Class: Aves
Order: Various
Family: Various

There are many different species of birds that live in the ecosystem defined by the freshwater systems of Minnesota and depend on the ecosystem to be healthy and vibrant.  Some of the birds you may have seen in your species research are carnivorous, meaning they hunt fish and other small animals that live in and around the water's edge. Other species are herbivores and depend on the grasses and other plant life that grow in and along banks.

Trickster med

What are essential needs for your species?

Life Cycle

All bird species start their life when they hatch from an egg. These eggs are almost always laid by the mother in a nest that protects the young from predators and the elements. Depending on the species, one or both parents will incubate the eggs until they hatch.

Juvenile birds are covered in soft down instead of feathers and cannot fly. This makes them vulnerable to predators and incapable of feeding themselves. Eventually, these young birds lose their down and sprout feathers, which they need for flight. They may take weeks or months to learn to fly.


Energy Web

Birds can be carnivores (eat meat) or herbivores (eat plants). Many of the bird species that need help on the rivers and lakes of Minnesota are birds of prey - they hunt small fish and other animals to survive. The Bald Eagle, Loon, and Great Blue Heron are all examples of these birds.

Other species, such as the Trumpeter Swan, rely on submerged grasses and other water-based plants for their nutrients.


Are your species' needs being met?

You should have a pretty good idea of what your species needs in its environment to be healthy and vibrant. Do you know if your watershed is healthy for your species?