Hastings, Minnesota is perfectly situated to be a hub for birding opportunity, and was recently recognized as the first official Bird City Minnesota!
The City Parks & Recreation Department manages 33 sites where people can get outside and enjoy watching birds. It is our desire to describe some of the best city parks and other "hot spots" for birding opportunity in and around Hastings and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.
Several of the parks are included in one of four Audubon sanctioned Important Bird Areas (IBAs) that radiate out from Hastings. Two are partially in the city limits and the others are close by. In addition, five state Scientific & Natural Areas (SNAs) can be found in or around the city. Bird watchers know that it is the all important habitat which provides food, water and shelter for migrating and resident birds. The protection of these areas has helped to provide place for birds to abound. This is the key to finding new and interesting species. Within these many areas, birders can find plenty of natural lands holding the treasured birds they hope will fill their lists.
Nearly half of North America's bird species, and about 40 percent of its waterfowl, spend at least part of their lives in the Mississippi Flyway. That is why Audubon Minnesota has pointed to the Hastings area as essential for bird populations. Many birds can be found in the Hastings Important Bird Areas. IBAs provide essential habitat for one or more breeding, wintering, and/or migrating bird species. The IBA Program is designed to be proactive, voluntary, participatory, science-based and works to identify, monitor and conserve the most essential habitats for birds.
The City of Hastings would like to thank Kevin D. Smith and Jennifer Vieth for the compilation of information and writing of this informational guide. Both are members of Hastings Environmental Protectors (HEP).
Birding Photo Credits: Jim Williams & Kevin D. Smith