Birds of the Minneapolis River Gorge

Photo credit:

The indigo bunting has been seen in higher numbers since restoration began at the 36th St. Oak Savanna. Their nests occur in brushy areas or along woodland edges, and frequently occur in blackberry bushes below the canopy of large oaks. Photo credit:

For the past few decades, Dave Zumeta, Minnesota Forest Resources Council's former executive director, has been birding the Minneapolis River Gorge. Dave has provided FMR with an extensive list of species observations — complete with data about abundance and breeding status — to help us track the avian species using the river gorge habitat.

As of spring 2018, the list includes 180 species of birds, of which 56 are confirmed or likely breeding species. His data and anecdotal observations help us evaluate current River Gorge Stewards restoration projects and direct future projects to further improve river gorge bird habitat.

Dave has recorded roughly four times the number of indigo buntings (like the one pictured above) nesting at the 36th Street Oak Savanna since restoration began in 1999. We're excited to see both our professional and volunteer-powered restoration efforts making a difference in our local flyway!

• See the full bird list and the google map of the study area!

• Check out our 2020 article on Dave Zumeta and his surprising findings.

• Learn more about the River Gorge Stewards volunteer program, or email to receive 6-8 emails a year about upcoming river gorge volunteer habitat and educational events!