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Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas

Bell Museum

Authors: Jim Howitz
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Locality: East Bethel
Abstract:

Annotated list of bird species found at the U of M's Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve since 1942. This checklist was complied by volunteers at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, under the supervision of Dr. Caitlin Barale Potter, education and community engagement coordinator.  The checklist was originally complied and is kept updated by Jim Howitz and Caitlin Potter. Observations are submitted to staff and scientists at the reserve, as well as citizen scientists on the Red-headed Woodpecker Recovery Project. CCESR is located in northern Anoka County and southern Isanti County.


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Families: 49
Genera: 149
Species: 234
Total Taxa (details): 235
Acanthis flammea - Common Redpoll
Common Redpoll numbers at Cedar Creek probably vary more from year to year than those of any other species. In some winters, they are absent. In others, they are the most abundant winter bird at Cedar Creek. In some winters, they are reasonably common at Cedar Creek but rare in the Twin Cities. At Cedar Creek, redpolls feed on birch seeds and "weed" seeds that extend above the snow. Numbers commonly increase throughout the winter and then the birds disappear in late March and early April. The so-called "Hoary Redpoll" (Acanthis hornemanni) undoubtedly occurs at Cedar Creek, but may just be a color morph of the Common Redpoll (Auk 102:82-96, 1985).
Accipiter cooperi - Cooper's Hawk
Cooper's Hawks are the only members of the genus Accipiter known to breed at Cedar Creek. They have nested in oaks along the north-south road, west of Fish Lake, north of 24 and Bataan, and just off the area, east of Durant. The birds seem to do their hunting at a considerable distance from the nest, since color-banded chickadees and Blue Jays with nests near a Cooper's Hawk nest were not taken. Cooper's Hawks are common migrants at Cedar Creek but are rarely present in winter. They were seen by visitors to the Fish Lake Trails in July and August 2017.
Accipiter gentilis - Northern Goshawk
Goshawks are reasonably common in some winters and in others are rare or absent. They are probably more likely to occur in the coniferous portions of Cedar Creek. A Goshawk was seen June 15, 1984 near the Peterson farm, the only summer record. There is no positive breeding evidence at Cedar Creek.
Accipiter striatus - Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawks are common visitors to the area during migration, frequently harassing flocks of songbirds. Their hunting success at Cedar Creek is not good, as Howitz has seen Sharpshins dive on smaller birds at least three dozen times, succeeding only once. Sharpshins are uncommon in winter in the area, showing up most frequently near feeders at Cedar Creek and in the vicinity. There are no summer records to date. Jesse Beck saw a Sharpshin south of Fish Lake on September 22, 2017.
Actitis macularius - Spotted Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpipers have been seen along Cedar Creek, near Cedar Bog Lake on May 1, 1974, and near Fish Lake on May 19, 1974, August 3, 1974, May 29, 1988, and June 2 and 7, 1989. Records are spotty for the 1990s and early 2000s, but confirmed sightings near Fish Lake occurred on June 18, 2009 and September 7, 2015.
Aegolius acadicus - Northern Saw-whet Owl
Saw-whet Owls have been seen from time to time at Cedar Creek. They may be resident in the more northern portions, and in some years in the vicinity of the Peterson farm and near Lawrence's cabin.
Agelaius phoeniceus - Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbirds are abundant at Cedar Creek. They probably breed in all the cattail marshes and in many of the other marshy areas. The first males return to Cedar Creek before April 1. Vast flocks of redwings and grackles may roost in the marshes west of Fish Lake in October and early November.
Aix
Aix sponsa - Wood Duck
Wood Ducks are reasonably common on the small ponds at Cedar Creek during the breeding season. Their nesting success has usually not been very good, since from 1976-95, the only broods Howitz found were two in 1985, four in 1986, two in 1987, one in 1988, two in 1989, and one in 1990. The only other early records of broods are one in 1974 and one in 1984. In some years, Wood Ducks are abundant on ponds at Cedar Creek during the fall migration. Earl Bye saw one on Fish Lake in April 2018.
Ammodramus henslowii - Henslow's Sparrow
The only reports of Henslow
Ammodramus leconteii - Le Conte's Sparrow
Leconte
Ammodramus savannarum - Grasshopper Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrows are relatively common at Cedar Creek. They occur in the fields between Fish Lake and East Bethel Boulevard and in the fields south of 24 east of the lab.
Anas acuta - Northern Pintail
Pintails are rare to uncommon migrants at Cedar Creek.
Anas americana - American Wigeon
Wigeons are uncommon migrants at Cedar Creek.
Anas clypeata - Northern Shoveler
Shovelers are uncommon migrants at Cedar Creek. Alex Sundvall saw one on Fish Lake in August 2017.
Anas crecca - Green-winged Teal
Green-winged Teal are fairly common migrants at Cedar Creek on Cedar Bog and Fish Lakes. A pair was present in a swamp adjacent to the area, just south of 26 and east of East Bethel Boulevard, during the breeding season in 1986, but did not nest successfully. A pair of Green-winged Teal wintered on the open water at Martin Lake in 1994-95.
Anas discors - Blue-winged Teal
Blue-winged Teal are reasonably common on small ponds at Cedar Creek during the breeding season, though breeding evidence is meager. A female laid 7 eggs in a nest along the western edge of the Allison Savannah woods in 1986, but later abandoned it. Six were seen by visitors to Fish Lake in May 2012. They were also observed by Earl Bye on Fish Lake in April 2018.
Mallards nest near many of the ponds at Cedar Creek, and are the most common breeding waterfowl there. Nesting success is apparently very low, since few broods are seen relative to the number of adults. Two broods were east of the Peterson farm in 1986 and two broods were on Fish Lake in 1988 and 1989, and one in 1990. The only winter records are for birds on Cedar Creek north of the 26 bridge on December 16, 1989 and in the same spot in December 1993 and 1995.
Anas rubripes - American Black Duck
Black Ducks are uncommon migrants at Cedar Creek, but hybrids with Mallards are relatively common in the area.
Gadwalls are rare to uncommon migrants at Cedar Creek.
Anser albifrons - Greater White-fronted Goose
A White-fronted Goose was present in the Beckman Lake area from April to June 1982.
Snow Geese are uncommon migrants at Cedar Creek, seen flying over the area.
Anthus rubescens - American Pipit
The only Cedar Creek record for American Pipits is a flock of fifteen pipits October 14, 2000 in burn unit 102 foraging on the bare ground following a recent burn.
Aquila chrysaetos - Golden Eagle
The only early records of Golden Eagles at Cedar Creek are March 15, 1973, October 8, 1975, February 9, 1979, September 2, 1979, February 2, 1985, and March 30, 1986. A Golden Eagle has been seen along the south shore of Fish Lake in the spring of recent years. Volunteer Mark Erikson got a picture of a golden eagle feeding on a wolf-killed deer carcass in the North Unit in early February 2020.
Archilochus colubris - Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are reasonably common at Cedar Creek. They have nested on oak branches along and east of the north-south road and west of Fish Lake. All three of these nests were at least 100 m from the nearest flower. Jesse Beck observed them in May 2017 south and west of Fish Lake, and Alex Sundvall documented them on the Fish lake Nature Trail in August 2017.
Ardea alba - Great Egret
Great Egrets at Cedar Creek have been reported since the 1980s. They can be common on Fish Lake or Beckman Lake, especially in the late summer. Jake Olbrich observed one on April 29, 2015.
Ardea herodias - Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Herons do not breed at Cedar Creek but feed in the lakes and ponds there, and are reasonably common. A Great Blue Heron was in Cedar Creek near 56 on December 21, 1986, the only winter record. Visitors to Fish Lake in recent years normally see them between May and August.
Asio flammeus - Short-eared Owl
The only record of a Short-eared Owl is one Steve Maxson found dead in the tamarack swamp southwest of the 100-ft tower in January, 1971.
Asio otus - Long-eared Owl
Long-eared Owls may be rare vagrants or residents at Cedar Creek. They have been recorded on September 19 and 26 and November 4 and 5, 1977, Mark Fuller mistnetted one in the early 1970's, and one was mistnetted on April 8, 1979 near the 70 foot tower.
Aythya affinis - Lesser Scaup
Lesser Scaup are probably the most common duck at Cedar Creek during migration. Large numbers of them use Fish Lake as a stopover. They are readily viewed from the Fish Lake Nature Trail in spring.
