Photo by Jason Mowry

Bird Cities Along Wisconsin’s Great River Road!

Bird City Wisconsin is an organization that recognizes communities that are working to make a better environment for birds and by extension the ecology as a whole.

Over 300 bird species make the round trip on the Mississippi Flyway from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Communities along Wisconsin’s Mississippi River are great spots for birding and many communities along the way have stepped up to manage green spaces, build nesting boxes, landscape with native plants, and more to help their feathered friends on their journey.

Wisconsin Great River Road Bird Cities:

Alma, TrempealeauLa CrosseDeSoto, Ferryville, and Prairie du Chien

Birding Views

There are plenty of locations to stop and pull out the binoculars along the Wisconsin Great River Road but the Bird Cities have put special emphasis on birding.  La Crosse, WI has a new location for birding called Eagle Watch, one of the best locations to find eagles when the river freezes.  In the middle of Ferryville, WI’s downtown is an observation deck with a telescope to spy what might be flying over the Mississippi where the water widens into Lake Winneshiek.   Lawler Park in Prairie du Chien, WI is another prime eagle watching spot, but Warblers, Snow Buntings in winter, Wood Ducks, Great Blue Herons, and more can be spotted.

Bird Cities Along Wisconsin’s Great River Road

Photo by Alain Audet

Getting Out into Nature

One thing many of the Bird Cities have in common is great access to nature.  The Village of Trempealeau, WI has a connection to the nearby Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge.  The refuge asks for visitors to help to keep track of recent bird sightings.  This updated list tells you not only what was seen, but where.  In Alma, WI the Mossy Hollow Trail is well known for finding spring songbirds, expect a wealth of warblers.  Where warblers are concerned, the threatened cerulean warbler can be found on Cardinal Bluff a nature preserve within the city limits of Desoto, WI.

Bird Cities Along Wisconsin’s Great River Road

Birding Drives

Sometimes you just want to hit the road and take a drive, bird viewing from the driver’s seat.  Watch for eagles’ nests and Great Blue Herons on the seven-mile drive from Ferryville to DeSoto (some of the highest concentrations of mated pairs of eagles in the Midwest live in this stretch of the Great River Road).    The Ambrough Slough is located a little north of Prairie du Chien where you can follow Ambrough Road along sloughs and backwaters for two miles of perfect waterfowl viewing, along with Sandhill Cranes, Egrets, and Herons. The 36 miles from Alma to Trempealeau along the Great River Road takes you past 2 state parks with incredible birding options.  Plus starting at the end of Trempealeau’s Main Street to view the Pelicans in the spring to ending at Alma’s Buena Vista Park for a true eagle-eye view, is a gorgeous day trip.

Bird Cities Along Wisconsin’s Great River Road

Bird City Wisconsin

You can find out more about what these Wisconsin Great River Road communities have done to earn the title “Bird City” on the Bird City Wisconsin website.  For more Birding Hotspots, check  It is not only the Mississippi Flyway that attracts the birds to this region but also the many protected forests, wetlands, and prairies found along the way.

Wisconsin Great River Road

P.O. Box 117
De Soto, Wisconsin 54624