in the Western Upland. There are too few spring 
records to establish patterns. Fall migrants usually arrive with the first 
large flocks of common redpolls in late November (earliest— 3 November 



164 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

1968, Burnett County; 21 November 1950, Polk County). During spring 
migration, hoary redpolls are observed with common redpoll flocks. Most 
observations occur in February. Late dates include 4 April 1966, St. Croix 
County; 6 April 1969, Chisago County; and 12 April 1974, Washington 
County. 

Winter: Rare and irregular winter resident throughout the Valley. Most 
winter records consist of observations during the CBC periods, usually 
15 December to 2 January. The largest number observed (six) was recorded 
on the Suburban St. Paul CBC 29 December 1973. Considerable debate has 
been generated concerning the taxonomic status of this bird and the ability 
of observers to make accurate identification. The most reliable and undoubt- 
edly correct observations are of banded birds. One individual was banded in 
Chisago County on 1 March 1970. During the winter finch invasion of 
1977-78, I banded two hoary redpolls at a feeding station in Hudson, St. 
Croix County, on 15 February 1978 and 8 March 1978. The latter bird was 
photographed extensively and copies were deposited with the Wisconsin 
Society for Ornithology. 

Habitat: Regularly observed with flocks of common redpoll in weedy fields 
and highway rights-of-way. 



Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammed) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident. 

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley during periodic inva- 
sion years, uncommon to rare migrant during other years. Fall migrants 
arrive 25 October to 10 November (earliest— 12 October 1974, Burnett 
County). Peak fall migration occurs 15 November to 15 December. Peak 
spring migration occurs 1-25 March; birds depart from the Central Plain 
1-10 April and the Northern Highland by 30 April (latest— 30 May 1972, 
Burnett County). 

Winter: Usually an uncommon winter resident except during invasion years 
when this species becomes one of the most abundant wintering birds. Christ- 
mas Bird Count data (Table 4) suggest that the wintering population is 
fairly well distributed throughout the Valley. The extremely high mean 
number of common redpolls per party hour on the Solon Springs CBC is 
skewed upward by a large count during 1977. 

The normal 2-year invasion cycle of this bird is shown by comparing the 
mean number of redpolls per party hour on CBC's throughout the Valley 
(Fig. 6). Beginning with the 1970 count year, the winter common redpoll 
population fits a perfect alternate year invasion schedule. Results from the 
1977-78 CBC season are considerably higher than other years because the 
movement of birds that year was one of the largest recorded. The two 
largest counts on record in the Valley are from the Solon Springs CBC 
(2,222) and Suburban St. Paul CBC (4,615). The 4,615 is the largest number 
ever recorded in North America (Monroe 1978). 

Habitat: Agricultural fields, retired cropland that has become heavily over- 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 



165 



PINE SISKIN 



oc 

Z> 

o 

X 

>- 
r- 
dc 
< 

Q_ 

DC 

ID 
Q_ 

CO 

Q 
DC 

CD 

U_ 
O 

o: 
lu 
m 

Z> 
2 



< 
LU 



40- 




YEAR 

Fig. 6. Patterns of winter abundance of common redpolls and pine siskins in the St. 
Croix River Vallev (data from Christmas Bird Counts). 



grown with various weeds, highway rights-of-way, and mixed decid- 
uous-coniferous forest in northern regions. 



Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Fairly common (occasionally abundant) migrant throughout the 
Valley. Fall migrants arrive in the Central Plain and Western Upland 15- 25 
September. Peak fall migration occurs 10-30 October and departure by 
15 November. The number of fall migrants is highly dependent on the inten- 
sity of the migration during a given year. Typical of other winter finches, 
peak movements usually occur during invasion years. Migrants have 
usually departed the Northern Highland by 1 January, except during years 
of very high populations when large numbers winter throughout the Valley. 



166 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Spring migration begins in late March with a gradual exodus from the 
southern wintering areas. Spring migration is usually more diffuse than fall 
and the period of peak movement occurs 10 April to 15 May. Departure 
from the southern areas occurs 20-30 May. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon nesting species in the Northern 
Highland. Jackson (1943) reported that pine siskins were "not uncommon" 
at Solon Springs (Douglas County) from 26 July to 6 August 1919. He does 
not provide any evidence of nests or young. Larson (1970) reported pine 
siskins at Taylor's Falls, Chisago County, through the summer of 1969 and 
until 10 August 1970. No nests or young were reported. On 11 May 1978, I 
banded a female pine siskin at Hudson, St. Croix County, that possessed a 
well-defined brood patch. Although no nests or young were observed, pine 
siskins remained in the area throughout the summer of 1978 and probably 
nested. 

Winter: Fairly common resident in the Western Upland and Central Plain. 
Uncommon to rare during midwinter in the Northern Highland except 
during invasion years. Christmas Bird Count data (Table 4) suggest a rapid 
decline in relative abundance of this species moving northward from the 
lower St. Croix River Valley. Although not as predictably cyclic as the 
common redpoll, the pine siskin follows a pattern of abundance 1 year, fol- 
lowed by low numbers for 2-3 years afterward (Fig. 6). Highest daily counts 
of individuals include 856 on 1 January 1974 (Afton CBC) and 793 on 2 Jan- 
uary 1978 (Suburban St. Paul CBC). On 10 February 1961 S. D. Robbins ob- 
served over 3,000 pine siskins at Clam Lake, Burnett County. 

Habitat: Restricted primarily to coniferous forest during the nesting season. 
Wintering birds use a variety of coniferous and deciduous habitats. This 
species makes extensive use of feeding stations in residential areas. 

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 
in the Western Upland 15-30 March, reaching peak abundance 15-30 April. 
Migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 10-15 April, reaching peak num- 
bers about 1 May. Fall migration begins in mid- August and peak popu- 
lations occur 15 September to 15 October. Departure from the northern 
areas occurs by 15 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common and well-distributed nesting 
species throughout the Valley. Jackson (1943) considered the American 
goldfinch one of the most generally distributed nesting species in north- 
western Wisconsin. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) support Jackson's 
statement. This bird was the fourth most abundant breeding species (33.2 
pairs per 40 ha) in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County (Goddard 
1972). 

Winter: Fairly common to locally common winter resident in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain. Rare and irregular winter resident of the North- 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 167 

ern Highland, particularly after mid-January. Christmas Bird Count data 
(Table 4) suggest a gradual decrease in relative abundance progressing 
northward. Highest daily counts include 559 on 30 December 1978 (Sub- 
urban St. Paul CBC) and 545 on 1 January 1975 (Afton CBC). 

Habitat: Typically a nesting species of edge situations including stream 
banks, brushy edges of woods, highway rights-of-way, and ornamental 
shrubbery in urban areas. 

Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident, irregular summer resident, 
and nesting species. 

Migration: Irregular migrant throughout the Valley. During periods of peak 
occurrence, red crossbills are uncommon except in the Northern Highland 
where they become locally common. Because of their erratic movements, it is 
difficult to determine their migration periods, particularly in the Northern 
Highland. The normal period of occurrence in the Western Upland and Cen- 
tral Plain is 1 October to 1 April; stragglers remain until mid-May. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and irregular during the nesting season, 
primarily in the Northern Highland. Jackson (1943) mentioned the observa- 
tion of a "flock" at Solon Springs, Douglas County, on 8 August 1919. 
Jackson (1970) provided the only confirmed nesting record for the Valley 
when he observed several adults feeding young at Stillwater, Washington 
County, during May 1970. Larson (1970) found red crossbills near Taylor's 
Falls, Chisago County, until 5 June 1970 but no evidence of nesting. 

Winter: Uncommon and irregular winter resident, usually observed in the 
Northern Highland. Although this species is dependent on the pinecone 
crop, population irruptions of red crossbill are not predictable. 

Habitat: Breeding season records are typically associated with Lowland 
Coniferous Forest or Northern Hardwood Forest intermixed with coniferous 
trees. 

White-winged Crossbill (Loxia leucoptera) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident, erratic summer resident. 

Migration: Uncommon to rare migrant; most observations are confined to 
the Northern Highland. Similar in distribution to the red crossbill in occur- 
rence and distribution. During years of peak influxes, white-winged cross- 
bills are locally common to abundant, primarily in the Northern Highland 
and Central Plain. The normal period of occurrence ranges from 15 October 
to 15 March. 

Nesting Season Distribution: There are no confirmed nest records of this 
crossbill in the Valley. S. D. Robbins recorded single birds along the route of 
the Minong BBS, Douglas County, on 11 June 1969 and 21 June 1977. Rob- 
bins observed two white-winged crossbills along the route of the Union BBS, 
Burnett County, on 22 June 1977. 



168 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Winter: Uncommon to locally common winter resident in the Northern High- 
land. Rare to uncommon winter resident elsewhere. During the winter of 
1977-78, the movement of this bird into the Valley was among the largest on 
record. Exceptionally large flocks (200 individuals) were noted, primarily 
north of St. Croix Falls. These large numbers remained through mid-De- 
cember. After that time, the number of individuals decreased considerably. 

Habitat: This species primarily uses extensive stands of Lowland Coniferous 
Forest where white spruce is the predominant tree species. Also occasionally 
observed in mixed coniferous-deciduous forest and Jack Pine Barren. 

Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorura) 

Status: Accidental, one record. 

Record: Garber (1965) reported the observation of one bird at Prescott, 
Pierce County, on 10 May 1964. 

Rufous-sided Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant throughout the Valley, common in the 
Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 
25-30 April and the Northern Highland 1-5 May. Peak migration occurs 
5-15 May. Peak fall migration occurs 10-25 September and departure by 
15 October (latest— 8 December 1971, Washington County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon nesting species throughout the 
Valley. Jackson (1943) reported that rufous-sided towhees were common at 
Solon Springs, Douglas County, 28 July to 6 August 1919. Goddard (1972) 
reported a density of 19.3 pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, 
Pierce County. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that the rufous- 
sided towhee occurs in relatively low numbers in the Western Upland and 
Central Plain and is common in the Northern Highland. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of edge situations. Typical breeding habitat in- 
cludes semi-open stands of Northern Hardwood Forest (Western Upland). 
Typical vegetation of these habitats includes second-growth bur oak, tremb- 
ling aspen, sugar maple, green ash, and basswood. In the Northern High- 
land, this species becomes particularly numerous in mixed stands of jack 
pine and oak. 



Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common spring and fall migrant throughout the Valley. Spring 
migrants arrive in the Western Upland 10-15 April and the Northern High- 
land about 20 April (earliest— 30 March 1967, Burnett County). Peak spring 
migration through the Valley occurs 20 April to 10 May. Peak fall migration 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 169 

occurs 15-30 September and departure by 15 October (latest— 25 October 
1967, St. Croix County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, uncommon and more localized in the Northern 
Highland. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain the savannah sparrow is among the three most 
common nesting sparrows. However, this abundance decreases rapidly 
moving northward into the heavily forested Northern Highland. 

Habitat: Characteristic breeding species of various grassland communities. 
Important among these are retired cropland, Old Field Community, high- 
way rights-of-way, Managed Grasslands maintained for duck production, 
and lightly to moderately grazed tame pasture that is predominantly 
timothy or Kentucky bluegrass. Also important, although to a lesser degree, 
are alfalfa and oat fields. In Northern regions, savannah sparrows make 
extensive use of wet meadow habitats, primarily Northern Sedge Meadow. 

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Western Upland and 
Central Plain, uncommon to rare and localized in the Northern Highland. 
Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 25 April to 1 May and the 
Northern Highland about 5 May. Peak spring migration is difficult to deter- 
mine, although it is widely distributed 5-15 May. During the fall, grass- 
hopper sparrows are rarely encountered after the song period ceases about 
1 August, but they are probably present until mid-September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, rare and local in the Northern Highland. Jackson 
(1943) did not record this sparrow during the 1919 nesting season in north- 
western Wisconsin. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that the 
breeding populations in the Western Upland and Central Plain occur in 
nearly equal abundance, becoming much smaller in the Northern Highland. 

Habitat: Primarily a nesting species of various grassland communities. Im- 
portant among these are retired croplands, unmowed highway rights-of- 
way, Managed Grasslands maintained for duck production, and lightly 
grazed tame pasture that is predominantly Kentucky bluegrass or timothy. 
Also important, although to lesser degrees, are alfalfa and oat fields. Occa- 
sional use is made of the drier portions of Shrub Carr wetlands and Northern 
Sedge Meadow. 

Baird's Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii) 

Status: Hypothetical, two records. 

Records: One bird was observed at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, on 
12 May 1957 (Stone 1957). Goddard (1976) reported a single bird, also at 
Crex Meadows, on 2 May 1975. 



170 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Le Conte's Sparrow (Ammospiza leconteii) 

Status: Regular migrant and summer resident. 

Migration: Rare migrant throughout the Valley, fairly common at Crex 
Meadows, Burnett County. Migrants arrive in the Western Upland about 
5 May (earliest— 24 April 1976, St. Croix County). LeConte's sparrow is 
most regularly observed 10-25 May. Fall migration records range from 
3 September to 4 October (latest— 11 October 1963, Burnett County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Green and Janssen (1975) show the breeding 
range of LeConte's sparrow extending throughout the three Minnesota 
counties. Although summer records exist for Burnett, Polk, and St. Croix 
counties, young have been observed only at Crex Meadows. The most south- 
erly breeding season records include single birds near New Richmond, St. 
Croix County, on 15 June to 2 July 1964, and 16 June 1966 (Robbins 19696), 
and a singing male near Roberts, St. Croix County, on 27 June 1977 (Sec. 32, 
T. 30 N., R. 18 W.). Robbins (19696) also recorded LeConte's sparrow in two 
Polk County locations (T. 35 N., R. 16 W.) on 15 June 1968. Two late May 
records from Pine County (23 May 1970 and 29 May 1971) were probably of 
birds on breeding territory. 

The best known and probably most extensively explored summer area for 
LeConte's sparrow is the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Burnett County. 
Southern (1962) found several LeConte's sparrows in the marshes at Crex 
Meadows between 23 June and 2 July 1959. Subsequent to his original ob- 
servations, other birders have investigated this area extensively and have 
found that this species occurs commonly in proper habitat. On 10 June 1977, 
I recorded 11 singing males in one marsh at Crex Meadows (Sec. 15, 
T. 39 N., R. 18 W.). Frequency of occurrence and observations of apparent 
territorial behavior indicate that LeConte's sparrow still nests at Crex 
Meadows, although no nests have been obesrved recently. Intensive investi- 
gation of similar areas in Pine and southern Douglas counties should reveal 
additional breeding areas. 

Habitat: Typical breeding habitat at Crex Meadows includes extensive 
stands of Northern Sedge Meadow characterized by manna grass, water 
sedge, bluejoint grass, rattlesnake grass, and dark-green bulrush. Breeding 
season records of this sparrow away from Crex Meadows have consisted of 
birds in drier upland grasses, primarily timothy, bromegrass, and Kentucky 
bluegrass. 

Henslow's Sparrow {Ammodramus henslowii) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Rare migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain. Spring 
migrants arrive in the Western Upland 25 April to 1 May. There is very 
little movement that could be considered peak spring migration. Most of the 
birds observed in the Valley appear to be on or near a nesting territory. A 
Henslow's sparrow was observed at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, on 
15 May 1954. This is the only record for the Northern Highland. Fall migra- 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 171 

tion is similar to spring in that no well-defined movements have been ob- 
served. Most fall observations have been made during August (latest— 
12 September 1977, St. Croix County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local nesting species, restricted pri- 
marily to the Western Upland and Central Plain (Table 8). The secretive be- 
havior of Henslow's sparrow and its short and nondescript song make this 
bird one of the most difficult breeding birds in the Valley to observe. 

Habitat: Restricted during the breeding season to several grassland com- 
munities. Primary use is made of retired agricultural fields that have de- 
veloped a rank growth of vegetation, primarily timothy and various forbs. 
Managed Grasslands maintained for duck production provide important 
nesting habitat, especially when vegetation height exceeds 0.5 m. Occa- 
sional use is made of alfalfa fields and tame pastures or thick grassland 
vegetation associated with the periphery of seasonally and semipermanently 
flooded wetlands. 

Sharp-tailed Sparrow (Ammospiza caudacuta) 

Status: Casual migrant and summer resident. 

Migration: Three spring and one fall migration records exist for the Valley 
including 19 May 1964, St. Croix County; 8 May 1974, Pierce County 
(Faanes and Goddard 1976); and 23 May 1976, Burnett County (Crex 
Meadows). One bird was observed in St. Croix County on 18 August 1977. 
Because of the secretive habits of this species, and its extremely high- 
pitched song, the sharp-tailed sparrow is probably more common than 
records indicate. 

Nesting Season Distribution: The sharp-tailed sparrow has been recorded at 
Crex Meadows, Burnett County, on at least five occasions during the 
nesting season. The first record was of one singing male on 21-22 July 1969. 
On 31 July and 1 August 1970, one singing male was recorded in the same 
area. It was not until 13 August 1975 that T. C. Baptist again recorded this 
sparrow in the same marsh. Tessen (1978) reported observing at least three 
singing males on 28 and 29 May 1977. Later, on 10 June 1977, I recorded 
one singing male at the same location. All Crex Meadows observations 
during the breeding season were made in a large sedge meadow in Sec. 15, T. 
39 N., R. 18 W. Because of the territorial behavior exhibited by these birds, 
sharp-tailed sparrows can be considered a probable breeding species at Crex 
Meadows. 

Habitat: The area that sharp-tailed sparrows occupy at Crex Meadows is an 
extensive Northern Sedge Meadow that is characterized by manna grass, 
bluejoint grass, and water sedge. Although habitat similarities exist be- 
tween sharp-tailed and LeConte's sparrow at Crex Meadows, apparently 
sharp-tailed sparrows choose moister areas in the meadow. 

Vesper Sparrow {Pooecetes gramineus) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 



172 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Migration: Common spring and fall migrant in the Western Upland and 
Central Plain, uncommon and more local in the Northern Highland. Spring 
migrants arrive in the Western Upland 5-10 April (earliest— 25 March 1963, 
St. Croix County) and the Northern Highland 10-15 April. Peak spring 
migration through the Valley occurs 15 April to 1 May. Peak fall migration 
occurs 1-20 September and departure by 15 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species in the Western 
Upland and Central Plain, uncommon in the Northern Highland. Erickson 
(1937), however, considered it abundant in Pine County. Breeding Bird 
Survey data (Table 8) suggest that the vesper sparrow is the second most 
abundant nesting sparrow in the Valley. Jackson (1943) reported that the 
vesper sparrow was a common breeding bird throughout most of north- 
western Wisconsin in 1919. 

Habitat: Characteristic nesting species of edge situations including fence- 
rows adjoining agricultural fields and the border of retired cropland with 
deciduous forest. Brushy highway rights-of-way and Old Field Communities 
are regularly used in the Western Upland and Central Plain. Breeding 
vesper sparrows in northern regions occur in open areas, brushy fields, or 
occasionally in openings in Jack Pine Barrens. 



Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) 

Status: Regular migrant and summer resident. 

Migration: Rare spring and fall migrant in the Western Upland and Central 
Plain, absent from the Northern Highland except in the region near Grants- 
burg, Burnett County. Spring migration dates occur during a narrow range 
from 10-25 May. Fall migration dates range from 1-15 September. 

Nesting Season Distribution: The only evidence of possible breeding in the 
Valley is available from the Union BBS transect in Burnett County. S. D. 
Robbins found a small breeding "colony" of lark sparrows near Grantsburg 
on 26 June 1975. Since then, up to five singing males have been recorded in 
that location each year, but no nests of young have yet been found. Green 
and Janssen (1975) showed that the breeding range of this sparrow in Minne- 
sota includes Chisago, Washington, and southern Pine counties. S. D. Rob- 
bins (personal communication) observed lark sparrows near Cushing, Polk 
County, on 22 June 1977 and near North Hudson, St. Croix County, on 
8 July 1965. During June 1977 I observed a group of five lark sparrows in 
St. Croix County (Sec. 22, T. 30 N., R. 18 W.). The appearance of two of 
these birds suggested that they were young of the year. Kemper (1973) 
considered this species rare in Chippewa and Eau Claire counties, 120 km 
east of the St. Croix County location. 

