Wildlife & Habitat

Prairie Wetland at Haugen WPA

The Fergus Falls Wetland Management District is in an area where freshwater prairie wetlands and the associated northern tallgrass prairie join to form a zone of transition with the northern hardwood forest. This blend of habitats provides for an impressive diversity of bird species.

  • Bobolink


    Bobolink is a bird that can be seen in many of the restored prairies in the Fergus Falls Wetland Management District.. The males are black below with a white rump and shoulders and a buff colored neck. Males have a bubbly song that sounds like their name. Since they like to nest in grassy areas singing males have a rather unusual way to get their song heard. They take off from a grass singing and rising high into the sky. This high flying method is called skylarking.

  • Northern shoveler

    Northern Shoveler

    Beauty and unusual features combine in the Northern shoveler. They are a medium sized dabbling duck. Found in shallow wetlands throughout the Fergus Falls Wetland Management District, the spoon shaped bill of this unique duck sets it apart. The bill has earned this duck the nickname “spoonbill.” Their long bill has over one hundred hair like projections the duck uses to strain wetland water for its diet of mostly wetland invertebrates. The iridescent and glossy green head, the rich chestnut sides and the white feathers of the chest make this duck a feast for the eyes.

  • Sora Rail

    Sora Rail

    This small migratory bird is worth the search. The secretive sora rail is just nine inches long from beak to tail and with its large feet, it can almost walk on water. Small in size, the sora can be hard to see. It’s worth the hunt. Look for a small brownish chicken-like bird. A search for a sora brings you close to the heart of a cattail wetland. That’s where they live! In spring, a Fish and Wildlife Service ranger can help you look.

  • Prairie


    The prairie pothole region encompasses the northern portion of North America’s grassland biome, totaling approximately 300,000 square miles. Throughout the region, retreating glaciers left about 25 million depressions of various sizes in their wake, or about 83 potholes per square mile. This density of wetlands is unmatched on the continent. Formerly a paradise for waterfowl, prairie chickens, whooping cranes, bison, wolves and other wildlife, changes to the landscape resulted in loss of more than 99% of native prairie and drainage of over 80% of the small wetlands. The region remains a critical waterfowl production and migration area, providing the highest waterfowl nesting density in Minnesota. The complex of wetlands and surrounding prairie produces more than 50% of ducks hatched in North America. The District restores grasslands and wetlands on privately owned property with landowners and preserves prairie wetlands complexes on 44,000 acres of Waterfowl Production Areas in western Minnesota.