Located in the heart of Minnesota’s Red River valley, Crookston, like so many towns of this agricultural boom region, was named in honor of a railway man; in this case, Colonel William Crooks, an engineer responsible for routing the first railroad through this area. It is a land of wheat, sugar beets, potatoes, and sunflowers, and of the endless repetition of neatly planted rows. The horizon here probably appears much as it did hundreds of years ago. There is little to relieve the eye except the distant rows of trees lining the course of some stream. The only source of timber for both native and early settler, the dominant tree species are cottonwood, elm, green ash, and box elder. The prairie and wetland sites preserved near Crookston would not be unique, were they not so rare today.
Key birds: Greater Prairie-Chicken, Sandhill Crane, Upland Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Wilson’s Phalarope, Veery, Sedge and Marsh Wrens, Yellow-throated Vireo, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Ovenbird, Savannah Sparrow. Don’t miss: Prairie tracts at Pankratz, Tympanuchus, Pembina; Crookston sewage treatment ponds. This eTrail provides information on birding strategies for this location, birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, and helpful maps.
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