Habitat: Lark sparrows at the Burnett County location use an open area in 
mixed bur oak-jack pine. The St. Croix County location was characterized 
by the brushy edge of a Managed Grassland. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 173 

Dark-eyed Junco {Junco hyemalis) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley. Determination of 
arrival of spring migrants in the Western Upland and Central Plain is con- 
founded by wintering birds. The first noticeable influxes occur 1-15 March. 
First spring migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 15-30 March. Peak 
spring migration through the Valley occurs 30 March to 15 April and de- 
parture from nonbreeding areas by 15 May. Fall migration begins in the 
Northern Highland during early September. First migrants arrive in the 
Western Upland 15-25 September. Peak fall migration occurs during Oc- 
tober and most nonwintering birds have departed by 1 December. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare nesting species, restricted to the North- 
ern Highland. Roberts (1932) reported young being fed in Pine County 
during late June 1918, the first breeding record for the Valley. Two young 
dark-eyed j uncos were observed in Chisago County on 16 June 1950 (Warner 
1951). Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) also suggest that the breeding 
population of this species is rather limited in the Valley. An adult that I ob- 
served near Deer Park, St. Croix County, on 23 June 1976 was extralimital 
and probably an extremely late migrant. 

Winter: Common (locally abundant) winter resident along the lower St. 
Croix River in Pierce, St. Croix, and southern Washington counties. Rare 
and local in the Central Plain, occasional in the Northern Highland. Christ- 
mas Bird Count data (Table 4) show the rapid decrease in relative abundance 
of this species moving north through the Valley during the winter. Dark- 
eyed j uncos are well known for their attachment to the numerous winter 
feeding stations in residential areas. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of drier upland habitats including Jack Pine 
Barrens and mixed Northern Hardwood Forest. Roberts (1932) mentioned 
that nesting dark -eyed j uncos are also associated with "spruce and cedar 
swamps of the lowlands" in Pine County. Wintering dark-eyed juncos make 
extensive use of edge habitats, particularly hedgerows, and to a lesser ex- 
tent several deciduous forest types, primarily Southern Deciduous Forest 
and Lowland Deciduous Forest. 

Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident. 

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley. Fall migrants arrive 
in the Northern Highland 5-10 October and in the Western Upland 
10-15 October. Peak fall migration occurs 25 October to 25 November and 
departure of most nonwintering birds occurs by 30 November. Spring 
migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 1-10 April. Peak spring migra- 
tion throughout the Valley occurs 10-20 April and departure by 30 April; 
occasional stragglers linger through 15 May. 

Winter: Fairly common (locally common) winter resident in the Western Up- 



174 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

land, rare and local in the Central Plain. Christmas Bird Count data (Table 4) 
suggest that highest winter populations occur in areas directly adjacent to 
the lower St. Croix River. Populations decrease rapidly in areas northward 
from the Central Plain. The tree sparrow has not been recorded on the Solon 
Springs CBC, Douglas County. 

Habitat: During migration, the tree sparrow uses a variety of open habitats 
including agricultural fields, retired cropland, and wetland edges. During 
midwinter, extensive use is made of retired croplands that support dense 
weedy patches. Grassy openings in Southern Deciduous Forest and occa- 
sional remnant prairie patches occurring along the river bluffs are also im- 
portant. 

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 
in the Western Upland 10-15 April (earliest— 3 April 1971, Washington 
County) and reach the Northern Highland about 15-20 April. Peak spring 
migration through the Valley occurs 1-15 May. Peak fall migration occurs 
10 September to 1 October and departure by 15 October (latest— 3 No- 
vember 1963, St. Croix County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species throughout the 
Valley. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that the largest breed- 
ing population occurs in the northern regions of the Central Plain and 
throughout the Northern Highland. Jackson (1943) reported that chipping 
sparrows were common nesting birds throughout northwestern Wisconsin. 
Goddard (1972) reported a density of 11.1 pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic 
River Valley, Pierce County. 

Habitat: Primarily a nesting species of various coniferous habitats including 
Lowland Coniferous Forest, Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs, and Jack Pine 
Barrens. In residential areas, this sparrow is common in ornamental shrubs. 
Breeding pairs are occasionally encountered in brushy margins between 
Lowland Deciduous Forest and open fields. Jackson (1943) described a chip- 
ping sparrow nest at St. Croix Falls that was 6.4 m above ground in a large 
white pine. 



Clay-colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 25 April to 1 May and the Northern Highland 
5-10 May (earliest— 29 April 1961, Burnett County). Peak spring migration 
through the Valley occurs 10-20 May. Peak fall migration occurs 20 August 
to 5 September in the Northern Highland and 10-25 September elsewhere. 
Departure from the Northern Highland occurs about 20 September (latest— 
16 October 1963, Burnett County) and the Western Upland 1-15 October. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 175 



Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common and local nesting species in all 
regions, probably most abundant in the Northern Highland (Table 8). Jack- 
son (1943) reported that the clay-colored sparrow was a common nesting 
species at Danbury (Burnett County) and Solon Springs (Douglas County) in 
1919. Clay-colored sparrows apparently become semicolonial where habitat 
is favorable. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of edge situations including brushy fields. This 
species becomes numerous in recently burned areas or where there are rela- 
tively young conifer plantings. Commonly found associated with retired 
agricultural fields and Old Field Community where coarse perennial weeds 
have become established. In the Northern Highland, this species has re- 
sponded favorably to intensive management for sharp-tailed grouse on 
sandy soils. Nests are usually found in association with sweet fern vege- 
tation in areas of restored native prairie. Nesting clay-colored sparrows near 
the mouth of the Kinnickinic River in Pierce and Washington counties are 
associated with brushy open areas in Southern Deciduous Forest. 

Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual early winter resident. 

Migration: Fairly common to common migrant throughout the Valley. 
Locally distributed in heavily forested regions of the Northern Highland. 
Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland about 10-20 April and the 
Northern Highland by 1 May. Peak spring migration through the Valley 
occurs late April to 15 May. Fall migration begins in the northern regions in 
late August and departure is by 15 September. Peak fall migration through 
the lower Valley occurs during 15-25 September and departure by 15 Oc- 
tober. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common and well-distributed nesting 
species in the Western Upland and Central Plain. Rare (locally common) 
nesting species in the Northern Highland. Bernard (1967) considered this 
sparrow a rare summer visitor and possible resident in Douglas County. 
Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that the field sparrow occurs 
fairly regularly during the nesting season in southern Douglas County. 
Roberts (1932) credited the removal of coniferous forest and replacement 
with a deciduous forest type with the expansion of this sparrow northward 
along the St. Croix River to southern Pine County. 

Winter: Three winter records for St. Croix County from the Afton CBC, 
including single birds on 1 January 1971 and 1973, and three birds in one 
group on 1 January 1978. It is not known if any of these birds survived the 
winter. When the location of the 1978 birds was rechecked on 12 January 
1978, the birds were not found. 

Habitat: Characteristic nesting species of the Old Field Community where it 
is associated with early successional species including box elder, trembling 
aspen, staghorn sumac, and chokecherry. Use is also made of well-estab- 
lished growths of various coarse weeds in retired agricultural fields. During 
early stages of development, field sparrows are regularly encountered in 



176 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Pine Plantations. Deciduous Clear Cuts and brushy openings in Jack Pine 
Barrens are used in the Northern Highland. 

Harris' Sparrow (Zonotrichia querula) 

Status: Regular migrant, one winter record. 

Migration: Rare spring and uncommon fall migrant in the Western Upland 
and Central Plain, casual in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive 
in the Western Upland 1-5 May and are most frequently observed 
10-20 May, departing by 25 May. Fall migrants arrive 20 September to 
1 October. Peak fall migration occurs 10-20 October and departure by 
30 October (latest— 2 November 1968, St. Croix County). 

Winter: One bird was recorded on the Afton CBC (Washington County) on 
1 January 1974 (Eckert 1974). On 4, 8, and 11 April 1967 S. D. Robbins ob- 
served one at Roberts, St. Croix County, that he suspected of overwintering 
somewhere in the area. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of brushy edges of fields and hedgerows. Ob- 
servations of Harris' sparrows indicate that they migrate in close asso- 
ciation with white-crowned sparrows. 

White-crowned Sparrow {Zonotrichia leucophrys) 

Status: Regular migrant, one winter record. 

Migration: Uncommon migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 25 April to 1 May (earliest— 2 April 1961, St. 
Croix County), reaching the Northern Highland 1-5 May (earliest— 20 April 
1954, Burnett County). Peak spring migration occurs 10-25 May and de- 
parture by 30 May (latest— 11 June 1953, Burnett County; Besadny 1953). 
Fall migrants arrive 5-10 September. Peak fall migration occurs 15-20 Sep- 
tember and departure 25 September to 10 October. 

Winter: One white-crowned sparrow was observed at a feeder in Luck, Polk 
County, on 23 December 1957 (Lound and Lound 19586). 

Habitat: Edges of deciduous woods that support a brushy understory, 
brushy edges of retired agricultural fields, hedgerows, and ornamental 
plantings in residential areas. 

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley. The white-throated 
sparrow is second only to the song sparrow in abundance during migration. 
Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-10 April and the Northern 
Highland by 15 April. Peak spring migration occurs 20 April to 10 May and 
departure from nonbreeding areas occurs by 25 May. Fall migration begins 
in the Northern Highland in late August and the first birds reach the West- 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 177 

ern Upland 5-10 September (earliest— 25 August 1977, Pierce County). 
Peak fall migration occurs 15 September to 10 October. Departure from the 
Northern Highland occurs 10-20 October and elsewhere by 15 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species in the Northern 
Highland (Table 8), uncommon and local in the Central Plain. Green and 
Janssen (1975) showed that the breeding range of this sparrow extended 
south to the Chisago-Washington County line. My most southerly nest 
record was obtained on 9 June 1975, near Luck, Polk County (Sec. 19, 
T. 36N..R. 17 W.). 