Redheads are uncommon visitors to Fish Lake during migration. One was seen on Fish Lake in April 2015 by visitor Alan Selin.
Aythya collaris - Ring-necked Duck
Ring-necked Ducks are common on Fish Lake during migration. A pair or two is generally present on Fish Lake during the summer, and in 1984 a pair was on Beckman Lake during the summer. There is no positive breeding evidence. They were frequently seen in the spring of 2012 and 2015 by visitors to Fish Lake, as well as in September 2017.
Canvasbacks are uncommon on Fish Lake during migration.
Baeolophus bicolor - Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmice used the feeders at Corneia's cabin during the early years of Cedar Creek. There have been no records of titmice at Cedar Creek for more than forty years. Titmice apparently retreated from central Minnesota, as shown by their increasing rarity on Christmas counts. However, a titmouse spent the winter of 2016-2017 visiting feeders in a yard adjacent to Cedar Creek.
Bartramia longicauda - Upland Sandpiper
The only Cedar Creek record of an Upland Sandpiper was a bird Howitz saw standing in the middle of East Bethel Boulevard on June 21, 1982.
Bombycilla cedrorum - Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwings are common breeding birds at Cedar Creek. They commonly nest near the laboratory, in the oak savannas, Allison Savanna, and in residential areas adjacent to the CCESR. They have nested semicolonially in the coniferous windbreaks along East Bethel Boulevard. Waxwings frequently feed by flycatching at Cedar Creek, especially on the superabundant dragonflies emerging from Fish Lake. Waxwing fledging success at Cedar Creek is apparently poor. Their nests frequently are poorly camouflaged and they nest in areas where crows and jays are abundant. Waxwings are rare in the winter at Cedar Creek, probably because of the scarcity of fruit.
Bombycilla garrulus - Bohemian Waxwing
Bohemian Waxwings are irregular visitors to the Cedar Creek area. There are records from the winters of 1985-86, 1986-87, and 1987-88. There are no records since the 1980s.
Bonasa umbellus - Ruffed Grouse
Ruffed Grouse vary greatly in abundance at Cedar Creek according to their population cycle. In low years, they are very scarce. In years of high population, they can be abundant. Ruffed Grouse numbers have been low at Cedar Creek in the late 1980s and 1990s. They are most common in the more heavily wooded portions of Cedar Creek. Jesse Beck saw one south of Fish Lake on September 22, 2017. They were heard drumming throughout the north half of the property on the April 2018 Wildlife Survey.
Botaurus lentiginosus - American Bittern
American Bitterns were generally present in the large marshes near Fish Lake and the marsh east of the north-south road through the 1980s. A nest was found on June 5, 1973 in a marsh west of Fish Lake. Records of bitterns and other marsh birds have declined in recent years. However, one was seen by a visitor to Fish Lake on May 14, 2017.
Branta canadensis - Canada Goose
Canada Geese are common during migration on the small ponds at Cedar Creek. The first three recorded broods at Cedar Creek were in 1987 on Fish Lake. Canada Geese have had broods on Fish Lake in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1995. Canada Geese markedly increased at Cedar Creek in the 1990s. They have nested on muskrat and beaver lodges in the marshes southwest of Fish Lake. Four geese were on Cedar Creek at 26 on December 17, 1995, the only winter record. With hundreds of Canada Geese nesting and wintering in the Twin Cities area, they could be present at Cedar Creek in any season, although they are most regularly seen from March to October.
Bubo virginianus - Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owls are common at Cedar Creek, especially in the more open woodlands and along the borders of the area near farms. At least one lived in the woods between the Cedar Bog Lake trailhead and Crone’s knoll and nested in 2017 about 100 yards into the cedar swamp from the start of the boardwalk.
Bubulcus ibis - Cattle Egret
The only record of a Cattle Egret at Cedar Creek was a bird in breeding plumage Howitz saw on the east shore of Fish Lake on June 1, 1989.
Bucephala albeola - Bufflehead
Buffleheads are common on Fish and Cedar Bog Lakes and on ponds at Cedar Creek during migration.
Bucephala clangula - Common Goldeneye
Goldeneyes are among the earliest ducks to return to the Cedar Creek area in the spring. They have been seen on Cedar Creek and Fish Lake.
Buteo jamaicensis - Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawks are a common and conspicuous breeding species at Cedar Creek. They are the most readily seen raptor in the Twin Cities area. They have nested near the laboratory and south of Fish Lake. Prior to the 1990s, Redtails have generally been uncommon to absent in the winter at Cedar Creek. Redtails since then have been more common at Cedar Creek in all months, including regular sightings in winter 2017/2018 near the Lindeman Center.
Buteo lagopus - Rough-legged Hawk
Rough-legged Hawks are uncommon migrants and and common winter visitors at Cedar Creek. Jake Miller, Jim Krueger, and Ian Westray all observed Rough-legged Hawks near Fish Lake in January and February 2018.
Buteo lineatus - Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawks have apparently increased at Cedar Creek. Since the early 1980s they have been regular summer breeders and there are several winter records. They have nested near the north-south road and 26, and probably near Corneia's and Norris's cabins. Peter Makousky saw one on May 8, 2012. Aaron Ludwig saw another from the Fisk Lake Trails on March 10, 2018.
Buteo platypterus - Broad-winged Hawk
Broad-winged Hawks probably were the most common breeding hawk at Cedar Creek through the 1990s. They apparently have been less common since. They commonly have nested in the woods in the vicinity of the laboratory. Large numbers can be seen during migration. They were observed in July and September from the Fish Lake Nature Trail.
Green Herons have nested successfully along the east shore of Beckman Lake, and may also nest along the east shore of Fish Lake. They are also commonly found along Cedar Bog Lake. Jesse Beck and Alex Sundvall observed one on different days in July 2017.
A Western Sandpiper was seen at the duck pens on August 11, 1984.
Caprimulgus vociferus - Eastern Whip-poor-will
Whip-poor-wills are reasonably common breeding birds at Cedar Creek. They have nested in an aspen grove near the southwest border of Cedar Creek in the 1970s, in 1985 beneath the aspens along the marsh north of 76, in 1986 west of the lab near 24, in 1986 in the oak woods along East Bethel Boulevard, in 1989 along the trail to Beckman Lake, and in 2017 in the woods west of East Bethel Boulevard. They were seen and heard along East Bethel Boulevard and behind the Icon House in the summers of 2016 and 2017.
Cardellina pusilla - Wilson's Warbler
Wilson's Warbler is a common migrant at Cedar Creek.
Cardinalis cardinalis - Northern Cardinal
Cardinals are uncommon at Cedar Creek, but are much more likely in adjacent residential areas. Cardinals have been increasing in the Cedar Creek area in parallel with increases elsewhere in the state.
Cathartes aura - Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vultures apparently do not breed near Cedar Creek, but regularly fly over the area during the spring, summer, and fall. Large flocks as well as solitary individuals are regularly seen near roadkill along the property boundaries.
Catharus guttatus - Hermit Thrush
Hermit Thrushes are common early spring and uncommon late fall migrants at Cedar Creek. They are rarely present during the breeding season north of Corneia’s cabin.
Catharus minimus - Gray-cheeked Thrush
The Gray-cheeked Thrush is probably the least common of the migrant Catharus thrushes at Cedar Creek.
Catharus ustulatus - Swainson's Thrush
Swainson's Thrush is probably the most common of the migrant Catharus thrushes at Cedar Creek.
Certhia americana - Brown Creeper
Brown Creepers are common spring and fall migrants. The only summer records are a family group by Hernando's cabin July 7, 1979, a single bird on June 5, 1985, a singing male in June 2014 west of gate 7, and two creepers in burn unit 506 in July 2017. Few if any creepers winter at Cedar Creek in most winters.
Chaetura pelagica - Chimney Swift
Chimney Swifts are rarely seen at Cedar Creek and are not known to nest in the vicinity. The last observation was by Matt Dufort on June 9, 2012.
Killdeer are relatively uncommon at Cedar Creek. They are more common in adjacent agricultural areas. A pair nested successfully near the southwest corner of Allison Savannah in 1986. At Cedar Creek, Killdeer are most likely in old fields with sparse vegetation. In summer 2016 and 2017, Killdeer nested in some of the higher diversity BigBio plots and adults were noted regularly in the FAB1 plots.
