Important Bird Areas

Lake Maria State Park - Harry Larson County Forest IBA

Minnesota

The majority of Lake Maria IBA falls within the Big Woods Ecological Subsection where Northern red oak, sugar maple, basswood, and American elm were the most common species of trees in this predominantly forested region. Most of the historical Big Woods have been transformed into farm land and this area represents one of the few remaining stands of the Big Woods which is left. Lake Maria IBA is located approximately 60 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, just west of Monticello Minnesota and contains one state park (Lake Maria State Park) , 2 wildlife management areas (Suconnix and Hoglund), one county park (Marcus Zumbrunnen County Park) , one county forest (Harry Larson Memorial County Forest), and private lands within its boundaries. To get there take County Rd 39 off of I-94 to County Rd 111 west.

Ornithological Summary

The Lake Maria State Park ? Harry Larson County Forest IBA area supports 230 avian species with an emphasis on the bottomland forest and upland deciduous habitat types. Two hundred?twenty nine species have been observed within the Lake Maria IBA boundaries. Of those, 10 are Minnesota State listed species: Threatened- Trumpeter Swan, Wilson?s Phalarope and Common Tern; Species of Conservation Concern - American White Pelican, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Forster?s Tern, Acadian Flycatcher, Louisiana Waterthrush and Cerulean Warbler. Quantifiable data is available for Cerulean Warblers and Red-shouldered Hawks, with 21 individuals and 7 nests (2 confirmed 5 probable) respectively. Sixty-five species, of the total two hundred-twenty nine, are on the Species of Greatest Conservation Need list, 35 of which are confirmed breeding within the IBA. Two have quantitative data pertaining to the IBA criteria: the Eastern Wood-pewee with 31 individuals and the Ovenbird with 26 individuals. Lake Maria IBA has 20 of the 22 species that are representative of the floodplain forest habitat type.
Red-shouldered Hawk
Black-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Barred Owl
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Yellow-throated Vireo
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Veery
Blue-winged Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
American Redstart
Louisiana Waterthrush
Scarlet Tanager
This site also has 28 of the 33 species that are representative of the upland deciduous forest habitat type.
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Black-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Barred Owl
Whip-poor-will
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Yellow-throated Vireo
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Veery
Wood Thrush
Golden-winged Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
American Redstart
Ovenbird
Louisiana Waterthrush
Mourning Warbler
Scarlet Tanager

Conservation Issues

The two predominate threats to this area include urbanization and the spread or intensification of agriculture. Along with these changes in the landscape come secondary impacts such as the loss of wetlands, increased sediment and run-off, introduction of pests and invasive species. Some of the private lands within this area are currently being managed under a Conservation Reserve Program agreement. Changes in the 2012 Farm Bill and the overall reduction of CRP lands within the next 5 years make the management of these lands uncertain for the future. The reduction of CRP lands will likely result in increased agriculture as well as potential increases in development and deforestation on private lands.