Winter: Rare and regular winter resident in the Western Upland. Usually 
encountered each year on either the Afton or Suburban St. Paul CBC. One 
remained at St. Croix Falls, Polk County, during the 1949-50 Winter. 

Habitat: The white-throated sparrow occupies both deciduous and conif- 
erous habitats during the nesting season. There is no single habitat that can 
be considered characteristic. Deciduous habitats that are most regularly 
used include stands of mature Northern Hardwood Forest with sugar maple, 
basswood, and silver maple the predominant vegetation. Nests in this 
habitat are usually associated with lush grasses and forbs in the ground 
layer. Deciduous Clear Cuts < 10 years old and predominantly trembling 
aspen with scattered patches of black raspberry are an important deciduous 
habitat. Coniferous habitats of major importance include Lowland Conif- 
erous Forest dominated by yellow birch, white cedar, black spruce, and 
balsam fir. Extensive use is also made of Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs. Use 
of Jack Pine Barrens is very low and irregular. 



Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) 

Status: Regular migrant, casual early winter resident. 

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 15-25 March and the Northern Highland 
1-5 April. Peak spring migration occurs 10-25 April and departure by 
15 May (latest— 28 May 1972, Washington County). Fall migrants arrive 
10-15 September, peak fall migration occurs 1-20 October, and departure is 
by 15 November. 

Winter: There are several early winter records from the Western Upland. 
These records include 13 December 1968, Chisago County, and 2 January 
1960, 1 January 1970, 1974, and 1976 on the Afton CBC, Washington 
County. 

Habitat: In the Western Upland, the fox sparrow is primarily a species of 
Southern Deciduous Forest characterized by white, Hill's, and bur oak. 
Extensive areas of brushy understory, primarily prickly ash, hazelnut, and 
beaked hazel are important components of that habitat. In the northern 
regions, fox sparrows use brushy edges and heavy undergrowth in Northern 
Hardwood Forest, primarily quaking aspen, sugar maple, basswood, white 
birch, and green ash. 



178 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) 

Status: Regular migrant and possible summer resident. 

Migration: Uncommon spring and fairly common fall migrant throughout 
the Valley, locally common in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 May and the Northern Highland 
5-10 May. Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 10-20 May and 
departure 25 May to 1 June. Fall migration begins in the Northern Highland 
about 15 August with the first arrivals in the Western Upland 
20-25 August. Peak fall migration occurs 15 September to 10 October and 
departure by 15-20 October (latest— 28 October 1963, St. Croix County). 

Nesting Season Distribution: S. D. Robbins (personal communication) re- 
corded single Lincoln's sparrows along the route of the Minong BBS 
(Douglas County) on 16 June 1971 and 27 June 1975. On 26 June 1974 Rob- 
bins recorded one in an open bog about 6.4 km north of Moose Junction, 
Douglas County. 

Habitat: Migrant Lincoln's sparrows are usually associated with brushy 
edge habitats. Old Field Community, retired agricultural fields, and orna- 
mental shrubbery in residential areas are important among these. In the 
Northern Highland, this sparrow is regularly encountered in wet coniferous 
habitats, brushy borders of Northern Sedge Meadow, and in Alder Thickets. 



Swamp Sparrow {Melospiza georgiana) 

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, one winter record. 

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 
in the Western Upland 25 March to 5 April and the Northern Highland 
15-20 April. Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 20 April to 
5 May. Peak fall migration occurs 15 September to 10 October and de- 
parture by 20 October. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon to fairly common nesting species 
in the Central Plain and Northern Highland, locally in the Western Upland. 
Jackson (1943) found the swamp sparrow "never particularly common" 
during the 1919 nesting season. He found nests with young at St. Croix 
Falls (Polk County) and Solon Springs (Douglas County). Breeding Bird 
Survey data (Table 8) suggest that the swamp sparrow is more abundant 
during the nesting season in the northern regions of the Central Plain and 
throughout the Northern Highland. 

Winter: A single bird was observed in St. Croix County during the Afton 
CBC on 1 January 1970. 

Habitat: Characteristic nesting species of Alder Thicket and Northern 
Sedge Meadow habitats in northern regions. Also fairly regular in Black 
Spruce-Tamarack Bogs and in open leatherleaf-Labrador tea bogs. In the 
Central Plain, this sparrow breeds regularly in Shrub Carr habitat which is 
dominated by heavy growths of gray dogwood and in cattail-bulrush vege- 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 179 



tation associated with seasonally, semipermanently, and permanently 
flooded wetlands. 



Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident. 

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants 
arrive in the Western Upland 20 March to 1 April and the Northern High- 
land 1-10 April (earliest— 13 March 1954, Burnett County). Peak spring 
migration occurs 15 April to 1 May. Peak fall migration is 1-10 September 
in the Northern Highland and 25 September to 10 October in the Western 
Upland. Departure from the Northern Highland occurs 15-25 October (lat- 
est— 16 November 1975, Burnett County) and elsewhere by 5 November. 

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species throughout the 
Valley. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that the song sparrow 
is the most abundant breeding sparrow in the Valley. Jackson (1943) re- 
ported that the song sparrow was a common nesting bird "at every locality 
visited" in northwestern Wisconsin in 1919. Goddard (1972) reported a 
breeding density of 40.3 pairs per 40 ha in the lower Kinnickinnic River 
Valley, Pierce County. Goddard also reported that the song sparrow was the 
second most abundant breeding bird among 82 species nesting in that 
valley. 

Winter: Regularly occurring species during winter along the lower St. Croix 
River. Most birds are associated with feeding stations in residential areas. 

Habitat: Nearly unrestricted in nesting habitat use. Important habitats are 
Shrub Carr, Alder Thicket, Prairie Wetlands, retired agricultural fields, Old 
Field Community, highway rights-of-way, and brushy openings in upland 
deciduous forest. Coniferous habitats are used to a lesser degree. Important 
among these are Black Spruce-Tamarack Bog and Lowland Coniferous 
Forest. 

Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident. 

Migration: Abundant migrant in the Western Upland, Central Plain, and un- 
forested regions of the Northern Highland; rare in the heavily forested 
regions of the Northern Highland. Fall migrants arrive in the Northern 
Highland 15-20 September and the Western Upland 25 September to 1 Oc- 
tober. Peak fall migration occurs 15 October to 15 November and most have 
departed by 1 December. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 
1-5 March and the Northern Highland about 15 March. Peak spring migra- 
tion occurs 20 March to 10 April and departure by 10 May. 

Habitat: An open country bird using primarily heavily grazed tame pasture, 
fall plowed agricultural fields, corn and oat stubble, and the exposed edges 
of Prairie Wetlands. 

Winter: Uncommon winter resident of the Western Upland and Central 



180 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Plain, usually absent north of St. Croix Falls. Normal winter flock size is 
10-30. The largest daily total on a CBC (Afton) is 174 on 1 January 1968. 

Chestnut-collared Longspur (Calcarius ornatus) 

Status: Accidental, one record. 

Record: K. H. Dueholm observed three chestnut-collared longspurs in a 
flock of lapland longspurs on 20 March 1976, 4.8 km north of Star Prairie, 
Polk County. 

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) 

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident. 

Migration: Common (locally abundant) migrant in the Western Upland, 
Central Plain, and unforested regions of the Northern Highland. Fall 
migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 10-20 October (earliest— 5 Oc- 
tober 1952, Burnett County) and the Western Upland 20-30 October. Peak 
fall migration occurs 10 November to 1 December. Peak spring migration 
occurs 1-15 March and departure by 15 April (latest— 30 April 1971, Bur- 
nett County). 

Winter: Fairly common (locally common) winter resident in the unforested 
areas of the Valley. Christmas Bird Count data suggest that largest num- 
bers occur in the Central Plain and Northern Highland. The largest group on 
record (2,500) was recorded by N. R. Stone at Crex Meadows, Burnett 
County, on 21 December 1950. 

Habitat: Primarily a species of open country using heavily grazed tame 
pasture, fall plowed agricultural fields, and corn or oat stubble. In the 
Northern Highland, occasional use is made of grassy railroad rights-of-way 
that traverse extensive hardwood forest stands. 



Acknowledgments 

This report has been greatly enhanced by the observations and contribu- 
tions of many birders and ornithologists too numerous to mention indi- 
vidually. The entire manuscript benefited from critical reviews by D. R. 
Bystrak, J. C. Green, C. S. Robbins, S. D. Robbins, and D. D. Tessen. Indi- 
vidual sections of the manuscript were critically reviewed by B. A. Moss 
(waterfowl), K. H. Dueholm, and J. W. Richardson (habitats). Additional 
suggestions and comments on various portions of the manuscript were pro- 
vided by H. F. Duebbert, C. L. Henderson, R. L. Hine, D. H. Johnson, H. A. 
Kantrud, and R. L. Kologiski. Publication of these data was originally pro- 
posed by E. Lanis. 

The staff of the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center contributed in 
many ways. R. L. Duval and C. W. Shaiffer prepared the figures. E. K. 
Bartels provided extensive bibliographic support. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 181 



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Eckert, K. R. 1979. Western Great Lakes Region. Am. Birds 33(51:772-775. 
Edgar, M. 1943. Tufted titmouse nesting in Minnesota. Flicker 15(3):35. 
Ellarson, R. S. 1950. The yellow-headed blackbird in Wisconsin. Passenger Pigeon 

12(3):99-109. 
Erdman, T. C. 1970. Current migrant shrike status in Wisconsin. Passenger Pigeon 

32(4):144-150. 
Erickson, A. B. 1937. Birds of Hinckley. Flicker 9(1 ):6, 8. 
Erickson, A. B., and R. Upson. 1938. 1938 Minnesota nesting records. Flicker 

10<1):4-13. 
Evans, I). L. 1975. Fall owl migration at Duluth, Minnesota. Loon 47(2):56 
Evrard, J. O. 1975. Nesting great egrets in Burnett Countv. Passenger Pigeon 

37(4):151-152. 
Evrard, J. O., E. A. Lombard, and K. 11 Larsen. 197s. Response to drought bj a 

breeding population of common loons. Passenger Pigeon l M2): 1 1 8. 