Chlidonias niger - Black Tern
Black Terns are in some years a common nesting species in the large marsh just east of East Bethel Boulevard. In recent years, they have been rare. In 1989 at least one pair nested among the reeds in Fish Lake. One was observed on Fish Lake multiple times in 2013.
Chondestes grammacus - Lark Sparrow
Lark Sparrows are so easily seen at Cedar Creek that it is surprising that they are so much less common elsewhere in the state. Lark Sparrows are most abundant in Allison Savanna and the savanna portions of Cedar Creek to its north. They also are common in the fields just north of the laboratory. Their nesting success appears to be good.
Chordeiles minor - Common Nighthawk
Nighthawks are common to abundant migrants at Cedar Creek. They are much less common in the summer, and there is no positive breeding evidence. Nighthawks commonly use downed branches in the burn units as daytime roosts during spring and fall migration.
Two Bonaparte's Gulls were on Fish Lake on April 23, 1989.
Circus hudsonius - Northern Harrier
Harriers are not common at Cedar Creek during the breeding season, though are frequently seen on migration. Fuller found a harrier nest in the marsh south of the 100 ft tower in 1973. No breeding evidence was noted in the 1980s, 1990s, or 2000s, but since 2010 harriers may have been nesting south of Fish Lake. Siah St. Clair and Jesse Beck observed a harrier unsuccessfully attempt to catch a juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker in summer 2017. Earl Bye saw one at Fish Lake in April 2018. Visitors to Fish Lake have seen harriers from March to July most years.
Marsh Wrens are summer residents along the large marshes north and south of Fish Lake Road. A nest with two young was along Cedar Creek north of the 24 bridge in 1992.
Sedge Wrens are summer residents along some of the larger sedge meadows and marshes at Cedar Creek, notably along the south shore of the huge marsh south of Fish Lake, the large marsh southeast of the lab, and the marsh along Cedar Creek south of 24. They presumably nest there, but there are no nest records.
Coccothraustes vespertinus - Evening Grosbeak
Evening Grosbeaks have been common at Cedar Creek and in adjacent areas in some winters. They are absent in other winters. Evening Grosbeak records at Cedar Creek have been declining since the 1980's and in recent winters completely absent. At Cedar Creek, Evening Grosbeaks feed on seeds retained on the trees in winter, but also patronize bird feeders, and many apparently commuted between Cedar Creek and these feeders on a regular basis. They roost at Cedar Creek in conifers and in oaks that retain leaves in winter. There are no breeding season records.
Coccyzus americanus - Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoos are rare summer residents at Cedar Creek. They have been found in 1978, 1984, 1985, and 1986 near the laboratory.
Coccyzus erythropthalmus - Black-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoos are in some years common in woodland edge and bushy areas. In other years, they are uncommon. Active nests have been found as late as early September. Cuckoos have been less common since the 1990s.
Colaptes auratus - Northern Flicker
Flickers are common in the open woods at Cedar Creek, nesting in the oaks and aspens. There were only two winter Cedar Creek records through the 1980s. Flickers have been much more common in the winter since then.
Columba livia - Rock Pigeon
Rock Pigeons formerly bred on the Peterson farm. They are abundant on adjacent farms such as the one near 24 and Highway 65. They are no longer common on the area itself. A flock of 8 was observed by Sue Keator on May 13, 2014.
Contopus borealis - Olive-sided Flycatcher
Contopus borealis cooperi - Olive-sided Flycatcher
Olive-sided Flycatchers are fairly common migrants at Cedar Creek. There is no evidence that they breed at Cedar Creek, though late spring migrants have been noted in early June and early fall migrants in July.
Contopus virens - Eastern Wood-Pewee
Peewees are probably the most abundant flycatcher at Cedar Creek. They are abundant and conspicuous in the savannah and open oak woods. All the nests Howitz has seen have been in oaks placed on branches far from the trunk.
Corvus brachyrhynchos - American Crow
Crows are present year round at Cedar Creek, and most are presumably resident. Nests are known from the interior of oak woods at Cedar Creek. Crows (along with raccoons) are probably the chief nest predators at Cedar Creek.
Corvus corax - Common Raven
The first records of ravens at Cedar Creek were of single birds flying over the area on March 2, 1980, April 1 and 7, 1985, and March 31, 1986, and a bird feeding on a deer carcass on November 26, 1986. Ravens were present in the Cedar Creek area during the winter of 1987-88, and were recorded at Cedar Creek during all seasons in 1989, and in almost all seasons thereafter. Ravens nested in the tall pines south of Beckman Lake in 1990 and 1991, and probably prior to that, judging by the number of old nests there. Ravens did not nest there in 1994 or 1995, but a brood was along 26 west of Durant in 1995, so ravens nested somewhere in the Cedar Creek area. A raven brood was in the savanna west of Durant all summer in 2016. Ravens nested north of County road 24 and west of the creek in 2018. Cedar Creek is the farthest south in Minnesota that ravens are known to breed or consistently be recorded in every season.
Blue Jays are one of the characteristic birds of the oak forests and savannas. Studies of color-banded birds by Bill Hilton and Jean Vesall have shown that most jays at Cedar Creek are resident. Some migration through Cedar Creek takes place during the spring and fall, and it is likely that some Cedar Creek jays migrate south for the winter, especially in years when acorns are scarce. Jays probably nest in all the wooded portions of Cedar Creek. Jays have nested in very high density in the residential subdivision on the east side of Durant. The Blue Jay population at Cedar Creek apparently peaked in the 1980s. West Nile Virus may have contributed to the subsequent decline. Jays seem to have fully recovered a decade into the new century.
Cygnus buccinator - Trumpeter Swan
Trumpeter Swans were essentially extirpated from Minnesota. The first Cedar Creek evidence of successful reintroduction was three Trumpeter Swans on Fish Lake seen regularly through the summer and fall of 1989. Swans have nested regularly since then. The swans typically nest in the deep-water marsh east of Field D or in the large marsh on the west shore of Fish Lake. They are reliably seen on and around Fish Lake from March to October.
Cygnus columbianus - Tundra Swan
In some years, Tundra Swans use Fish Lake as a major migratory stopover in the spring, and the lake is a sea of white. Even in years when they do not land, many large flocks fly over the area.
Dendroica caerulescens - Black-throated Blue Warbler
The only Cedar Creek records of a Black-throated Blue Warbler are a male along Cedar Creek north of 24 on May 5, 1976 and a female in the wooded swamp 300 m south of Hernando's cabin on August 9, 1976.
On May 31, 1994, Howitz found a singing male Prairie Warbler in the trees between a marsh edge and a firebreak east of East Bethel Boulevard. On June 4, 1996 Howitz found a male Prairie Warbler singing at this same location and two other singing males within earshot. One of these birds remained near there through June 22. Numerous observers saw at least one of the birds.
Dendroica fusca - Blackburnian Warbler
Blackburnian Warblers are uncommon to common migrants at Cedar Creek. There apparently was a small breeding population, in the pine woods 400 m north of Corniea's cabin. In 1981, 1983, 1984, 1986, and 1987, Howitz looked for them there and readily found singing males. None have been found in similar annual surveys beginning in 2011.
Dendroica pinus - Pine Warbler
The first Pine Warblers recorded at Cedar Creek were a bird seen south of Cedar Bog Lake on August 16, 1976, a pair seen June 12, 1987 in the pines near Corneia's cabin, and a bird east of East Bethel Boulevard May 10, 1993. However, since at least 2010 Pine Warblers have been common in the white pine areas of the Isanti County portion of Cedar Creek. They have nested near Corneia’s cabin (long since burned down) and singing males have even been in the tall pines by Beckman Lake.
Dendroica striata - Blackpoll Warbler
Blackpolls are common migrants at Cedar Creek.
Dendroica virens - Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-throated Green Warblers are common migrants at Cedar Creek and probably were rare to uncommon breeders. Black-throated Greens have been seen during the breeding season north of Lawrence's cabin, west of Hernando's cabin. and in the pine woods 400 m north of Corneia's cabin. There have been no breeding season records since the 1980s.
Bobolinks are irregularly seen on the Cedar Creek property itself. There are records of Bobolinks along the western, northern, and eastern edges of the property, the fields near the Fish Lake Nature Trail, and 1 km south of the property. In most years, there are no records. There is no positive evidence of breeding on the area.
