Wildlife & Habitat

ducks on wetland
  • Blue-winged Teal

    blue-winged teal

    Here at Morris Wetland Management District, we grow ducks! We provide breeding habitat for more than 15 species of ducks, geese, and swans. Our most common nesting duck is the blue-winged teal. Like most prairie ducks, blue-winged teal need both wetlands and grasslands; they feed, rest, and raise their ducklings in shallow marshes, but build their nests in grasslands. They are common in the area, but look carefully – blue-winged teal are one of our smallest ducks, and they like to feed and rest along the edges of shallow wetlands. They’re among our latest ducks to arrive in spring and earliest to depart in fall.

  • Dakota Skipper

    dakota skipper

    The Dakota skipper is a small, orange-brown butterfly. It may not be glamorous, but it is very special. In 2014, the Dakota skipper was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Dakota skipper depends on high quality native prairie. With less than 1% of the original tallgrass prairie left in Minnesota, it’s not hard to see why some of our prairie butterflies are in decline.  Photo by Robert Dana.

  • Western Meadowlark

    western meadowlark

    With their warbling, musical call, the western meadowlark has long been a beloved bird in western Minnesota. Their appearance is as distinctive as their call: meadowlarks are mostly brown, with a bright yellow breast crossed by a black, V-shaped mark. Meadowlarks prefer large, open areas of grassland, but the males like to have a small perch to sing from – a low shrub or fence post will do. Long-time residents of the area often comment on how they don’t see many meadowlarks anymore. Morris Wetland Management District is working hard to help protect and restore the grassy areas these songbirds love.

  • Prairie Pothole Wetlands

    prairie pothole wetland

    Prairie pothole wetlands are small, shallow marshes that were formed by retreating glaciers. Once, the landscape was dotted with many thousands of these wetlands. Today, over half of the original wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region have been drained or filled in for agriculture and other human development. Pothole wetlands sometimes have standing water for just a few weeks in the spring, and some hold water permanently. Landscapes that include both temporary and permanently-flooded potholes can support the greatest number of wildlife. Pothole wetlands are also important for water quality and water storage.

  • Tallgrass Prairie

    tallgrass prairie

    To the uninitiated, a prairie may look like “just a lot of grass.” Slow down and take some time to really look, and you will see that the prairie is an incredibly diverse and lovely place. Some of the higher quality prairies in Morris Wetland Management District have well over 100 species of grasses and wildflowers. The best time to view wildflowers in a prairie is during the year following a prescribed burn – the plants are at their most lush and showy then. Morris Wetland Management District is responsible for about 7,000 acres of unplowed, native prairie.