182 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



Faanes, C. A. 1975. A northern three-toed woodpecker in Polk County. Passenger 

Pigeon 37(3):135-136. 
Faanes, C. A. 1979. Status of the black tern in western Wisconsin. Passenger Pigeon 

41(3):124-128. 
Faanes, C. A., and S. V. Goddard. 1976. The birds of Pierce and St. Croix Counties, 

Wisconsin. Passenger Pigeon 38(l):19-38, 38(2):57-71. 
Feeney, W. S. 1942. The spring season. Passenger Pigeon 4(3):50-53. 
Follen, D. G., Sr. 1979. A probable breeding record of great-gray owls in Wisconsin. 

Passenger Pigeon 41(2):53-57. 
Foster, B. 1956. Autumn season. Passenger Pigeon 18(l):31-44. 
Garber, B. 1965. Wisconsin's third green-tailed towhee. Passenger Pigeon 

27(1):12-13. 
Glassel, R. C. 1977. Kentucky warbler in Washington County. Loon 49(4):242-243. 
Gleason, H. A., and A. Cronquist. 1963. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern 

United States and adjacent Canada. Van Nostrand Co., Princeton, N.J. 810 pp. 
Goddard, S. V. 1972. Comparison of breeding bird populations of the lower Kinnickin- 

nic River Valley. Passenger Pigeon 34(3):91-95. 
Goddard, S. V. 1975. Spring waterfowl utilization of western Wisconsin wetlands. 

Passenger Pigeon 37(l):32-44. 
Goddard, S. V. 1976. A Baird's sparrow in Burnett County. Passenger Pigeon 

38(1):52. 
Green, J. C. 1963. Hawk owl invasion, winter 1962-63. Flicker 35(3):77-78. 
Green, J. C. 1967. Gray jay invasion, fall 1965. Loon 39(l):22-23. 
Green, J. C. 1969. Northern Owl invasion, winter 1968-69. Loon 41(2):36-39. 
Green, J. C. 1979. The summer season (June 1— July 31, 1978). Loon 51(l):28-44. 
Green, J. C, and J. A. Baumhoffer. 1972. The 1972 summer season. Loon 

44(4):105-111. 
Green, J. C, and R. B. Janssen. 1975. Minnesota birds. University of Minnesota 

Press, Minneapolis. 217 pp. 
Gromme, O. J. 1941. Several interesting breeding records secured. Passenger Pigeon 

3(8):71-72. 
Hamerstrom, F., and F. Hamerstrom. 1963. Range of the red-bellied woodpecker in 

Wisconsin. Passenger Pigeon 25(4):131-136. 
Henderson, C. L. 1978. Results of an observation card survey for sandhill cranes in 

Minnesota for 1977. Loon 50(2):112-118. 
Herz, J. D. 1954. Minnesota nesting season— 1953. Flicker 26(2):66-73. 
Hilsenhoff, W. L. 1966. Winter season. Passenger Pigeon 28(4):154-163. 
Hofslund, P. B. 1952. Winter wrens nesting at Solon Springs, Wisconsin. Passenger 

Pigeon 14(2):82. 
Hofslund, P. B., and G. J. Niemi. 1977. Mississippi kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) 

sighted at Crex Meadows. Passenger Pigeon 39(1):204. 
Honetschlager, D. 1963. Cinnamon teal seen near Stillwater. Flicker 35(2):66. 
Honetschlager, D. 1974. Gyrfalcon sighting. Loon 46(2):89-90. 
Honetschlager, D. A. 1965. Black-backed three-toed woodpecker in Washington 

County. Loon 37(1):49. 
Huber, R. L. 1962. The spring season. Flicker 34(2):50-58. 
Huber, R. L. 1965. Catbird in late December. Loon 37(1 ):48. 
Huber, R. L. 1967. The summer season. Loon 39(4):122-131. 
Huber, R. L. 1974a. More black-headed grosbeak records. Loon 46(3):1 17. 
Huber, R. L. 19746. Black-backed three-toed woodpecker in Washington County. 

Loon46(3):127. 
Hubert, B. 1945. Prothonotary warblers. Flicker 17(4):91. 
Hunt, R., and L. Jahn. 1958. A cinnamon teal on Crex Meadows. Passenger Pigeon 

20(4):179-180. 
Jackson, H. H. T. 1941. The summer birds of northwestern Wisconsin. Passenger 

Pigeon 3:87-90, 95-98, 103-106. 
Jackson, H. H. T. 1942. The summer birds of northwestern Wisconsin. Passenger 

Pigeon 4:9-12, 37-39, 91-95. 
Jackson, H. H. T. 1943. The summer birds of northwestern Wisconsin. Passenger 

Pigeon 5:24-35. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 183 



Jackson, N. A. 1970. Nesting red crossbills, Washington Co. Loon 42(4):144. 

Jehl, J. R., Jr. 1968, Relationships in the Charadrii, a taxonomic study based on color 
patterns of downy young. San Diego Soc. Nat. Hist. Mem. No. 3. 54 pp. 

Johnson, J. 1976. Distribution of sandhill crane in Minnesota. Proc. Int. Crane Work- 
shop 1:59-68. 

Kemper, C. A. 1961. Autumn season. Passenger Pigeon 23(2):66-74. 

Kemper, C. A. 1965. Autumn season. Passenger Pigeon 27(3):120-127. 

Kemper, C. A. 1973. Birds of Chippewa, Eau Claire, and neighboring counties. Pas- 
senger Pigeon 35(2):55-91, 35(3):107-129. 

King, F. H. 1949. The American egret in Wisconsin. Passenger Pigeon 11(1):3-17. 

Knudson, G. J. 1978. Letter to the editor. Passenger Pigeon 40(4):519. 

Kratz, T. K., and G. L. Jensen. 1977. An ecological geographic division of Minnesota. 
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul. 24 pp. (mimeo) 

Kumlien, L., and N. Hollister. 1951. The birds of Wisconsin. Wisconsin Society for 
Ornithology, Madison. 122 pp. 

Larson, N. 1970. Crossbills and siskins in Chisago County. Loon 42(4):144. 

Les, B. L. 1979. The vanishing wild. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 
Madison. 35 pp. 

Lesher, F. 1976. The autumn season. Passenger Pigeon 38(3):1 12-125. 

Lien, B., and H. Lien, compilers. 1977. Afton, Minnesota. Am. Birds 31(4):703. 

Lindholm, G. F., J. O. Helgesen, W. L. Broussard, and D. F. Farrell. 1974. Water re- 
sources of the lower St. Croix River watershed, east-central Minnesota. U. S. Geol. 
Surv., Hydrologic Invest. Atlas HA-490. 

Link, M. 1977. A natural and social history of Pine and Chisago Counties. North- 
woods Audubon Center, Sandstone. 36 pp. 

Litkey, B. 1969. Groove-billed ani record for Washington County. Loon 41(2):54. 

Longiey, W. H. 1947. Sabine's gull in Minnesota. Auk 64(11:146-147. 

Longley, W. H. 1949. Common loons breeding near Saint Paul. Flicker 21(3):89. 

Longiey, W. H. 1967. A varied thrush in Chisago County. Loon 39(2):68-69. 

Longley, W. H. 1973a. A Townsend's solitaire in Chisago County. Loon 45(2):66. 

Longlev, W. H. 19736. The Louisiana waterthrush still nests in Chisago County. Loon 
45(3):95. 

Lound, M. and R. Lound. 1956a. Spring season. Passenger Pigeon 18(31:124-140. 

Lound, M., and R. Lound. 19566. Summer season. Passenger Pigeon 18(41:175-184. 

Lound, M., and R. Lound. 1957a. The 1956 Christmas Bird Count. Passenger Pigeon 
19(l):16-24. 

Lound, M., and R. Lound. 19576. The winter season. Passenger Pigeon 19(2):84-93. 

Lound, M., and R. Lound. 1957c. Spring season. Passenger Pigeon 19(3):125- 141. 

Lound, M., and R. Lound. 1957<i. Summer season. Passenger Pigeon 19(4):174-181. 

Lound, M., and R. Lound. 1958a. Autumn season. Passenger Pigeon 20(11:29-45. 

Lound, M., and R. Lound. 19586. Winter season. Passenger Pigeon 20(2):80-89. 

Ludwig, F. 1974. Minnesota's third gray-crowned rosy finch. Loon 46(2):82. 

Lupient, M. 1945. Minnesota nesting records, 1945. Flicker 17(4):82-88. 

Lupient, M. 1952. Seasonal report. Flicker 24(4):1 19- 121. 

MacBriar, W. N., Jr. 1958. Spring season. Passenger Pigeon 20(3):121-136. 

Marschner, F. J. 1930. Presettlement vegetation types in Minnesota (map). U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 

Martin, L. 1932. The physical geography of Wisconsin. Wis. Geol. Nat. Hist. Surv. 
Bull. 36. 

Maurer, E. D. 1969. Worm-eating warbler seen. Loon 41(3):89-90. 

Maurer, R. 1970. Gnatcatchers in Washington County. Loon 42(4): 145. 

McCabe, R. A., and A. S. Hawkins. 1946. The Hungarian partridge in Wisconsin. Am. 
Midi. Nat. 36(11:1-75. 

Mettler, B. J. 1977. Factors contributing to the increase of the gray partridge in 
Minnesota. Loon 49(4):205-210. 

Mierow, D. 1949. Minnesota nesting records, 1949. Flicker 21(4): 101-1 14. 

