Birdwatching with an expert

Yellowthroat warbler
A common yellowthroat warbler.
Photo copyright Roland Jordahl

It's the day after Memorial Day. The "summer people" have started returning to Pelican Rapids -- and it's easy to understand why. People are drawn to the natural beauty in this part of Minnesota. Lakes and forests abound, and a beautiful state park is an easy drive west of town.

Campers, swimmers and hikers all enjoy Maplewood State Park -- and this time of year is a special treat for another kind of hobbiest: bird-watchers.

Jordahl
Roland Jordahl has lived in the Pelican Rapids area since the 1990s. His photographs can be purchased in various shops in Pelican Rapids.
MPR Photo/Tom Crann

The park is part of the Pine to Prairie Birding trail. The trail isn't something you can walk from start to finish. But it's a collection of parks and preserved natural areas, stretching miles from Fergus Falls to Warroad, just south of the Canadian Border.

The trail connects forests, grassland, lakes, swamps and sloughs that make a popular migration route for birds, and a popular destination for birders.

Early on a recent morning, MPR's Tom Crann visited Maplewood State Park with Pelican Rapids' most famous wildlife photographer, Roland Jordahl. Jordahl has lived in the area since the mid-1990s, and says he's taken photos of more than 300 species of birds.

Jordahl talked with Tom Crann about the tricks of successful bird and wildlife spotting, and just how he manages to get the perfect shot.

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