Dryocopus pileatus - Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpeckers are reasonably common at Cedar Creek. They have been increasing at Cedar Creek and through much of their range in the past fifty years. Dave Parmelee found a nest in a dead elm on the old Heckenlaible farmstead along 26 in 1987. Howitz found a nest only 2.5 m high in a large birch stub on June 2, 1991 west of Fish Lake, and another 13m up in an aspen stub on May 24, 1993 near the 1991 nest. Pileated Woodpeckers may be benefiting from oak wilt by feeding on wood-boring beetle larvae in the northern pin oaks weakened and killed by the fungus. They are regularly seen and heard in the campus area. In winter 2016-2017, visitors observed a Pileated Woodpecker demolishing a snag on Crone’s Knoll
Catbirds are common to abundant nesters in undergrowth, especially hazelnut, at Cedar Creek.
The only Swallow-tailed Kite recorded at Cedar Creek was seen by several observers on July 13, 1974.
Empidonax alnorum - Alder Flycatcher
Alder Flycatchers are not common at Cedar Creek, but likely are present (and presumably breed) each year in the wetter areas such as in the swamp south of Lawrence's cabin. They generally also are present in the marsh east of the north-south road.
Empidonax flaviventris - Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Flycatchers are spring and fall migrants at Cedar Creek, and apparently are uncommon, but since they are easily confused with other species in the same genus, their true abundance is difficult to assess.
Empidonax minimus - Least Flycatcher
The Least Flycatcher is the most common Empidonax at Cedar Creek. They are common in oak and mixed deciduous woods.
Empidonax traillii - Willow Flycatcher
The only Cedar Creek record for a Willow Flycatcher is a bird singing along the north edge of Allison Savana on June 12, 1997.
Empidonax virescens - Acadian Flycatcher
Howitz observed a singing male Acadian Flycatcher in the oak woods southwest of the large marsh south Fish Lake on June 14, 1992.
Horned Larks are uncommon on the area itself, but are more common on adjacent farmland, where they presumably nest.
Euphagus carolinus - Rusty Blackbird
Rusty Blackbirds are uncommon migrants at Cedar Creek, visiting the wooded swamps there.
Euphagus cyanocephalus - Brewer's Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbirds are not common at Cedar Creek. They have been seen along 56, and are sometimes present in some of the farmland adjacent to the area, and on the median-strip of Highway 65.
Dave Bosanko saw a male Spruce Grouse near the laboratory on April 15 and 16, 1983.
A Merlin was seen flying north of the Peterson farm on March 31, 1982. Bosanko saw a Merlin in spring 1991 and 1993. One was seen on occasion around the old Peterson farm in winter 1994-95. An immature was photographed in burn unit 108 in 2014. Jesse Beck observed one attempting to hunt juvenile Red-headed Woodpeckers in summer 2017.
Falco peregrinus - Peregrine Falcon
The only Peregrine Falcon records at Cedar Creek are a single bird seen June 9, 1996 and one on June 3, 2000. Since Peregrines breed in and migrate through the Twin Cities area, it is likely that they regularly fly over the area.
Falco sparverius - American Kestrel
Kestrels are relatively common birds at Cedar Creek and have bred in bird boxes there, though there are no recent nesting reports. Kestrels are occasionally present in the area in winter. They are commonly seen on the powerlines along Fawn Lake Drive between Fridsburg Cemetery and Fish Lake.
Fulica americana - American Coot
Coots are rare to uncommon in the summer at Cedar Creek, but are common during spring migration and abundant on Fish Lake during the fall.
Gallinago delicata - Common Snipe
Snipe are fairly common in moist edge situations at Cedar Creek, especially the marsh east of the north-south road. There is no positive breeding evidence. Alan Selin saw one on July 16, 2016 and Earl Bye documented two on May 13, 2017.
Gavia immer - Common Loon
Common Loons breed on Fish Lake. There is apparently only one pair each year. In 1974 2 young were seen, in 1975 0, 1976 1, 1977 1, 1978 0, 1979 0, 1980 2, 1981 2, 1982 0, 1983 0, 1984 1, 1985 0, 1986 2, 1987 0, 1988 0, 1989 1, 1990 1, 1991 2, 1993 0, 1994 0, and in 1995 0. In about half the years young are seen with the adults. Records are spotty in the late 1900s and early 2000s. However, loons may have continued to attempt breeding on Fish Lake, as a pair was observed throughout the summer and into the fall of 2017.
Geothlypis philadelphia - Mourning Warbler
Mourning Warblers are relatively common migrants and uncommon breeders at Cedar Creek. A pair bred about 500 m NNE of Corneia's cabin in 1954, and a pair bred in the moist woods about 700 m south of the lab in 1979. In June 1987 males were in two locations along the Lundgren Branch and north of Allison Savanna. A male was along East Bethel Boulevard about 700 m north of 26 in 2014, 2015, and 2017.
Geothlypis trichas - Common Yellowthroat
Yellowthroats are abundant in long grassy vegetation at Cedar Creek. They are especially common in wet areas with an open canopy. Yellowthroats may be the most abundant bird at Cedar Creek during the breeding season.
Grus canadensis - Sandhill Crane
Cedar Creek area is about at the southern limit for Sandhill Crane breeding in Minnesota. Broods were seen in 1979, 1980, and 1983 in the large marsh north of 76. Cranes also may have bred in the large marsh just east of East Bethel Boulevard and other marshes near Fish Lake, since a brood was seen in that area in 1986, 1990, and 1992. Cranes have probably been breeding at Cedar Creek since the early 1970s. In recent years, several pairs are present (sometimes upwards of 30 individuals in the marsh west of Fish Lake). The cranes return to Cedar Creek in early spring, in March or early April, and can still be present as late as November.
The first record of a House Finch at Cedar Creek is April 10, 1993, long after House Finches had become abundant in certain parts of the state. The birds are still uncommon at Cedar Creek proper, but are much more common in the adjacent residential areas.
Purple Finches are common spring migrants and reasonably common fall migrants at Cedar Creek. In some winters, they are reasonably common at feeders near the area. Purple Finches have bred on or near the area, since adults with dependent fledglings were seen at feeders adjacent to the area along Durant in 1979 and 1980. There are also breeding season records of Purple Finches in some of the coniferous portions of Cedar Creek from as recently as 2015. Breeding on the area probably does not occur in most years.
Bald Eagles are common migrants at Cedar Creek, especially near Fish Lake. They feed on fish and scavenge carcasses of deer and smaller animals. There are numerous records from all seasons. Bald Eagles have increased wonderfully since DDT was banned. Eagles have nested in a large pine tree on the new Cedar Creek acquisition north of Fish Lake. Jake Miller observed one defending a nest on the west bank of the creek in March 2018. They may be the most frequently seen raptor at Cedar Creek, often seen by school groups circling over Cedar Bog Lake and Fish Lake.
Hirundo pyrrhonota - Cliff Swallow
Cliff Swallows are uncommon visitors to Cedar Creek. They do not nest at Cedar Creek but do on human structures near the area.
Hirundo rustica - Barn Swallow
Barn Swallows are common aerial foragers at Cedar Creek. They have nested on the Peterson farm, Lindeman and on buildings in adjacent residential areas.
The only places at Cedar Creek Wood Thrushes have been consistently recorded are the islands of deciduous woods in the swamps about .5 km south of the laboratory, and in 1986 near the laboratory itself. Presumably, they have nested there.
Icterus galbula - Baltimore Oriole
Baltimore Orioles are common breeders at Cedar Creek, especially where marshes border woods. Aspen branches hanging over water seem to be preferred nest sites, but oaks and large birches are also used. Both species of orioles are now common in the burned savanna areas. Baltimore Oriole fledging success apparently is high, which is reasonable since their nests generally would be safe from raccoons, and orioles are aggressive toward crows and jays.
Icterus spurius - Orchard Oriole
There were no reports of Orchard Orioles at Cedar Creek until 2011, when at least three adults and a nest were found in burn unit 201 south of Fish Lake.
Ixobrychus exilis - Least Bittern
Least Bitterns are present, at least in some years, in the large marsh between East Bethel Boulevard and Fish Lake and may breed there. In 1994 and 1995 at least one was present near the dock on Cedar Bog Lake. On August 23, 2017, a Least Bittern was photographed by Kari Skoog on the boardwalk on the Fish Lake Nature trail.