Moe, J. L. 1968. Winter distribution of red-headed woodpeckers in Wisconsin. Pas- 
senger Pigeon 30(2):72-74. 

Monroe, B. L., Jr. 1978. Summary of highest counts of individuals in Canada and the 
U.S. Am. Birds 32(4):924-930. * 



184 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



Moyle, J. B. 1980. The uncommon ones: Minnesota's rare and endangered species. 
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul. 20 pp. 

Olvphant, J. C. 1972. A Carolina wren's visit to Washington County. Loon 
44(3):89-90. 

Olvphant, J. C. 1973. Brewster's warbler banded in Washington Countv. Loon 
45(31:99-100. 

Olvphant, M. 1962. Hooded warbler banded in Washington County. Flicker 34(4):130. 

Partch, M. 1970. Prairie chicken exodus: notes on the prairie chicken in central Minne- 
sota. Loon 42(1):5-19. 

Peterson, A. J. 1951. The red-bellied woodpecker in Wisconsin. Passenger Pigeon 
13(l):51-54. 

Peterson, L. R. 1978. Evaluation of waterfowl production units in Wisconsin. Wis- 
consin Dep. Nat. Resour., Job Prog. Rep. W-141-R-13. 31 pp. 

Robbins, C. S., and W. T. Van Velzen. 1967. The breeding bird survey. 1966. U.S. Fish 
Wildl. Serv., Spec. Sci. Rep.-Wildl. 102. 

Robbins, S. D. 1948a. The autumn season. Passenger Pigeon 10(11:33-39. 

Robbins, S. D. 19486. The winter season. Passenger Pigeon 10(2):79-84. 

Robbins, S. D. 1948c. The spring season. Passenger Pigeon 10(3):116-123. 

Robbins, S. D. 1949. The fall and early winter season. Passenger Pigeon 11(2):80-91. 

Robbins, S. D. 1950a. The early spring season. Passenger Pigeon 12(3):136-143. 

Robbins, S. D. 19506. The late spring and summer season. Passenger Pigeon 
12(4):171-183. 

Robbins, S. D. 1961. Shorebirds in St. Croix County. Passenger Pigeon 23(2):63-64. 

Robbins, S. D. 1963. The 1962 summer bird count. Passenger Pigeon 25(3):91-102. 

Robbins, S. D. 1968. Shorebirds deluxe. Passenger Pigeon 30(l):31-32. 

Robbins, S. D. 1969a. Eared grebe nests in Wisconsin. Passenger Pigeon 31(2):252. 

Robbins, S. D. 19696. New light on the LeConte's sparrow. Passenger Pigeon 
31(3):267-274. 

Robbins, S. D. 1973. New light on the Cape May warbler. Passenger Pigeon 
35(41:159-161. 

Robbins, S. D. 1974a. New light on the Connecticut warbler. Passenger Pigeon 
36(3):110-115. 

Robbins, S. D. 19746. The willow and alder flycatchers in Wisconsin: a preliminary de- 
scription of summer range. Passenger Pigeon 36(4): 147- 152. 

Robbins, S. D. 1977. The breeding bird survey in Wisconsin, 1966-1975. Passenger 
Pigeon 39(2):225-247. 

Roberts, H., and N. Roberts. 1972. Summer season. Passenger Pigeon 34(2):74-81. 

Roberts, T. S. 1932. The birds of Minnesota. University of Minnesota Press, Minneap- 
olis. 2 vols. 

Roberts, T. S. 1938. Logbook of Minnesota birdlife, 1917-1937. University of Minne- 
sota Press, Minneapolis. 355 pp. 

Russell, R. P., Jr. 1969. The summer season. Loon 41(21:105-1 19. 

Russell, R. P., Jr. 1970. The summer season. Loon 42(21:129-135. 

Savaloja, T. 1974. The spring season-March 1 to May 31, 1974. Loon 46(41:143-160. 

Savaloja.T. 1977. The spring season-March 1 to May 31, 1977. Loon 49:211-227. 

Schorger, A. W. 1943. The prairie chicken and sharp-tailed grouse in early Wisconsin. 
Trans. Wis. Acad. Sci. Arts Lett. 35:1-59. 

Schorger, A. W. 1954. The white pelican in early Wisconsin. Passenger Pigeon 
16(41:136-140. 

Schorger, A. W. 1955. The passenger pigeon: its natural history and extinction. Uni- 
versity of Wisconsin Press. Madison. 424 pp. 

Scott, W. E. 1943a. Townsend's solitaire reported at Hudson. Wisconsin. Passenger 
Pigeon 4(1 ):3. 

Scott, W. E. 1943/). The Canada spruce grouse in Wisconsin. Passenger Pigeon 
5(3):61-72. 

Shaw, S. P., and C. G. Fredine. 1956. Wetlands of the United States: their extent and 
their value to waterfowl and other wildlife. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv., Circ. 39. 67 pp. 

Simmons, O. T. 1949. Another varied thrush visits Wisconsin. Passenger Pigeon 
11(41:131-132. 

Sindelar, C. 1971. Wisconsin osprey survey. Passenger Pigeon 33(21:79-88. 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 185 



Soulen, T. K. 1965. Spring season. Passenger Pigeon 27(l):24-47. 

Southern, W. E. 1962. New breeding locality for LeConte's sparrow. Passenger 
Pigeon 22(1 ):28-29. 

Sparkes, V. 1953. Minnesota nesting season— 1952. Flicker 25(l):10-23. 

Stewart, R. E. 1975. Breeding birds of North Dakota. Tri-College Center for Environ- 
mental Studies, Fargo, N.D. 295 pp. 

Stone, N. R. 1957. A Baird's sparrow at Crex Meadows. Passenger Pigeon 
19(3):124-125. 

Stone, N. R. 1959a. Snowy egret at Crex Meadows. Passenger Pigeon 21(4):147. 

Stone, N. R. 19596. Three ivory gulls at Crex Meadows. Passenger Pigeon 21(4):149. 

Stone, N. R. 1967. Another straggler from the west. Passenger Pigeon 29(l):32-33. 

Strelitzer, C. L. 1952. The spring season. Passenger Pigeon 14(4):113-121. 

Surber, T. 1919. The Pine County game refuge as a playground. Fins, Feathers and 
Fur 18:1-4. 

Tessen, D. D. 1969. The autumn season. Passenger Pigeon 31(4):285-301. 

Tessen, D. D. 1977. Western Great Lakes Region. Am. Birds 31(5):1 142-1 146. 

Tessen, D. D. 1978. Yellow rails and sharp-tailed sparrows at Crex Meadows. Pas- 
senger Pigeon 40(l):385-386. 

Tessen, D. D. 1979a. Parasitic jaeger. Passenger Pigeon 41(l):47-48. 

Tessen, D. D. 19796. Western Great Lakes Region. Am. Birds 33(5):864-866. 

Thiel, R. P. 1978. The distribution of the three-toed woodpeckers in Wisconsin. Pas- 
senger Pigeon 40(4):477-488. 

Turner, R. E. 1979. White pelicans migrating up the St. Croix River. Loon 51(3):101. 

Warner, D. W. 1951. The nesting season-1950. Flicker 23(l):l-8. 

Waters, T. F. 1977. The streams and rivers of Minnesota. University of Minnesota 
Press, Minneapolis. 373 pp. 

Willard, J. L. 1971. Possible summer mockingbird in Washington County. Loon 
43(1):24. 

Williams, R. J. 1957. The great blue heron colonies of Wisconsin. Passenger Pigeon 
19(2):51-66. 

Winkler, H. A. 1959. Winter season. Passenger Pigeon 21(3):121-128. 

Wojahn, B. 1977. White-eyed vireo confirmed for Minnesota. Loon 49(3):174. 

Young, H. 1961. The downv and hairv woodpeckers in Wisconsin. Passenger Pigeon 
23(l):3-6. 

Young, H. 1965. White-breasted and red-breasted nuthatches. Passenger Pigeon 
27(1):16-19. 

Young, H. 1967. The tufted titmouse. Passenger Pigeon 29(21:46-49. 

Young, H., B. Stollberg, and M. Deusing. 1941. The spread of the cardinal through 
Wisconsin. Passenger Pigeon 3(1): 1-4. 

Young, H. L., and S. M. Hindall. 1973. Water resources of Wisconsin St. Croix River 
Basin. U.S. Geol. Surv. Hydrologic Invest. Atlas HA-451. 



186 



NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



Appendix A 

Common and Scientific Names of Plants Mentioned in 

Text 



Species 

Alfalfa 

American elm 

Arrowhead 

Awned sedge 

Awnless bromegrass 

Balsam fir 

Barley 

Basswood 

Beaked hazel 

Bearberry 

Big bluestem 

Big-leaf aster 

Bindweed 

Bishop's cap 

Black ash 

Black cherry 

Black raspberry 

Black spruce 

Black willow 

Bladderwort 

Bloodroot 

Blue bead lily 

Blue cohosh 

Blue vervain 

Blueberry 

Bluejoint grass 

Bog birch 

Bog laurel 

Bog rosemary 

Bottle-brush grass 

Box-elder 

Bracken fern 

Bristly sedge 

Brome grass 

Brown sedge 

Buckbean 

Bunchberry 

Bur oak 

Burreed 

Canada bluegrass 

Canada mayflower 



Scientific name 

Medicago sativa 
Ulmus americana 
Sagittaria la ti folia 
Carex atherodes 
Bromus brizaeformis 
Abies balsamea 
Hordeum vulgare 
Tilia americana 
Corylus cornuta 
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 
Andropogon gerardi 
Aster macrophyllus 
Convolvulus sepium 
Mitella diphylla 
Fraxinus nigra 
Prunus serotina 
Rubus occidentalis 
Picea mariana 
Salix nigra 
Utricularia vulgaris 
Sanguinaria canadensis 
Clintonia borealis 
Caulophyllum thalictroides 
Verbena hasta 
Vaccinium angustifolium 
Calamogrostis canadensis 
Betula glandulosa 
Kalmia polifolia 
Andromeda glaucophylla 
Hystrix patula 
Acer negundo 
Pteridium aquilinum 
Carex comosa 
Bromus spp. 
Carex buxbaumii 
Menyanthes trifoliata 
Cornus canadensis 
Quercus macrocarpa 
Sparganium eurycarpum 
Poa compressa 
Maianthemum canadense 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 



