Pigeon Lake IBA is located in southeastern Meeker County. The IBA includes Pigeon Lake and the surrounding ponds and wetlands. It is bounded by State Hwy. 15 on the north and west, and connecting County roads on the south and east. Pigeon Lake is a large, historically important rookery site for colonial waterbirds. Recent surveys documented nesting by American Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Black-crowned night Herons and Ring-billed gulls.

Currently, three islands on Pigeon Lake are used by nesting waterbirds. The primary island has been used historically and is approximately ½ - 1 acre island. Two nearby islands are now being colonized. and a second island behind the mature island rookery. Birds have begun nesting in the second island. These islands, formerly known as the ?BLM islands? were recently transferred to State ownership and are being managed by MN DNR Ecological Services Division. The lake is surrounded by a network of ponds, marsh land, woodlots, and agricultural land.

The site is located approximately 3 miles SW of Dassel, MN along MN Hwy 15. The lake is indicated on Hwy 15 by a scenic overlook parking site and MN DNR plaque. This IBA is located in the Big Woods Subsection of the Eastern Broadleaf Forest Eco-Province.

Ornithological Summary

Pigeon Lake is a large, historically important rookery site for colonial waterbirds. Recent surveys documented nesting by American Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Black-crowned night Herons and Ring-billed gulls. Currently, three islands on Pigeon Lake are used by nesting waterbirds. The primary island has been used historically and is approximately ½ - 1 acre island. Two nearby islands are now being colonized. and a second island behind the mature island rookery. Birds have begun nesting in the second island. These islands, formerly known as the ?BLM islands? were recently transferred to State ownership and are being managed by MN DNR Ecological Services Division. The lake is surrounded by a network of ponds, marsh land, woodlots, and agricultural land. This site has been a significant rookery for Double-crested Cormorants, American White Pelicans, and Great Egrets since before the mid-1960?s. A Bald Eagle nest is located just to the east of this IBA.

Conservation Issues

All agricultural land is high ground and the threat from runoff could impact the water quality and prey base in the lakes and surrounding pond.

The community of Dassel is expanding in that direction. Numerous newer homes have already been built around the surrounding ponds and lakes.

The primary island is degraded due to overuse (it appears white on the accompanying satellite photo due to defoliation). The original colony began moving to adjacent islands at least 20 yrs. ago. These islands are closer to shore making it easier for predators to access.