Birds

Bird Species Found on the St. Olaf Campus and Surrounding Natural Areas

Waterfowl

The birds seen on the St. Olaf Natural Lands are listed by taxonomic groups with information about likely habitat and commonness or rarity of a species. Data are from observations and Ebird Contributions (ebird.org), compiled by Emily Patterson ’15 in 2015.

Downloadable Bird Checklist

Anseriformes
Anatidae

  • Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) – Very rare
  • Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) – Common in Big Pond when there is water
  • Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) – Uncommon. Found in ponds when ice melts
  • Gadwall (Anas strepera) – Rare
  • American Wigeon (Anas americana) – Rare
  • Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) – Common. Found in ponds when ice melts
  • Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors) – Common. Found in ponds when ice melts
  • Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) – Common. Found in ponds when ice melts
  • Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) – Uncommon. Found in ponds when ice melts
  • Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) – Very rare
  • Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) – Very rare
  • Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) – Common. Found in ponds when ice melts
  • Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) – Common. Found in ponds when ice melts
  • Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) – Very rare

Galliformes

Phasianidae

  • Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) – Common. Males heard calling in the prairie, spring – fall
  • Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) – Uncommon. Seen near forests

Podicipediformes
Podicipedidae

  • Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) – Uncommon. Found in ponds when ice melts
  • Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) – Very rare

Pelecaniformes
Ardeidae

  • American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) – Rare. Very elusive
  • Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) – Uncommon. Found near open water
  • Great Egret (Ardea alba) – Uncommon. Found near open water
  • Green Heron (Butorides virescens) – Rare. Found near open water
  • Black-crowned Night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) – Very rare

Accipitriformes
Cathartidae

  • Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) – Common. Seen flying over campus, spring-fall

Accipitridae

  • Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) – Common. Seen flying over campus at all times of the year
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) – Uncommon. Can be seen year round
  • Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) – Uncommon. Usually seen in the summer or fall
  • Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus) – Uncommon. Fly over campus during spring migration
  • Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) – Common. Usually seen flying over campus.

Gruiformes
Rallidae

  • Sora (Porzana carolina) – Uncommon. Found near ponds when ice melts, usually in summer
  • American Coot (Fulica americana) – Common. Found in ponds when ice melts

Gruidae

  • Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) – Uncommon. Usually seen flying over campus during migration

Charadriiformes
Charadriidae

  • Kildeer (Charadrius vociferus) – Common. Found late spring – early fall. Prefers mud flats and grassy areas of the Natural Lands

Scolopacidae

  • Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macuarius) – Uncommon. Prefers mud flats
  • Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria) – Uncommon. Prefers mud flats
  • Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) – Rare. Prefers mud flats
  • Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) – Uncommon. Prefers mud flats
  • Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata) – Rare Prefers mud flats
  • American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) – Rare. Prefers grassy prairies

Colubiformes
Columbidae

  • Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) – Common. Found near compost
  • Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) – Uncommon. Usually heard rather than seen

Strigiformes
Strigidae

  • Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) – Uncommon. Heard in Norway Valley and the woods behind Ytterboe
  • Barred Owl (Strix varia) – Common all year. Heard in Norway Valley and the woods behind Ytterboe

Caprimulgiformes
Caprimlgidae

  • Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) – Rare

Apodiformes
Apodidae

  • Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica) – Common. Found on spring evenings around Hillboe Hall.

Trochilidae

  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) – Common. Found near flowers but hard to see.

Piciformes
Picidae

  • Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) – Common. Found in trees on the quad and in the forests around campus
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) – Uncommon. Found in trees on the quad and in the forests around campus
  • Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) – Common. Found in trees on the quad and in the forests around campus
  • Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides cillosus) – Uncommon. Found in trees on the quad and in the forests around campus
  • Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) – Common. Found on the edge of the paths in the Natural Lands
  • Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) – Common. Found in trees on the quad and in the forests around campus

Falconiformes
Falconidae

  • American Kestral (Falco sparverius) – Uncommon. Seen hunting in the Natural Lands

Passeriformes
Tyrannidae

  • Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) – Rare
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens) – Rare
  • Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax trailli) – Rare
  • Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus) – Rare
  • Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) – Common. Found in early spring near ponds
  • Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) – Common. Seen at the tops of trees on the edge of forests
  • Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) – Uncommon. Seen in trees in the Natural Lands

Vireonidae

  • Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) – Uncommon. Found in Norway Valley
  • Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius) – Uncommon. Found in Norway Valley
  • Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus) – Uncommon. Found on the main path by the Big Pond
  • Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus) – Common. Found in forests. Usually heard at the tops of trees

Corvidae

  • Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) – Common. Found around campus
  • American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) – Common. Found all around campus and the Natural Lands

Alaudidae

  • Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) – Uncommon. Found in late all, winter, and early spring in agricultural fields and recently burned prairie

Hirunidae

  • Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) – Common. Found flying over the ponds
  • Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) – Common. Found flying over the ponds and around Regents

Paridae

  • Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) – Common. Found all around campus and the Natural Lands. Uses the Bluebird boxes

