Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge Important Bird Area is located in Becker County, in NW Minnesota, 55 miles E. of Fargo, North Dakota, and 18 miles NE of Detroit Lakes, MN. This IBA is predominantly based on the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge boundary and also includes 3 Wildlife Management Areas immediately south of the refuge.
Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge Important Bird Area has relatively high bird diversity; 242 (plus 16 accidental) species have been recorded on the National Wildlife Refuge, 150 of them nesting. The site is important for nesting waterbirds including Black Terns, Great Blue Herons, Forster?s Terns and Red-necked Grebes. Nine species of conservation concern nest on the refuge in significant numbers including Bald Eagles (30 territories), Trumpeters Swans (45 pairs), American Woodcock (241 individuals, 25 + nests), and Golden-winged Warblers (1,000 - 2,000 nesting pairs).
MN1c - Significant Numbers of Waterbirds - The site regularly supports a minimum of 125 pairs of Black Terns, 120 pairs of Great Blue Herons, 50 pairs of Forster?s Terns, and 25 pairs of Red-necked Grebes
MN1e - Significant Species Diversity ? 242 bird species have been recorded on Tamarack IBA including 150 nesting species, 37 of which are Species of Greatest Conservation Need.
MN2a - Endangered, threatened or species of special concern- Five State-listed species are known to occur at Tamarac in ?significant? numbers: 45 pairs of Trumpeter Swans (state threatened) which produce > 100 cygnets annually, Bald Eagle (30 nests), Red-shouldered Hawk, Yellow Rail and Forster?s Tern with approximately 50 pairs each (all state species of special concern).
MN2b - Species of conservation concern- Four species meet the threshold of 25 or more breeding pairs: American Woodcock, Black-blled Cuckoo, Black Tern and Golden-winged Warbler
MN3b - Rare habitat assemblages:
The refuge supports a large contiguous acreage of upland deciduous forest, and the following species, accounting for 21/34 species listed for this habitat type, are known to be present in these forest habitats on the refuge in significant numbers.
MN4 - Long-term research, monitoring or urban value
In 1987 Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge (TNWR) was one of the original sites used for the Trumpeter Swan reintroduction program. Since that time the population has grown into to a sustainable flock of more than 2,000 individuals statewide. There are a number of common loons on the refuge as well, and since 1993, the refuge has been one of six index areas included in the DNR Nongame Program?s MN loon monitoring project.
Tamarac NWR has also been designated as ?joint? demonstration areas for Golden-winged Warbler and American Woodcock as it has significant breeding numbers of both species. Extensive research on these two species has occurred on Tamarac NWR from 2006-2012, with numerous papers being prepared for publication. Both are Species of Greatest Conservation Need and the Golden-winged Warbler is considered a Minnesota Stewardship Species with more than 40% of the global population breeding in the state.
The largest threat within the refuge is invasive species. Invasive worms are a problem particularly in the Northern Hardwood stands. Likewise, invasive plant species, such as spotted knapweed, are currently being controlled on the refuge but pose continued threats to the native plant communities. Invasive animals such as the zebra mussel, found in nearby Rose Lake, are a future possibility in the lakes on the refuge, and continued monitoring is essential.
Other threats include pressures from outside of the refuge boundaries such as deforestation and changes in habitat due to increased development which is typically accompanied by the introduction of invasive species, natural pests and disease. Additionally, changes in infrastructure, such as wind turbines and cellular towers, pose a potential threat to birds and other wildlife if improperly sited.