|Olmsted County is located
in the southeast corner of Minnesota. The largest city in the county
is Rochester (home of the world famous Mayo Clinic) with a population of
approximately 75,000 people. The rest of the county is mostly rural.
Total population of the county is approximately 125,000.
The county, with an area of 653 square miles, has plenty
of diverse habitat including deciduous woods, river valleys, meadows, scattered
pine plantations, and a few man made lakes and ponds. All of these
good birding areas are within easy reach of Rochester or even within the
|There are several parks and public recreation areas located within
the county that have excellent hiking trails. Most of these sites
are good for birding all year around. Locations in this guide that
are open to the public and have trails are marked with a hiker icon.
If some of the trails are paved, then the wheelchair icon is also included.
If canoeing is an option, then an icon is provided to indicate that as
Several other places in the county that are excellent for birds are
on or near private land. But that doesn't mean they are inaccessible
- some of the best birding can be done from the roadside. Be sure to
ask for permission before entering private property.
As part of the Rochester flood control project, several reservoirs were
created on area streams that have significantly improved the bird habitat
and therefore the birding in the county. Additional information on the
flood control reservoirs
may be of interest when planning a birding jaunt through the county..
All locations identified in this guide are marked on the five section
maps. Directions on how to get to each location are provided and a site
map is provided.
Keep in mind that many species mentioned are migratory and can be
found only in the proper season. Also, some areas may change due to
rainfall or "man" and can be good one year and poor the next. Also,
most of the areas that are mentioned as places to look for shorebirds are
small since Olmsted County doesn't have any of the large marshes or mud
flats that can be found in other parts of the state.
||Limited to inside East Circle Drive, West Circle Drive,
37th St NW and 12th St S (Hwy 14)
||The area of the county north of Hwy 14 and west of
||The area of the county north of Hwy 14 and east of Hwy 63
||The area of the county south of Hwy 14 and west of Hwy 63
||The area of the county south of Hwy 14 and east of Hwy 63
An invaluable resource for birding is a county road map. There
are several insets from the Olmsted County road map provided to aid finding
the locations identified, but it is well worth the time to obtain a complete
map of the county to help get an overall picture of the area and to find
the best routes between birding spots. The Olmsted County Public
Works department (507-328-7070) provides an official Highway Map
of Olmsted County that can be most helpful in finding your way around the
back roads of the county.
Road maps of all 87 Minnesota counties are available for a small
fee at the Minnesota Department of Transportation building on Highway 52
North. Most counties fit on one map, like Olmsted, but some of the
counties are large enough to require two or more maps.
If you wish to have maps for more than just a few of the area counties,
an alternative is to purchase the DeLorme Minnesota Atlas & Gazetteer
which contains topographical maps for the entire state of Minnesota.
This atlas is available at many local bookstores for about $15.
Another useful resource is a very detailed DNR map of Southeastern
Minnesota. It is free at their Regional Headquarters on Silver Creek
Road NE in Rochester, just east of the Federal Medical Facility.
| Information Exchange
Exchanging information with "active" area birders is still probably
the best source for finding the birds. If you would like to know
more information about recent sightings or if you have seen an interesting
or unusual species of bird you would like to share, please contact the author.
Also, if you have a "hot spot" in Olmsted County where you prefer to go
birding, please pass the information on to the author so it can be shared
with your fellow birders. Call me at 507-775-6949 or
| Additional Information
To obtain additional information on birds in Olmsted County (including
Big-Day and CBC results and checklist information), click on the "Olmsted
Home" icon below.
To obtain additional information on the birds and birding in Minnesota
in general (including the state checklist, maps and other good info),
click on the "Home" icon below.