Sittidae

  • Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) – Rare
  • White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) – Common. Found all year, usually on campus in the quad

Certhiidae

  • Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) – Uncommon

Troglodytidae

  • House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) – Common. Found in forests and the prairie. One of the species that uses the Bluebird boxes
  • Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis) – Rare
  • Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis) – Uncommon. Found in the Natural Lands
  • Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris) – Uncommon

Polioptilidae

  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea ) – Uncommon. Found at the tops of trees

Regulidae

  • Golden-Crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) – Uncommon. Found during spring migration in trees and shrubs
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) – Common. Found during spring migration in trees on campus and in the Natural Lands

Turdidae

  • Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) – Common. Found in the prairie and forest near the Bluebird boxes
  • Grey-cheeked Thrush (Catharus minimus) – Uncommon
  • Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus) – Common. Hard to see because it hides in shrubs
  • Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) – Common. Hard to see because it hides in shrubs
  • Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) – Uncommon
  • American Robin (Turdus migratorius) – Common. Found all around campus.

Mimidae

  • Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) – Common. Found in the spring and summer in shrubby habitats
  • Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) – Common. Found in the spring and summer in shrubby habitats. More often heard than seen

Sturnidae

  • European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) – Common. Often found around buildings on campus

Bombycillidae

  • Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) – Common. Nomadic birds found when trees and shrubs have fruit

Parulidae

  • Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis) – Rare. Only found during migration seasons
  • Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) – Rare. Only found during migration seasons
  • Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) – Common. Found during spring and fall migration climbing up trees
  • Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina) – Uncommon. Only found during migration seasons
  • Orange Crowned Warbler (Oreothlypis celata) – Uncommon. Only found during migration seasons
  • Nashville Warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla) – Common. Found during spring and fall migration
  • Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) – Common. Found In the spring, summer, and early fall in the prairie
  • American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) – Common. Found in the spring in forests
  • Cape May Warbler (Setophaga tigrina) – Uncommon. Found during spring and fall migration
  • Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia) – Uncommon. Found during Spring and fall migration
  • Bay-breasted Warbler (Setophaga castanea) – Rare. Found during migration seasons
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica) – Rare. Found during migration seasons
  • Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) – Common. Found In the spring and summer in the forest edge
  • Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata) – Uncommon. Found in forests during migration seasons
  • Palm Warbler (Western) (Setophaga palmarum palmarum) – Uncommon. Found in forests during migration seasons
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) (Setophaga coronata coronata) – Common. Found in forests during migration seasons
  • Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens) – Uncommon. Found in forests during migration seasons. Can also be found on campus in trees
  • Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla) – Uncommon. Found in forests during migration seasons

Emberizidae

  • American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea) – Common. Found in the forest edge during late fall, winter, and early spring
  • Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) – Common. Found on the edge of paths, especially in the Natural Lands
  • Clay-colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida) – Common. Found in the spring, summer, and fall in the prairie
  • Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla) – Uncommon. Found in the spring, summer, and fall in the prairie
  • Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) – Uncommon. Found in the prairie in the summer and early fall
  • Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) – Common. Found in the summer and early fall in the prairie
  • Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) – Rare. Found in the prairie
  • Henslow’s Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii) – Rare. Found in younger prairie
  • Le Conte’s Sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii) – Rare. Found in the prairie
  • Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) – Uncommon. Found in shrubby forests
  • Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) – Very common. Found in the spring, summer, and fall in the prairie
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) – Common. Found in the fall in the prairie
  • Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) – Common. Found in the summer and fall in the prairie
  • White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) – Common. Found in the spring and fall, digging in the leaf layer of forests
  • Harris’s Sparrow (Zonotrichia querula) – Rare
  • White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) – Rare
  • Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) (Junco hyemalis hyemalis) – Common in late fall, winter, and early spring. Prefers open grass along paths, and forests

Cardinalidae

  • Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) – Rare
  • Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) – Common. Found all year singing on campus
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) – Uncommon
  • Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) – Uncommon. Found in the spring singing at the tops of trees
  • Dickcissel (Spiza americana) – Rare.

Icreridae

  • Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) – Very Rare
  • Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) – Common. Found in the spring, summer, and early fall around marshy parts of the Natural Lands
  • Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) – Common. Found in the spring in the restored prairie
  • Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) – Uncommon
  • Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) – Uncommon. Found in the spring in fall in flocks that stay for a few days
  • Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) – Common. Found in the spring, summer, and fall in flocks around campus
  • Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) – Common. Found in the spring at the tops of trees or foraging in the burned section of the prairie
  • Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) – Uncommon
  • Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) – Common. Found in the spring on the path around the Big Pond.

Fringillidae

  • House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) – Common. Found all year singing around campus
  • Common Redpoll (Acanthis flammea) – Rare
  • Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) – Rare
  • American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) – Common. Usually found in the spring, summer, and fall, though it can also be found in the winter. Often found in the restored prairie

Passeridae

  • House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) – Common. Found all year in bushes on campus. One of the species that uses the Bluebird boxes