187 



Species 



Cane reed 

Cattail 

Choke cherry 

Common elder 

Common milkweed 

Coontail 

Corn 

Cottongrass 

Cottonwood 

Creeping snowberry 

Crested sedge 

Daisy fleabane 

Dark-green bulrush 

Dogbane 

Downy yellow violet 

Dwarf ginseng 

Elodea 

Evening primrose 

False Solomon's seal 

Field mint 

Flowering crab apple 

Flowering spurge 

Fox sedge 

Foxtail sedge 

Germander 

Goat's beard 

Goosegrass 

Gray dogwood 

Great water dock 

Green ash 

Ground pine 

Hardstem bulrush 

Hawthorn 

Hazelnut 

Hedge nettle 

Hemlock 

Hill's oak 

Hoary alyssum 

Indian pipe 

Inland sedge 

Intermediate wheatgrass 

Iris 

Ironwood 

Jack-in-the-pulpit 

Jack pine 

Jacob's ladder 

Jewelweed 



Scientific Name 

Phragmites communis 
Typha la ti folia 
Prunus virginiana 
Sambucus canadensis 
Aesclepias syriaca 
Ceratophyllum demersum 
Zea mays 

Eriophorum angustifolium 
Populus deltoides 
Gaultheria hispidula 
Carex cristatella 
Erigeron strigosus 
Scirpus atrovirens 
Apocynum androsaemifolium 
Viola pubescens 
Panax tri folium 
Anacharis nuttallii 
Oenothera biennis 
Smilacina stellata 
Mentha arvensis 
Pyrus spp. 
Euphorbia corollata 
Carex vulpinoidea 
Carex alopecoidea 
Teucrium canadense 
Tragopogon pra tensis 
Galium aparine 
Cornus racemosa 
Rumex altissimus 
Fraxinus pennsylvanica 
Lycopodium clavatum 
Scirpus acutus 
Crate gus spp. 
Corylus americana 
Stachys tenuifolia 
Tsuga canadensis 
Quercus hillii 
Berteroa incana 
Monotropa uni flora 
Carex interior 
Agropyron intermedium 
Iris versicolor 
Ostrya virginiana 
Arisaema atrorubens 
Pinus banksiana 
Polemonium repens 
Impatiens bi flora 



188 



NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



Species 



Kentucky bluegrass 

Labrador tea 

Large-flowered trillium 

Large-toothed aspen 

Leatherleaf 

Little bluestem 

Manna grass 

Marsh bellflower 

Marsh cinquefoil 

Marsh milkweed 

Marsh shield fern 

Meadowsweet 

Moth mullein 

Mountain ash 

Mountain holly 

New Jersey tea 

Noble goldenrod 

Northern bedstraw 

Oats 

Partridge berry 

Pearly everlasting 

Pennsylvania sedge 

Pickerelweed 

Pitcher plant 

Poison ivy 

Prickly ash 

Purple-stem aster 

Quack grass 

Ragweed 

Rattlesnake fern 

Rattlesnake grass 

Red clover 

Red maple 

Red oak (Northern) 

Red-osier dogwood 

Red pine 

Reed canary grass 

Rice grass 

River bulrush 

Round-leaf sundew 

Scotch pine 

Sharp-toothed goldenrod 

Sheep sorrel 

Silver maple 

Silver willow 

Skunk cabbage 

Slender sedge 



Scientific name 

Poa pratensis 
Ledum groenlandicum 
Trillium grandiflorum 
Populus grandidentata 
Chamaedaphne calyculata 
Andropogon scoparius 
Glyceria canadensis 
Campanula aparinoides 
Po ten tilla palustris 
Asclepias syriaca 
Dryopteris thelypteris 
Spirea alba 
Verbascum blattaria 
Sorbus americana 
Nemopanthus mucronata 
Ceanothus ovatus 
Salidago speciosa 
Galium boreale 
Avena sativa 
Mitchella repens 
Anaphalis margaritacea 
Carex pennsylvanica 
Pontederia cordata 
Sarracenia purpurea 
Toxicodendron radicans 
Xanthoxylum americanum 
Aster puniceus 
Agropyron repens 
Ambrosia spp. 
Botrychium virginianum 
Glyceria canadensis 
Trifolium pratense 
Acer rubrum 
Quercus borealis 
Cornus stolonifera 
Pinus resinosa 
Phalaris arundinacea 
Oryzopsis asperifolia 
Scirpus fluviatilis 
Drosera rotundifolia 
Pinus banksiana 
Solidago juncea 
Rumex acetosella 
Acer saccharinum 
Salix discolor 
Symplocarpus foetidus 
Carex lasiocarpa 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 



189 



Species 



Scientific Name 



Small bedstraw 

Softstem bulrush 

Solomon's seal 

Soybean 

Speckled alder 

Sphagnum moss 

Spikerush 

Spotted joe-pye weed 

Staghorn sumac 

Starflower 

Sugar maple 

Sweet cicely ( Jarvil) 

Sweet fern 

Switchgrass 

Tall manna grass 

Tamarack 

Tartarian honeysuckle 

Tick trefoil 

Timothy 

Toothwort 

Trembling aspen 

Turtlehead 

Tussock sedge 

Twisted stalk (Rose mandarin) 

Virginia strawberry 

Virginia waterleaf 

Water horehound 

Water milfoil 

Water plaintain 

Water sedge 

Wheat 

White ash 

White birch 

White cedar 

White oak 

White pine 

White spruce 

White waterlily 

Whorled loosestrife 

Wild cranberry 

Wild cranesbill 

Wild leek 

Wild lettuce 

Wild rice 

Wild sarsaparilla 

Wintergreen 



Galium trifidum 
Scirpus validus 
Polygonatum biflorum 
Glycine max 
Alnus rugosa 
Sphagnum spp. 
Eleocharis spp. 
Eupatorium maculatum 
Rhus typhina 
Trientalis borealis 
Acer saccharum 
Osmorhiza claytoni 
Comptonia peregrina 
Panicum virgatum 
Glyceria grandis 
Larix laricinia 
Lonicera tartarica 
Desmodium glutinosum 
Phleum pratensis 
Dentaria laciniata 
Populus tremuloides 
Chelone glabra 
Car ex stricta 
Streptopus roseus 
Fragaria virginiana 
Hydrophyllum virginicum 
Lycopus virginicus 
Myriophyllum spp. 
Alisma plantago-aquatica 
Carex aquatilis 
Triticum aestivuum 
Fraxinus americana 
Be tula papyrifera 
Chamaecyparis thyoides 
Quercus alba 
Pinus strobus 
Picea glauca 
Nymphaea tuberosa 
Lysimachia quadrifolia 
Vaccinium macrocarpon 
Geranium maculatum 
Allium tricoccum 
Lactuca canadensis 
Zizania aquatica 
Aralia nudicaulis 
Gaultheria procumbens 



190 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



Species Scientific Name 



Wood anemone Anemone quinquefolia 

Wood nettle Laportea canadensis 

Yarrow Achillea millefolium 

Yellow birch Betula alleghaniensis 

Yellow water lily Nuphar variegatum 

Yellowish sedge Carex abacta 

Bird Species Index 

Ani, Groove-billed, 84-85 
Avocet. American, 23, 69 
Bittern, American, 15, 16, 17, 18, 33-34 

Least, 32-33 
Blackbird, Brewer's, 151, 155-156 

Red-winged, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 151, 153-154 

Rusty, 155 

Yellow-headed, 15, 151, 153 
Bluebird, Eastern, 12, 18, 23, 108, 122-123 
Bobolink, 17, 18, 150-151 
Bobwhite, 23, 64 
Brant, 35 
Bufflehead, 47-48 
Bunting, Indigo, 11, 12, 14, 18, 159, 160 

Snow, 180 
Canvasback, 45 
Cardinal, 18,93,158, 159 
Catbird, Gray, 12, 16, 18, 108, 117-118 
Chat, Yellow-breasted, 148 
Chickadee, Black-capped, 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 93, 108, 110-111 

Boreal, 1 1 1 
Coot, American, 15, 68 
Cormorant, Double-crested, 23, 28-29 

Cowbird, Brown-headed, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 151, 156-157 
Crane, Sandhill, 16, 65-66 
Creeper, Brown, 113-114 
Crossbill, Red, 167 

White-winged, 167-168 
Crow, Common, 11, 14, 93, 108, 110 
Cuckoo, Black-billed, 10, 84 

Yellow-billed, 10, 84 
Curlew, Long-billed, 71 
Dickcissel, 17, 18, 23, 159, 160-161 
Dove, Mourning, 14, 18, 83 

Rock, 18,21,83 
Dowitcher, Long-billed, 76 

Short-billed, 75-76 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 191 



Duck, Black, 15, 23, 37-38, 49 

Ring-necked, 15, 44-45 

Ruddy, 15, 49-50 

Wood, 10, 15, 42-43 
Dunlin, 78 
Eagle, Bald, 23, 58-59 

Golden, 58 
Egret, Cattle, 31 

Great, 23, 31-32 

Snowy, 23, 32 
Eider, Common, 48 
Falcon, Peregrine, 23, 60-61 
Finch, Gray-crowned Rosy, 163 

Purple, 12, 13, 93, 159, 162-163 
Flicker, Common, 10, 11, 14, 23, 91-93 
Flycatcher, Acadian, 100 

Alder, 9, 12, 16, 92, 101-102 

Great Crested, 10, 11, 92, 98-99 

Least, 10, 92,102 

Olive-sided, 13, 103 

Willow, 9, 16, 92, 100-101 

Yellow-bellied, 13, 92, 100 
Gadwall, 15, 38-39 
Gallinule, Common, 68 
Gnatcatcher, Blue-gray, 10, 123-124 
Godwit, Hudsonian, 70-71 

