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Quad 30 Bird of the Day

Tuesday, June 15th
Littlefork, Minnesota


American Bittern

EIGHT American Bitterns singing at the first 3 stops! What a way to start a BBS. Most wouldn't consider bitterns capable of a serenade, but they are always music to my ears. We usually think of the American Bittern as a bird of the cat-tail marsh, but here in northern MN, there wasn't a cat-tail to be seen. Several of the sounds seemed to be coming from wet roadside ditches.

The BBS probably doesn't do an adequate job of monitoring bitterns, but the BBS evidence at-hand indicates they have declined significantly in MN (7.5% annually since 1966) and in WI (5.3%). The decline across Canada also is significant (2.5%,) but the trend across the US shows no real change. This species certainly bears watching. If you would like to view the BBS range map, which also shows abundance, please view:

My impression from WI agrees with BBS data in that I can no longer find bitterns in some wetlands where they could be heard during the late 1970s and 1980s.

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