Birding in Minnesota & Wisconsin

Birding in Minnesota & Wisconsin

Birding in Minnesota & Wisconsin

I'm Lisa and I’ve always liked to take photos. My very first camera was a Canon point and shoot that I got for my high school graduation in 1986. I still have the camera. When my children were little, I was the local film developer’s favorite customer.

People would ask me to do photos for graduation or weddings, but it was something I really did not enjoy, because that was too much pressure!  I have always enjoyed nature photography, because the birds and animals don’t care what the photos look like.

I really got into bird photography toward the end of 2020. It was a hard year for many reasons. The world seemed torn apart, and I needed to step away from it. I lost both my dogs that year one month apart. They were 14 and such an important part of the family. I was feeling a bit lost, and my anxiety was returning. I decided to take an online photography course. There were assignments as you progressed through the course. From that day on, I tried to get outside every day to take photos. I took my camera out of the auto exposure settings and into manual.

 great grey owl in Minnesota

I have always had a fascination with Bald Eagles. I heard of a place in Minnesota called Red Wing where they gathered in the winter. I loaded up my photo gear and headed to the spot. I was hooked! It was amazing to see so many Bald Eagles gathered in one spot actively fishing. I met a lot of great people while spending time at the river. They told me about a place in Minnesota where people go to bird and search for Great Grey owls. I booked a trip and headed north. I didn’t get to see a Great Grey that trip, but I saw so many other great birds to photograph. I was able to find and photograph a Great Grey owl in Two Harbors, Minnesota. Such an amazing experience, and I’ve had many amazing experiences with them since.

 Bald Eagle in Two Rivers Minnesota

My dream bird to photograph would be the Barn Owl. They are such a beautiful bird and a challenge to find and photograph. But if I had to pick a favorite bird, it would be the Crows/Ravens, because they are so intelligent. Photographing the Crows have led me to many of my owl sightings, and I’m thankful for that. There is nothing better than to hear the Ravens communicating while I’m in a silent forest.  It sends chills down my spine every time.

birding in Minnesota

Spending time alone with nature is therapeutic for me. From the fresh air to the sometimes difficult hikes. The bitter cold to the extreme heat. I can find beauty in the experience and gain some inner peace.

I have quite a few favorite spots to go searching for birds near me. In Wisconsin there is a lot of public land to explore. I spend a lot of time exploring those areas. Sometimes I see nothing and other times I have found surprise visitors! Those days are amazing. I also spent a lot of time in Northern Minnesota where we have a cabin on the Mississippi River. The river is still flowing north as it passes the cabin. The water is crystal clear. I like to explore there also. If I can get the boat tucked in and hidden I have been able to photograph and observe so many birds. 

At home the Barn Swallows nest on both of our decks in the summer. I spend a good amount of time trying to photograph them in flight. They can execute quick, tight turns and dives. I figure if I can track and photograph them I’m good with just about any other bird!

I have really enjoyed learning about the birds I photograph. Merlin bird ID and ebird have been very valuable apps for me to have.

I’m still Canon loyal after all these years. Right now I use the Canon R5. My go to lens on that had been the RF 100-500. If I’m going to the river for the eagles, I have been using the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L. I recently acquired the Canon RF 400mm F2.8. I can see this one quickly becoming a favorite!

Bio: I’m Lisa. I was born in Wisconsin, raised in Northern Minnesota, and now back living in Wisconsin. I have been married 30 years and have three amazing children and three cats. I love spending time outside exploring, documenting my finds with photos, and sharing with whomever will listen or look. I work and sell goods at a local antique store in the town where I live. This gives me lots of opportunities to travel and photograph.

Got questions about the best birding in Minnesota and Wisconsin? Follow Lisa on Instagram & Facebook and ask this fabulous Bird Bitch Ambassador a question! 


 All images provided are copyrighted and may not be used without express permission from Lisa. Contact her via her Instagram or Facebook.

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