Marbled, 23, 71 
Goldeneye, Barrow's, 47 

Common, 47 
Goldfinch, American, 12, 13, 18, 93, 159, 166-167 
Goose, Canada, 15, 34-35 

Snow, 36 

White-fronted, 35-36 
Goshawk, Northern, 53 
Grackle, Common, 14, 151, 156 
Grebe, Eared, 26-27 

Horned, 26 

Pied-billed, 15, 27-28 

Red-necked, 25-26 

Western, 27 
Grosbeak, Black-headed, 160 

Evening, 93, 161-162 

Pine, 93, 163 

Rose-breasted, 10, 11, 12, 18, 158-159 
Grouse, Ruffed, 10, 11, 12, 62-63 

Sharp-tailed, 23, 64 

Spruce, 23, 62 
Gull, Bonaparte's, 80-81 

Franklin's, 80 



192 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



Herring, 79 

Ivory, 81 

Ring-billed, 80 

Sabine's, 81 
Gyrfalcon, 60 
Hawk, Broad-winged, 10, 56 

Cooper's, 11,23,54 

Ferruginous, 57-58 

Marsh, 16, 17, 18, 23, 59 

Red-shouldered, 10, 23, 55-56 

Red-tailed, 11,54-55 

Rough-legged, 57 

Sharp-shinned, 12, 53-54 

Swainson's, 56-57 
Heron, Black-crowned Night, 23, 32 

Great Blue, 10, 15, 23, 29-30 

Green, 15, 30 

Little Blue, 30-31 

Louisiana, 32 

Yellow-crowned Night, 23, 32 
Hummingbird, Ruby-throated, 12, 90-91 

Rufous, 91 
Jaeger, Parasitic, 79 
Jay, Blue, 10, 11, 12, 14, 18, 92, 107-109 

Gray, 107 
Junco, Dark-eyed, 12, 93, 159, 173 
Kestrel, American, 18, 61-62 
Killdeer, 17, 69-70 
Kingbird, Eastern, 12, 18, 92, 97-98 

Western, 98 
Kingfisher, Belted, 15, 91 
Kinglet, Golden-crowned, 124 

Ruby-crowned, 124-125 
Kite, Mississippi, 52 

Swallow-tailed, 52 
Knot, Red, 76 
Lark, Horned, 17, 103-104 
Longspur, Chesnut-collared, 180 

Lapland, 179-180 
Loon, Common, 15, 23, 24-25 

Red-throated, 25 
Magpie, Black-billed, 109 
Mallard, 15, 16, 17, 18, 36-37, 38, 49 
Martin, Purple, 18, 92, 106-107 
Meadowlark, Eastern, 18, 151, 152 

Western, 17, 18, 151, 152 
Merganser, Common, 50-51 
Hooded, 15, 50 
Red-breasted, 23, 51-52 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 193 



Merlin, 23, 61 

Mockingbird, 117 

Nighthawk, Common, 18, 89-90 

Nuthatch, Red- breasted, 12, 13, 93, 108, 113 

White-breasted, 10, 11, 18, 93, 108, 112-113 
Oldsquaw, 48 
Oriole, Northern, 10, 11, 14, 18, 151, 154-155 

Orchard, 154 
Osprey, 23, 59-60 

Ovenbird, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 130, 144 
Owl, Barred, 10, 87 

Boreal, 88 

Great Gray, 23, 87-88 

Great Horned, 10, 11,85 

Hawk, 88 

Long-eared, 85-86 

Saw-whet, 88-89 

Screech, 10, 18, 85 

Short-eared, 23, 86 

Snowy, 86-87 
Partridge, Gray, 17,65 
Parula, Northern, 13, 136-137 
Pelican, White, 23, 28 

Pewee, Eastern Wood, 10, 11, 12, 92, 102-103 
Phalarope, Northern, 74 

Wilson's, 74 
Pheasant, Ring-necked, 16, 18, 64-65 
Phoebe, Eastern, 15, 99-100 
Pigeon, Passenger, 83-84 
Pintail, 15, 17, 18, 39 
Pipit, Water, 125 
Plover, American Golden, 70 

Black-bellied, 70 

Piping, 23, 69 

Semipalmated, 69 
Prairie Chicken, Greater, 8, 23, 63 
Rail, King, 23, 66-67 

Virginia, 15, 66 

Yellow, 23, 67-68 
Raven, Common, 10, 12, 93, 108, 109 
Redhead, 43-44 
Redpoll, Common, 93, 164-165 

Hoary, 163-164 
Redstart, American, 10, 11, 130, 149-150 
Robin, American, 10, 11, 14, 15, 18, 108, 118-119 
Sanderling, 76 
Sandpiper, Baird's, 78 

Buff-breasted, 79 

Least, 77 



!94 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 



Pectoral, 78 
Semipalmated, 76-77 
Solitary, 72-73 
Spotted, 15, 73 
Stilt, 78-79 
Upland, 23, 71-72 
Western, 77 
White-rumped, 77-78 
Sapsucker, Yellow-bellied, 10, 92, 95-96 
Scaup, Greater, 45-46 

Lesser, 46-47 
Scoter, Black, 49 
Surf, 49 

White-winged, 48-49 
Shoveler, Northern, 42 
Shrike, Loggerhead, 23, 127 

Northern, 126-127 
Siskin, Pine, 12, 13, 93, 159, 165-166 
Snipe, Common, 16, 75 
Solitaire, Townsend's, 123 
Sora, 15, 16, 67 
Sparrow, Baird's, 23, 169-170 
Chipping, 12, 13, 14, 159, 174 
Clay-colored, 14, 18, 159, 174-175 
Field, 11, 14, 18, 23, 159, 175-176 
Fox, 177 

Grasshopper, 17, 18, 23, 159, 169 
Harris', 176 

Henslow's, 17, 18, 159, 170-171 
House, 18, 22, 150 
Lark, 172 

LeConte's, 16, 17, 170 
Lincoln's, 159, 178 
Savannah, 17, 18, 159, 168-169 
Sharp-tailed, 23, 171 
Song, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 159, 179 
Swamp, 13, 15, 16, 17, 159, 178-179 
Tree, 93, 173-174 

Vesper, 11, 17, 18, 23, 159, 171-172 
White-crowned, 176 
White-throated, 10, 12, 13, 159, 176-177 
Starling, 18, 21,128 
SwaUow, Bank, 92, 105 
Barn, 92, 106 
Cliff, 15, 92, 106 
Rough-winged, 15, 92, 105-106 
Tree, 15, 16, 92, 104-105 
Swan, Whistling, 34 
Swift, Chimney, 18, 90 



BIRDS OF THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY 195 



Tanager, Scarlet, 10, 11, 157 

Summer, 158 
Teal, Blue-winged, 15, 16, 17, 18, 40-41 

Cinnamon, 41 

Green-winged, 15, 39-40 
Tern, Black, 15, 23, 82-83 

Caspian, 23, 82 

Common, 23, 81 

Forster's, 23, 82 

Least, 81 
Thrasher, Brown, 11, 12, 14, 18, 108, 118 
Thrush, Gray-cheeked, 121 

Hermit, 12, 13, 14, 108, 120 

Swainson's, 120-121 

Varied, 119 

Wood, 10, 108, 119-120 
Titmouse, Tufted, 10, 93, 111-112 
Towhee, Green-tailed, 168 

Rufous-sided, 11, 14, 18, 159, 168 
Turnstone, Ruddy, 73 
Veery, 10, 13, 16, 108, 121-122 
Vireo, Bell's, 128-129 

Philadelphia, 131 

Red-eyed, 10, 130-131 

Solitary, 10, 13, 129-130 

Warbling, 10, 130, 131-132 

White-eyed, 128 

Yellow-throated, 10, 11, 129, 130 
Vulture, Turkey, 52 
Warbler, Bay-breasted, 142-143 

Black-and-white, 10, 12, 13, 130, 132-133 

Blackburnian, 12, 130, 141 

Blackpoll, 143 

Black-throated Blue, 138-139 

Black-throated Green, 130, 140 

Blue-winged, 10, 130, 134-135 

Brewster's, 134 

Canada, 12, 130, 149 

Cape May, 130,138 

Cerulean, 10, 140-141 

Chestnut-sided, 10, 130, 141-142 

Connecticut, 14, 130, 146-147 

Golden-winged, 12, 17, 18, 130, 133-134 

Hooded, 148 

Kentucky, 146 

Magnolia, 13, 130, 137-138 

Mourning, 12, 130, 147 

Nashville, 13, 14, 130, 136 

Orange-crowned, 135-136 



196 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA 73 

Palm, 143-144 

Pine, 12, 130, 143 

Prothonotary, 133 

Tennessee, 135 

Wilson's, 149 

Worm-eating, 133 

Yellow, 10, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 130, 137 

Yellow-rumped, 12, 13, 14, 130, 139-140 
Waterthrush, Louisiana, 11, 145-146 

Northern, 13, 17, 144-145 
Waxwing, Bohemian, 125-126 

Cedar, 126 
Whimbrel, 71 
Whip-poor-will, 11,89 
Wigeon, American, 41-42 
Willet, 73 

Woodcock, American, 74-75 
Woodpecker, Black-backed Three-toed, 23, 93, 97 

Downy, 10, 18, 92, 93, 96 

Hairy, 10, 11,12, 92, 93, 96 

Northern Three-toed, 97 

Pileated, 10, 12, 13,92-94 

Red-bellied, 10, 92, 93, 94 

Red-headed, 11,92, 93, 95 
Wren, Bewick's, 23, 115 

Carolina, 115-116 

House, 11, 12, 14, 18, 108, 114-115 

Long-billed Marsh, 15, 108, 116 

Short-billed Marsh, 16, 17, 18, 108, 116-117 

Winter, 13, 108, 115 
Yellowlegs, Greater, 72 

Lesser, 72 
Yellowthroat, Common, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 130, 147-148 



OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE LIBRARY 

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Birds of the St. Croix River /Faanes, Cr 



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