Viewing Minnesota Bird Migration from a Houseboat

If you’re a bird lover, you’re sure to be a Voyageurs National Park lover as well. The reason? Rainy Lake and the surrounding area make the perfect pit stop or home for aviary life of all kinds.

During the early spring, in particular, it’s easy to spot birds of prey, small songbirds and everything in between. The area’s varied habitats ensure an abundance of birds to watch as they make their way north during Minnesota’s bird migration.

If you’ve ever wondered about the quality of bird watching at Voyageurs National Park, read on to learn more about some of the 238 unique species of bird that fly these skies.

Bald Eagle 

As one of the premier destinations in the nation for bald eagle spotting, Voyageurs National Park has no shortage of this patriotic species. There is a concentration of bald eagles around Rainy Lake that is the densest in the area. The high bald eagle population is remarkable considering the fact that this bird was difficult to spot just decades ago.


It’s not just the national bird that makes its home at Rainy Lake, but the state bird as well. Loons are well known for their distinct call, so don’t be surprised if you wake up to the sounds of these gentle birds. This type of bird mates for life, and you can sometimes spot parent loons with their offspring on their backs. Just like people, loons at Rainy Lake love to fish. Watch them dive deep into the water to score a meal while you relax on the boat.


You don’t have to listen too closely to hear the calls of songbirds in the north woods. Their songs create an atmosphere that is charmingly rustic. Some common sights at Voyageurs National Park include the western meadowlark, purple finch, orchard oriole and 23 distinct species of warblers. The more you listen, the better you’ll get at identifying individual species.


There’s no better place to be a night owl that around Rainy Lake. The area is home to many owl species including the magnificent great gray, boreal, snowy and hawk owls. You may spot large owls at the tops of trees, looking for their next form of prey. Your vision will have to be as strong as an owl’s to spot them because all species of owl are nocturnal. Keep your eyes peeled for these predators as they swoop towards the ground at night.

Bird watching is a rewarding hobby for anyone who gives it a chance. At Rainy Lake, anyone can give it a shot because it is effortless to spot fascinating species wherever you steer your boat. If you prefer to see birds from the land, check out our blog post, “The Best Places to Experience Voyageurs National Park Hiking” to start your next adventure.