Ixoreus naevius - Varied Thrush
A Varied Thrush was on the western edge of the CCESR near a bird feeder on January 24, 1981. It may have been wintering there. A Varied Thrush also wintered at a feeder about 2 km southeast of the CCESR during the winter of 1983-84.
Junco hyemalis - Dark-eyed Junco
Juncos are abundant spring and fall migrants at Cedar Creek. They are usually not common on the area in winter, but are common at feeders in the vicinity. There are no summer records.
Lanius borealis - Northern Shrike
Northern Shrikes are uncommon winter visitors at Cedar Creek. Bill Hilton caught three Northern Shrikes in traps where they had killed redpolls and chickadees at the resident biologist's house (Bur Oak) in January and February 1982. Northern Shrikes were common in the winters of 1993-94 and 1994-95. Northern Shrikes likely can be found at Cedar Creek every winter.
Lanius ludovicianus - Loggerhead Shrike
A Loggerhead Shrike was seen near the 70-foot tower on April 25, 1975, in Allison Savanna on May 11, 1975, and on October 29, 1983 near some old fields at Cedar Creek. A pair of shrikes was present near 56 during the summers of 1987 and 1988 and presumably attempted breeding there. If Loggerhead Shrikes had been present for any length of time at Cedar Creek since then, they likely would have been noticed.
Larus argentatus - Herring Gull
Herring Gulls are uncommon migrant visitors to Fish Lake. Lynn Burr saw one on Fish Lake on August 29, 2015.
Larus delawarensis - Ring-billed Gull
Ring-billed Gulls are common on Fish Lake and in the plowed fields nearby at times during the spring and fall. They are regularly observed by visitors to Fish Lake as late as the end of October.
Limnodromus griseus - Short-billed Dowitcher
A Short-billed Dowitcher was seen on the shore of Fish Lake on August 25, 1989.
Lophodytes cucullatus - Hooded Merganser
Hooded Mergansers are common migrants on Cedar Creek ponds and lakes. Though there are no breeding records, these secretive ducks could be breeding at Cedar Creek without being noticed. They were most recently documented by visitors to Fish Lake in Spring 2016.
Loxia curvirostra - Red Crossbill
Red Crossbills are uncommon at Cedar Creek, even in the coniferous portions.
Loxia leucoptera - White-billed Crossbill
Like Red Crossbills, White-winged Crossbills are uncommon at Cedar Creek, probably because of the scarcity of evergreens there. In the winters of 1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1994-95, 1995-96, 1997-98, and 1998-99, they were common in the Cedar Creek area, especially in the pine plantations planted in the 1930's. They have not been common at Cedar Creek since.
Megaceryle alcyon - Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfishers are rather uncommon at Cedar Creek. A pair is frequently present on Fish Lake. Kingfishers have bred on or near the area. One wintered along Cedar Creek near 26 in 1986-7. A kingfisher has spent the winters of 1993-94, 94-95, and 95-96 and recent mild winters on Cedar Creek near 26.
Melanerpes carolinus - Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpeckers are common in the deciduous woods at Cedar Creek, but are relatively inconspicuous during the breeding season.
Melanerpes erythrocephalus - Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpeckers are common breeding birds in the oak savannahs at Cedar Creek. These woodpeckers breed nearly exclusively in the prescribed burn areas. In years of poor acorn crops, none may be present at Cedar Creek after the breeding season. Since 2012, Cedar Creek’s Red-headed Woodpeckers have been intensively studied. The number of wintering birds has varied from zero to ninety-two. Red-headed Woodpeckers apparently have been in the area since before the Cedar Creek Natural History Area was first formed, likely on or near the farmsteads there. As areas were burned, the birds moved there, nesting in the dead or dying trees. Beginning in 2012, the birds began nesting along the west side of East Bethel Boulevard, in newly burned areas. The birds generally can easily be observed from the Fish Lake Nature Trail or Durant Street.
Reintroductions of “Wild” Turkeys in Minnesota have been wildly successful. The birds are now found in areas of the state where the Department of Natural Resources said they could not possibly survive. Cedar Creek records of adult birds date back to 1980s and 1990s. A brood was seen in 1984 along 56, one in 1985, two in 1994, and one in 1995. Wild Turkeys are now the most common galliform at Cedar Creek and likely nest every year.
Melospiza georgiana - Swamp Sparrow
Swamp Sparrows are common breeding birds along the edges of many of the marshes at Cedar Creek, notably the large marshes west and south of Fish Lake.
Melospiza lincolnii - Lincoln's Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrows are uncommon migrants at Cedar Creek. They have occurred along the path to Cedar Bog Lake.
Melospiza melodia - Song Sparrow
Song Sparrows are common to abundant breeding birds in the moist areas of grasses and sedges at Cedar Creek. They sometimes conceal their nests in hummocks or under a downed limb.
Mergus merganser - Common Merganser
Common Mergansers visit Fish Lake before the ice is completely out in the spring.
Mergus serrator - Red-breasted Merganser
Red-breasted Mergansers also visit Fish Lake as the ice is withdrawing from the lake.
Mimus polyglottos - Northern Mockingbird
A Northern Mockingbird was photographed in the savanna west of Durant Street in the summer of 2015.
Mniotilta varia - Black-and-white Warbler
Black-and-White Warblers are common migrants and relatively uncommon breeders at Cedar Creek. They have bred in the moist woods near the lab, south of the eastern telemetry tower, and in the woods west of Fish Lake.
Molothrus ater - Brown-headed Cowbird
Cowbirds are conspicuous at Cedar Creek in the spring, but are much less noticeable from June onwards. At Cedar Creek, cowbird eggs have been found in the nests of Least Flycatchers, Ovenbirds, Common Yellowthroats, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Eastern Towhees, Field Sparrows, Lark Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, and Red-winged Blackbirds. Cowbird fledglings have been found being fed by Red-eyed Vireos, Ovenbirds, Golden-winged Warblers, Nashville Warblers, Black-and-White Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Field Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Scarlet Tanagers, Northern Cardinals, and Indigo Buntings. At Cedar Creek cowbirds do not parasitize cavity nesters, jays, and apparently such suitable and common hosts as Cedar Waxwings and Eastern Phoebes.
Myadestes townsendi - Townsend's Solitaire
The only record of Townsend's Solitaire at Cedar Creek is a winter record at Lawrence's cabin.
Myiarchus crinitus - Great Crested Flycatcher
The Great Crested Flycatcher is a reasonably common breeding species in the wooded areas of Cedar Creek. They primarily nest in natural cavities in oaks and birches.
Nyctanassa violacea - Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
The only Cedar Creek record for a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron is a bird seen near Cedar Bog Lake on May 8, 1976.
Nycticorax nycticorax - Black-crowned Night-Heron
The only record of a Black-crowned Night-Heron at Cedar Creek is one seen at the public access on the east shore of Fish Lake on June 3, 1985. This rarity is surprising since the birds are fairly common in the Twin Cities area.
Oporornis agilis - Connecticut Warbler
Connecticut Warblers are uncommon to rare migrants at Cedar Creek.
Orange-crowned Warblers are fairly common migrants at Cedar Creek. Orange-crowns generally arrive in the spring at about the same time as Palm Warblers, after the first Yellow-rumped Warblers, and before the rest of the warbler species.
Tennessee Warblers are among the most abundant migrants at Cedar Creek. Late spring migrants can still be passing though in early June. Occasional very early fall migrants pass through Cedar Creek in July.
Nashville Warblers are very common migrant warblers at Cedar Creek. Perhaps only the Yellow-rumped Warbler is more abundant in migration. Nashville Warblers were common breeders in the bogs and some of the swampy areas at Cedar Creek, but have declined dramatically since the 1990s. Nashville Warblers bred in the boggy areas south and north of Lawrence's cabin, the black spruce bog, and in the bogs around Ice Lake. In some years, Nashville Warblers also bred in some of the small aspen stands at Cedar Creek. No Nashville Warblers were noted during the 2013 or 2014 breeding seasons and only scattered singing males in 2015. Since Cedar Creek is about as far south as these birds breed in Minnesota, they may be withdrawing north, possibly reflecting climate change.
