Minnesota is widely known for a wide variety of game bird species which have provided hunting opportunities for bird hunters and tourists for many decades.
In past decades, bird hunters enjoyed going into the fields and forests to hunt native bird species in their natural habitat. Today, some of the species have been succumbed to indiscriminate hunting and have disappeared.
The waterfowl is one of the popular game birds that have thrived in Minnesota over the years. This species thrives in wetlands and upland prairie grass which provides the birds with nesting and cover.
Originally, there were over thirty species of the waterfowl in Minnesota and some have disappeared over time. One of the reasons behind this disappearance is credited to hunters who have previously come to Minnesota during the birdsí breeding season and collect the young swans before they could fly. They relocated the young birds to other areas of the country, depleting their population in the state significantly. The trumpeter swan, which was the largest waterfowl in North America, is one of the species that has been wiped out in the state.
The passenger pigeon and prairie chicken are other of the Minnesota native game birds that have not been able to survive years of hunting. The same story applies to the white whooping cranes and the long-billed curlew as well as numerous other species that have long been forgotten. The story has not been dull for all Minnesota game birds though. Some species have survived the wrath of hunters while significant steps have been taken to protect the remaining species as well.
The sharp-tailed grouse is one of the indigenous game bird species that has survived. Although the birds have reduced significantly in number, they can still be found in Minnesotaís mixed forests and aspen parkland regions. The original habitation of these game birds were open brushlands that are highly susceptible to destruction and have also been converted to unfavorable cover of cropland and conifer plantations, which has contributed to the reduction of the birds.
The current grass-brushland habitation of the sharp-tailed grouse is also home to a variety of other Minnesota game birds that includes the Sand hill crane, the short-eared owl and the bobolink as well as the savanna sparrow and yellow rail.
The ruffed grouse is yet another game bird currently thriving in Minnesota uplands. It is deemed the most popular of all upland game birds. The birdís main habitation is the stateís forests, especially the young and middle-aged aspen forests.
Pheasants have graced the Minnesota uplands for years as well and are still a spectacle for bird hunters in the state. The ring-necked pheasant in particular is very conspicuous as one of the Minnesota game birds that have successfully survived human intrusion and change in their natural habitat. These birds are however not indigenous to Minnesota as they were brought into the state from China in 1905.
Pigeons and doves, magpies, woodpeckers and humming birds are other popular Minnesota game birds. Cuckoos, cranes, eagles and hawks, grebes and pelicans as well as partridge, quail and wild turkeys also make this list. The majority of the current Minnesota game birds are exotic species that were brought into the state in
Today, the threat on Minnesota game birds is all too clear from lack of proper habitation for most species to extensive hunting. In light of this, conservation efforts have been made all across the state and hunting regulated to preserve the remaining species. Game farms have played a major role in rearing different game bird species which are then released for hunting.
Part of the conservation effort also involves restoring and developing the proper habitation in which different game bird species can inhabit and thrive. There is no doubt that Minnesota still boasts of extensive game bird species. Bird tourists and hunters can therefore still enjoy the thrill of watching and chasing the birds in the spectacular Minnesota wild.
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