Birding
in the Middle Mississippi River Valley


photo of a Bald Eagle near Grafton, Illinois by Betty M. Bannister
   




The Mississippi River Valley is one of North America's greatest environmental resources and is a major bird migration corridor. Due to the riverís north-to-south orientation and diverse variety of ecosystems millions of migratory birds use this corridor each year during fall and spring migration. Pelicans, diving ducks, and swans use the river's large open-water pools. Geese, herons, egrets, resident and migrant songbirds use the shallow backwater wetlands. Bottomland forests support migrating and nesting populations of songbirds, bald eagles, ospreys, mallards, and wood ducks. Many more species use the region as their year-round home.

greatriverroad.com covers an approximately 175 mile stretch of the Mississippi River. In this region the National Audubon Society has identified 20 locations that are the best places to watch birds in its Great River Birding Trail project. greatriverroad.com has detailed coverage of 8 of these sites. We hope that you will find our information useful when you are planning a trip to get a look at some of the 326 species that use the river corridor as a home or a stopping off point during their migration.

In addition to coverage of some of the prime sites to spot birds, greatriverroad.com provides special sections and pages devoted to the American Bald Eagle, the American White Pelican, and Illinois Owls.

   
American Bald Eagles   There are approximately 2,000 eagles that migrate to the Middle Mississippi River Valley, making the region's overwintering population the second largest in the continental United States. There are a number of excellent sites to view our national symbol including the Melvin Price Locks and Dam, the Grafton area, the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, Pere Marquette State Park, the Clarksville area, Quincy, and Keokuk.
   
American White Pelicans   Thousands of American White Pelicans visit the Middle Mississippi River Valley during their spring and fall migrations. Visitors to the area will find plenty of spots to view these birds with the second largest wingspans in North America.
   
Illinois Owls   The Great Horned Owl, the Barred Owl and the Eastern Screech Owl are common to both the State and to Pere Marquette State Park. The Park has a series of wonderful programs open to the public in October.
   
Great Birding Areas in the Middle Mississippi River Valley   In the regions that greatriverroad.com covers the National Audubon Society has identified locations that are the best places to spot birds in its Great River Birding Trail project. greatriverroad.com provides coverage of these sites as well as adding a few of our own.
   
FEATURED ATTRACTIONS ALONG THE GREAT RIVER ROAD
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