Otus asio - Eastern Screech-Owl
Eastern Screech-Owls are rarely found at Cedar Creek. In most years, they are probably absent. Howitz heard one south of the laboratory only once. Residents report occasionally hearing a Screech-Owl in the Cedar Creek vicinity. Save for the Barred and Great Horned Owls, the status of the other owls at Cedar Creek is very poorly known.
Ruddy Ducks are rare at Cedar Creek.
Ospreys are fairly common migrants at Cedar Creek. They breed in the Twin Cities area but generally do not winter north of the Gulf of Mexico. So, they could be seen in any of the warmer months. Sam Royce and Caitlin Potter spotted two circling and calling over Field A on the spring Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey in April 2018.
Northern Waterthrushes are common migrants at Cedar Creek, and presumably breed in small numbers along the shores of Cedar Bog Lake and in the boggy area southeast of Lawrence's cabin. A pair was feeding young on July 7, 1979 near the northwest shore of Cedar Bog Lake. The males are more easily heard than seen near Cedar Bog Lake. Cedar Creek is as far south that Northern Waterthrushes are known to nest in Minnesota.
Parula americana - Northern Parula
Parula Warblers are rather uncommon migrants at Cedar Creek.
Passer domesticus - House Sparrow
House Sparrows are not common on the Cedar Creek property itself. They are common in adjacent residential and agricultural areas.
Passerculus sandwichensis - Savannah Sparrow
Savannah Sparrows are uncommon at Cedar Creek and may be absent in some years.
Passerella iliaca - Fox Sparrow
Fox Sparrows are common migrants at Cedar Creek.
Passerina cyanea - Indigo Bunting
Indigo Buntings are abundant in the considerable edge habitat at Cedar Creek. Buntings are also common in the burned savannah areas, using the surviving hazelnut, poison-ivy, or blackberries as nesting cover. Males continue to sing late into the summer.
Pelecanus erythrorhynchos - American White Pelican
American White Pelicans are relatively uncommon migrants at Cedar Creek, flying over the area. They do not breed in the area. Caitlin Potter and a group of visiting students observed a flock of at least 20 over Fish Lake in June 2017. Jesse Beck saw another four in July 2017.
The first Cedar Creek records for this northern species are from the winter of 1976-77. The first bird was seen on October 27, 1976 and the last on April 15, 1977. Gray Jays irrupted south that winter, probably due to drought in their normal range. The only other record is October 28, 1986 near Chickadee cabin.
Phalacrocorax auritus - Double-crested Cormorant
The first Cedar Creek records for Double-crested Cormorants were birds flying over the northern portion of the area on May 6, 1973, birds flying over Fish Lake on August 1, 1982, three birds flying over the area on June 11, 1983, six birds flying over Fish Lake on April 12, 1986, three birds over Fish Lake on September 25, 1986, and two birds flying over the area April 12, 1987. Since 1987, there have been cormorant records every year, reflecting a general population increase following the ban on DDT. Sue Keator saw a flock of 50 on May 29, 2014. Alan Selin saw two on July 16, 2016.
Phasianus colchicus - Ring-necked Pheasant
Pheasants generally are uncommon at Cedar Creek. A nest was found in one of the aspen groves north of 26 on April 27, 1980, but other than that they were rarely seen in the 1980s - 2000s. Since 2012, they they have been common in the eastern burn units and dry areas south of Fish Lake, where they are regularly observed by staff and visitors.
Pheucticus ludovicianus - Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are common at Cedar Creek in wooded areas with considerable understory, nesting in such species as hazelnut, alder, and small oaks.
Pica hudsonia - Black-billed Magpie
Bosanko saw a Black-billed Magpie in October 1992 along 56 in section 16. Presumably the same bird was seen several times that fall 2-3 miles northeast of that location.
Picoides arcticus - Black-backed Woodpecker
The only records of a Black-backed Woodpecker at Cedar Creek are a bird near the lab on October 23, 1981, a bird west of Fish Lake on May 2, 1986, and two birds seen December 14 and 16, 2007 near Corneia’s cabin.
Picoides pubescens - Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpeckers are probably the most common woodpeckers at Cedar Creek, breeding throughout the wooded portions.
Picoides villosus - Hairy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpeckers are common residents at Cedar Creek. They nest throughout the wooded portions, though are not as common as Downies.
Pinicola enucleator - Pine Grosbeak
Pine Grosbeaks generally are uncommon winter visitors at Cedar Creek. Occasionally they are common to abundant. At Cedar Creek they feed extensively on ash seeds.
Pipilo erythrophthalmus - Spotted Towhee
Towhees are common at Cedar Creek and breed where openings occur in the oak woodlands and in the savannas.
Piranga ludoviciana - Western Tanager
A male Western Tanager in breeding plumage was reported near Cedar Bog Lake on August 8, 1989.
Piranga olivacea - Scarlet Tanager
Scarlet Tanagers are a common and conspicuous breeding species at Cedar Creek, especially in the oak woods. Tanager numbers at Cedar Creek appear to have increased in the 1980's, a surprising development given the habitat destruction on their Latin American wintering grounds. At Cedar Creek, tanager nests are generally on a horizontal oak limb far from the trunk, with no shrubs directly underneath the nest.
Snow Buntings are uncommon winter visitors at Cedar Creek, occurring in large flocks in the fields along the county roads.
Podiceps auritus - Horned Grebe
Horned Grebes in some years are not recorded at Cedar Creek, while in others, migrants are present in large numbers on Fish Lake in the spring. One was observed by Alex Sundvall in August 2017.
Podiceps grisegena - Red-necked Grebe
Three Red-necked Grebes were on Fish Lake on May 22, 1987, the first Cedar Creek record. A pair successfully nested on a floating island of vegetation near the northwest shore of Fish Lake in June 1987. Red-necked Grebes also nested on Fish Lake in 1988 and 1989, and young were with the adults in 1988. One was observed on Fish Lake in May 2016. It is unknown whether they nested there that year.
Podilymbus podiceps - Pied-billed Grebe
Pied-billed Grebes generally are present in the large marshes near Fish Lake. Eggs and young were found west of Fish Lake in 1975. Visitors often see and hear them near Fish Lake in August, September, and October.
The Black-capped Chickadee is generally the most abundant permanent resident at Cedar Creek. Chickadees probably fledge more young than any other bird at Cedar Creek, and the woods are alive with juvenile and adult chickadees in the summer and fall. In most years there is no discernible chickadee migration at Cedar Creek. Chickadees are common to abundant in all wooded and bushy habitat at Cedar Creek. The many rotten birches, aspens, and alders provide them with sites to excavate nest cavities. The chickadee population at Cedar Creek nearly quadrupled between 1976 and 1988, despite several very cold winters and winters of record snowfall.
Polioptila caerulea - Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Gnatcatchers have been increasing at Cedar Creek. The first record of any kind was a pair with fledglings along East Bethel Boulevard 800 m north of 26 in July 1977. Single birds were seen in 1978. Cedar Creek's first record of a gnatcatcher nest was in 1984 in a dead northern pin oak 200 m NNW of the end of Fish Lake Road. Another pair also had fledged young in 1984 in the oak woods south of 76. In 1985 and 1986 pairs were present in these locations and just south of Fish Lake Road and East Bethel Boulevard. In 1987 young fledged from a nest in an oak 150 m west of the 1984 nest. Gnatcatchers have nested west of Fish Lake since 1987. Gnatcatchers can be found in much of the savanna and open oaks woods at Cedar Creek and probably nest there every year.
Pooecetes gramineus - Vesper Sparrow
Vesper Sparrows are abundant in the short grass fields at Cedar Creek, especially those with patches of bare ground.
Soras are relatively common breeders in the marshes around Fish Lake.
Progne subis - Purple Martin
Purple Martins apparently do not breed on or very near Cedar Creek. Large flocks of Purple Martins can pass through the area on migration.
Quiscalus quiscula - Common Grackle
Grackles have been common breeders along the north shore of Fish Lake and breed uncommonly in residential areas adjacent to the area. Immense flocks of grackles pass through the area on migration, and large flocks occur occasionally on the area even in the summer. Grackles only occasionally winter in the Cedar Creek vicinity.
Rallus limicola - Virginia Rail
Virginia Rails are uncommon breeders in the marshes south and west of Fish Lake, the marsh east of the north-south road, and the marsh north of 24 and west of Cedar Creek. The last confirmed sighting was by a visitor to Fish Lake in June 2012.
