Riverway Specialties

An osprey sits in a pine tree.
Watch for Osprey feeding on fish while perched in shoreline trees.


Common Riverway Species

You are likely to see these species on most stretches of the Riverway and during most seasons of year with the exception of winter.

Bald Eagles
  • Over 30 pairs are known to nest on or near the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers.
  • Large concentrations of eagles heading north are common after ice breakup.
  • Eagles are abundant at times with 30-40 birds seen per hour in St. Croix Falls during fall migration.
  • You can see occasional year-round resident birds near open water, especially between Highway 8 and the hydroelectric dam.

  • Osprey breed within the park boundaries, building nests similar to eagle nests.
  • Watch for interactions between ospreys and bald eagles.

Common Mergansers
  • Swimming groups, containing multiple females with broods of their young, are common on the rivers.
  • They dive for fish and are sometimes called "sawbills" because of their serrated beaks.

Great Blue Heron
  • Several heron rookeries are located on or near the rivers.
  • Watch for them stalking prey near the shoreline.

Turkey Vultures
  • These large birds gather over the dam in St. Croix Falls and Taylors Falls, riding the thermal air currents as they rise.
  • They hold their wings in a shallow "V" and tip from side to side as they soar.
A small yellow songbird sits in a tree.
A male Prothonotary Warbler has blue-gray colored wings, bright yellow plumage, and black eyes and beak.

Brian Collins

Home to Uncommon Species

The Riverway is a stronghold for these birds which are sometimes rare in other places.

Red-shouldered Hawks
  • The St. Croix River is one of the best places in Minnesota and Wisconsin to find these birds.
  • Common from St. Croix State Park south on the St. Croix.

Prothonotary Warblers
  • These birds nest in tree cavities in bottomland forests and are common south of St. Croix Falls/Taylors Falls, especially along the smaller back channels.

Golden-winged Warblers
  • The Riverway is located at the heart of their breeding range.
  • See them north of Highway 70 on the St. Croix and on the Namekagon River.
  • This species is under consideration for state-level threatened and endangered species lists.

Trumpeter Swans
  • Successfully reintroduced to this area in the 1980s.
  • Some birds wear yellow collars with numbers that help biologists track individuals and estimate populations.
  • In winter, they congregate on the St. Croix River near Nevers Dam Landing and at the mouth of the Willow River in Hudson—anywhere near open water.

Louisianna Waterthrush
  • Listed as special concern by the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
  • Requires mature forest in wet areas.
  • Frequently found along rocky, swift flowing streams in forested steep sided valleys.

Cerulean Warbler
  • Listed as threatened by the State of Wisconsin and of special concern by the State of Minnesota.
  • These birds prefer lowland deciduous forests dominated by mature stands of trees.

Last updated: January 30, 2024

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Mailing Address:

401 North Hamilton Street
St. Croix Falls, WI 54024


715 483-2274

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