The Red River of the North separates the Minnesota city of Moorhead from its sister, Fargo, North Dakota. For about 400 winding miles it divides the two states themselves. The river begins at Lake Traverse, the former outlet of Glacial Lake Agassiz, which originally drained south through the Minnesota River valley. However, when receding ice and Agassiz’s lowering waters finally receded far enough north, Lake Traverse became the headwater, rather than the foot, of the remnant river that would flow north. The Red River flows north at a tortuously slow pace, dropping only about 6 inches per mile. It has no rapids, flows through no forests, and for the most part is muddy and uninviting. It has little recreational value, and several major character defects cause its cantankerous nature.
Key birds: Swainson’s Hawk, Greater Prairie-Chicken, Upland Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Sprague’s Pipit (rare), Loggerhead Shrike, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Baird’s (rare) and Grasshopper Sparrows. Don’t miss: Felton Prairie complex, Moorhead sewage 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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