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Where to start bird-watching? Well, there's your backyard, of course, or your local city park. But Minnesota's state parks are a likely next stop.

With 66 state parks, nine state recreation areas and nine state waysides, Minnesota offers 235,000 acres of likely bird habitat. And the Minnesota DNR has resources to help you make the most of them, from park-specific bird checklists to parks with free loaner birding kits. Or check out the events calendar to join in on a bird walk at Frontenac State Park or learn about bluebirds at Fort Snelling State Park.

The park-specific lists give you tips about what birds you might look for on specific trails, like how blue-gray gnatcatchers tend to hang out near the shelter building along the trail from the Afton State Park visitor center to the swimming beach. Or that Gun Club Lake on the Dakota County side of Fort Snelling State Park is a great place to see great blue herons, great egrets or double-breasted cormorants.