Regulus calendula - Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglets are common to abundant spring and fall migrants at Cedar Creek.
Regulus satrapa - Golden-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglets are common early spring and late fall migrants at Cedar Creek. In winter, they are rare or absent in the deciduous woods at Cedar Creek and are absent to uncommon in the coniferous areas.
Riparia riparia - Bank Swallow
Bank Swallows probably do not breed on the Cedar Creek Ecology Science Reserve itself, but do elsewhere in the general area. On migration, they may be present flying over the area, often in company with Tree Swallows, and sometimes in large numbers.
Sayornis phoebe - Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebes have nested on several of the buildings at Cedar Creek, including Lawrence's and Corneia's cabins, the Lawrence laboratory, the Icon House, and the dorms (biotelemetry buildings). They also have nested under the 24 and 26 bridges over Cedar Creek. Phoebes are among the earliest birds to return to Cedar Creek in the spring, sometimes returning in late March. Caitlin Potter observed a successful nest under the overhang on the Icon House porch in May and June 2017. School groups regularly see phoebes perched on the mullein stalks in the prairie behind the Lindeman building.
Scolopax minor - American Woodcock
Woodcocks are relatively common in the aspen woods at Cedar Creek. They are among the first birds at Cedar Creek to nest in the spring. Jesse Beck saw one in the savanna burn units on May 15, 2017. Otherwise, they are most often seen south of Fish Lake in May and June.
Ovenbirds are a common nesting species in the moist woods at Cedar Creek and breed less commonly in the oak woods.
Setophaga castanea - Bay-breasted Warbler
Bay-breasted Warblers are rather uncommon migrants at Cedar Creek.
Setophaga coronata - Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warblers are the most abundant migrant warbler at Cedar Creek. They are the first warbler to arrive in the spring and the last to leave in the fall. Yellow-rumped Warblers are rarely present during the breeding season in the Isanti County portion of Cedar Creek, and there is no breeding evidence.
Setophaga magnolia - Magnolia Warbler
Magnolia Warblers are common migrants at Cedar Creek.
Setophaga palmarum - Palm Warbler
Palm Warblers are common to abundant migrants in the early spring and fall.
Setophaga pensylvanica - Chestnut-sided Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warblers are common spring and fall migrants at Cedar Creek. During the breeding season, a few birds are present in forest edge habitat, though frequently in different places in different years. In 1987 at least 10 males were present. In every year it is likely that at least one pair attempts breeding.
Setophaga petechia - Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warblers breed fairly commonly along the edges of some of the large marshes at Cedar Creek, especially the large marshes west and south of Fish Lake, the marsh east of the north-south road, and the small marsh on the road to the Cedar Big Lake.
Setophaga ruticilla - American Redstart
Redstarts are among the most common migrant warblers at Cedar Creek. Surprisingly few redstarts breed at Cedar Creek, given their abundance in neighboring counties. There are breeding records from 1990 and 1991. In some recent years, several pairs of redstarts are evident during the breeding season. In other years, none are noted.
Setophaga tigrina - Cape May Warbler
Cape May Warblers are irregularly seen migrants at Cedar Creek.
Sialia currucoides - Mountain Bluebird
A male Mountain Bluebird was observed associating with male Eastern Bluebirds on County Rd 56 west of Beckman Bog by members of the 2018 Christmas Bird Count.
Sialia sialis - Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebirds at Cedar Creek are common and conspicuous. They nest in old chickadee and woodpecker holes, in natural cavities, and in bluebird houses along the roads. These cavities are especially common in the birches and aspens around the many marshes at Cedar Creek, and bluebirds nest there and forage out in the fields and in edge situations. Bluebirds are also a common nesting species in the oak savannah. Bluebirds are one of the earliest species to arrive at Cedar Creek in the spring and the last to leave in the fall. Fledging success is apparently good, as every year several broods are in evidence. Cedar Creek is evidently excellent bluebird habitat. Four bluebirds were observed on the 1998 Cedar Creek Bog Christmas Count where Cedar Creek flows under 56. 3 were observed in a similar location on the 2018 CBC, associating with a male Mountain Bluebird.
Sitta canadensis - Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatches are found in some of the coniferous portions of Cedar Creek in all seasons most years, and are probably resident there. They are usually present in small numbers in the cedar-tamarack-pine areas near Corniea's cabin and in the pine stands near the end of the Lundgren Branch. Their numbers apparently fluctuate considerably, and in some years they are rare or absent. In other years they have been found just north of 24 and Lawrence's cabin, by Cedar Bog Lake, and by the duck pens. A pair nested in an old chickadee hole west of gate 18 in 2011. During the late summer and early fall, migratory Red-breasted Nuthatches pass through the area. The spring migration is less noticeable.
Sitta carolinensis - White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatches are common residents throughout the deciduous woodlands at Cedar Creek, and are less common in the coniferous portions. All the White-breasted Nuthatch nests reported at Cedar Creek have been in natural cavities in oaks. They were seen regularly by visitors to the Fish Lake Trail in 2018.
Sphyrapicus varius - Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Sapsuckers are common migrants at Cedar Creek and uncommon breeders. The first summer record of a sapsucker at Cedar Creek was June 17, 1991 in the oaks woods northeast of 26 and East Bethel Boulevard. The first nest was found on June 11, 1993, 5 m up in a northern pin oak in this woods. A pair nested in the savannah west of Durant in 1995. Sapsuckers now probably nest every year at Cedar Creek, most commonly in aspens along the edges of small marshes. One was seen by a visitor to Fish Lake in April 2018.
Spinus pinus pinus - Pine Siskin
Siskins are common migrants at Cedar Creek and are common in some winters. In other winters, they are rare or absent. There are some summer records, but no positive breeding evidence. Since siskins occasionally breed in the Twin Cities, and breed farther north in Minnesota, it is likely that they will eventually be found breeding at Cedar Creek.
Spinus tristis tristis - American Goldfinch
Goldfinches are common to abundant at Cedar Creek, the year round. They breed in late summer, nesting in conifers, deciduous trees, and especially in bushes near marshes. Banding by Jean Vesall indicates that at least some of the goldfinches in the Cedar Creek area are present throughout the year.
Spiza americana - Dickcissel
Dickcissels were seen during the summer in the early 1970's sitting on wires near the duck pens, and in the summer of 1988 along 56, and on June 11, 1992 north of 76. In some years, they apparently are absent, but in other years are common and widespread. Many Dickcissels were in the burn unit fields in 2012, along with the Henslow’s Sparrows.
Spizella arborea - American Tree Sparrow
American Tree Sparrows are generally more common in the winter at Cedar Creek than are juncos, but are not nearly as abundant as juncos during the spring and fall. In winter, tree sparrows occur along the plowed county roads, and in some of the fields and savanna areas.
Spizella pallida - Clay-colored Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrows are rare to uncommon, but regular at Cedar Creek. They nested in what was the Christmas tree plantation west of Allison Savannah and have been found at the west end of the field west of East Bethel Boulevard 1.2 km north of 26.
Spizella passerina - Chipping Sparrow
Chipping Sparrows at Cedar Creek frequently nest in evergreens, but occur in fields where such nest sites are rare or absent, and are also found in the pine woods north of Cedar Bog Lake. They are easily found in the pines north of the Lindeman Center.
Spizella pusilla - Field Sparrow
Field Sparrows are among the most abundant breeding birds at Cedar Creek. They breed in fields and oak savannahs, nesting on the ground or near the ground in small trees, bushes, or vines.
Stelgidopteryx serripennis - Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallows have bred on or near the area, but are uncommon.
Sterna forsteri - Forster's Tern
Forster's Terns are uncommon migrant and rare summer visitors to Fish Lake.
Sterna hirundo - Common Tern
Common Terns are uncommon migrant visitors to Fish Lake.
Strix nebulosa - Great Gray Owl
Great Gray Owls have been seen occasionally at Cedar Creek: December 21, 1980 on the Christmas Count, May 11, 1981 by several observers, by Neil Bernstein later that spring, and on March 19 and 22, 1989, and in April 2018. The most recent sightings of a Great Gray Owl were in March 2018 by Jake Miller and Jim Krueger near Field A.
Strix varia - Barred Owl
Barred Owls are the commonest owls at Cedar Creek. They are probably present throughout the wooded portions. From 2012 – 2016, they could easily be called in to the dock at Cedar Bog Lake. Since then, they may have been displaced by a Great Horned Owl. Caitlin Potter found the carcass of one near the trail on Crone’s Knoll in fall 2017, killed or at least scavenged by a fisher.
Sturnella magna - Eastern Meadowlark
Eastern Meadowlarks are common in the fields southeast of the Peterson farm, and may also be present in the fields along 24 and 26, the fields near the Fish Lake Nature Trail, and other fields.
Sturnella neglecta - Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlarks probably were never common at Cedar Creek. They used to be heard near the intersection of 24 and 26 in the 1970s.
Sturnus vulgaris - European Starling
Starlings are not common at Cedar Creek. In some years they nest along the southeast shore of Fish Lake in burn units 201 and 101 and in burn unit 204. They also have nested in old woodpecker holes on the old Heckenlaible farm. Starlings are seldom found in the areas of Cedar Creek away from human habitation. They do not appear to compete significantly with native species at Cedar Creek.
Tachycineta bicolor - Tree Swallow
Tree Swallows are generally the most common swallow at Cedar Creek. They breed in nest boxes, old woodpecker and chickadee holes, and in natural cavities, usually near water.
Toxostoma rufum - Brown Thrasher
Thrashers are common in edge and savanna habitats at Cedar Creek, especially in the scrub oak and hazelnut in the years following a prescribed burn.
Tringa flavipes - Lesser Yellowlegs
A dozen Lesser Yellowlegs were seen along with several Solitary Sandpipers by Jim Howitz and visitors on a public bird walk on 17 May 2019. They were observed closely through a spotting scope in a marsh in burn unit 103 near gate 53 and the small marsh about 200 m west of gate 13.
Tringa melanoleuca - Greater Yellowlegs
A Greater Yellowlegs was seen along Cedar Creek on May 6, 1978. Three birds were along the shore of Fish Lake on August 21 and one on August 23, 1989. Howitz saw one giving flight notes overhead on October 30, 2019.
Tringa solitaria - Solitary Sandpiper
A Solitary Sandpiper was east of Fish Lake on August 21, 1974, one was in a small marsh along East Bethel Boulevard on May 2, 1986, two birds were in a small marsh east of Fish Lake on August 14 and 30, 1986, four birds were in a marsh along the south border of Allison Savannah on May 9, 1987, one bird was on a mud flat west of Fish Lake on May 18, 1987, and one on Cedar Creek in 1994. The great drought of 1988 changed ponds into mud flats, and Solitary Sandpipers were commonly seen at Cedar Creek in the spring and late summer of 1988 and 1989. Solitary Sandpipers are the "sandpipers" most likely to be seen at Cedar Creek, though Cedar Creek generally is poor shorebird habitat.
Troglodytes aedon - House Wren
House Wrens were uncommon at Cedar Creek in the early years, but have been increasing and since 1987 have been common. Jeff Burns attempted to study House Wrens at Cedar Creek in the 1970's but was unable because of their scarcity. They build nests in practically any available cavity. They are especially common along the edges of the many marshes at Cedar Creek, using old chickadee nests and natural cavities.
Winter Wrens are rare summer residents near Corneia’s cabin. In most years, none are present. They are uncommon migrants at Cedar Creek. During spring and fall there is occasionally one in the thick vegetation along the trail just south of Cedar Bog Lake. A Winter Wren was seen on the 2002 Cedar Creek Bog Christmas Count.
Turdus migratorius - American Robin
Robins are fairly common nesters on the Cedar Creek area proper, but are abundant in the adjacent residential areas, especially the subdivision just east of Durant. During spring migration, robins can be abundant at Cedar Creek as they forage in the fields and savannahs. Overwintering robins used to be rare in the Twin Cities area. However, now hundreds or thousands overwinter. At Cedar Creek robins in winter are most likely to be found around the small springs that feed into Cedar Creek, especially the one at 26 and Cedar Creek.
Tyrannus tyrannus - Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Kingbirds are a common and conspicuous breeding species of the open areas at Cedar Creek. They generally nest in oaks or conifers and catch flying insects in the fields and savannas.
Tyrannus verticalis - Western Kingbird
Western Kingbirds bred on and near the area in the 1950s and 1960s, but have not done so for decades. The most recent records are September 13, 1976 and July 10, 1983.
Vermivora chrysoptera - Golden-winged Warbler
There were no summer records of Golden-winged Warblers or Blue-winged Warblers at Cedar Creek before 1976. However, since 1976 Goldenwings have been a common and conspicuous breeding species at Cedar Creek, expanding into new areas. Nesting success appears to be quite good, since several broods have been seen in some years. After fledging, broods can travel far from their nesting areas, and have been found east of East Bethel Boulevard in areas where they almost certainly did not nest. An estimated 47% of all the Golden-winged Warblers in the world breed in Minnesota. So, finding a seemingly viable breeding population at Cedar Creek was encouraging. However, Blue-winged Warblers have been replacing Goldenwings throughout most of their range. This appears to be happening at Cedar Creek. After at least forty years of nesting there, Goldenwings appear to be increasingly rare in the Anoka County parts of Cedar Creek. They may well disappear as a breeding species at Cedar Creek in the foreseeable future.
Vermivora pinus - Blue-winged Warbler
Blue-winged Warblers have been breeding at Cedar Creek at least since 1976. The F1 hybrid, "Brewster's Warbler", is regularly seen at Cedar Creek, and a male Brewster's, probably the same bird, had a territory just north of the lab for four years. The F2 hybrid, “Lawrence’s Warbler”, has been reported only once from Cedar Creek. Bluewings were never as common as Goldenwings at Cedar Creek until around 2010. They breed in the same moist edge areas where Goldenwings breed and in drier forest edge areas. Bluewings and Goldenwings are very similar genetically and may just be a single polymorphic species.
Vireo flavifrons - Yellow-throated Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireos are fairly common nesters in the drier, partly open woods at Cedar Creek. Nests were found in 1974, 1986, 1989, and 1990.
Vireo gilvus - Warbling Vireo
At Cedar Creek, Warbling Vireos are chiefly found as breeding birds in aspen clumps, and so have a spotty distribution. They are uncommon elsewhere but are dependable in certain of these aspen groves, such as those north of 76 and those north of 26.
Vireo olivaceus - Red-eyed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireos are among the most common nesters in the deciduous woods at Cedar Creek. Nationally, Red-eyed Vireo numbers have been on the decline, presumably due to habitat destruction in Latin America. At Cedar Creek, while still common, they do not appear to saturate the suitable habitat, and the resources available could apparently sustain a significantly higher breeding population.
Vireo philadelphicus - Philadelphia Vireo
Philadelphia Vireos are a migrant at Cedar Creek, and apparently uncommon, though because of possible confusion with the other vireos or Tennessee Warblers, it is difficult to estimate their abundance.
Vireo solitarius - Solitary Vireo
Blue-headed Vireos are reasonably common migrants at Cedar Creek. There are no summer records, but it would not be inconceivable that an occasional bird could be found in the northern parts of Cedar Creek.
Wilsonia citrina - Hooded Warbler
The only Cedar Creek records of a Hooded Warbler are a male singing in the oaks 500 m southeast of the lab on June 16, 1980 and a male singing just west of East Bethel Boulevard on June 10, 1993.
Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus - Yellow-headed Blackbird
A colony of Yellow-headed Blackbirds bred in the large marsh west of Fish Lake in the 1970s and 1980s. Numbers varied from year to year, and in very dry years they were absent. Yellow-headed Blackbirds have also bred in the cattails along the north shore of Fish Lake and in marshes southwest of the area.
Zenaida macroura - Mourning Dove
Mourning Doves are common and conspicuous at Cedar Creek. They breed in the deciduous woodlands and savannas, though not in large numbers. Nests may be more common in adjacent residential areas. Nests in trees and bushes are more common than ground nests.
Zonotrichia albicollis - White-throated Sparrow
White-throated Sparrows are abundant spring and fall migrants at Cedar Creek, especially in bushy areas. White-throated Sparrows have been found in the bogs around Cedar Bog Lake during the breeding season, as in the 1955 study by Breckenridge.
Zonotrichia leucophrys - White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrows are common migrants at Cedar Creek, though not nearly as common as White-throated Sparrows.
Zonotrichia querula - Harris's Sparrow
Harris' Sparrow is an uncommon migrant at Cedar Creek.
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