Refuge Naturalists to Staff Brownsville Overlook

Because the Friends are not sponsoring a guided Swan Watch this year, this may be of interest to those who want to learn more about the migration:


Come enjoy the fall migration! As the seasons turn colder, thousands of swans, ducks and other water birds move through the refuge, finding a place to rest, relax and refuel before moving further south for the winter. A Refuge naturalist will be stationed at the Brownsville Overlook on Saturdays and Sundays from November 4 – November 19, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., to help visitors identify birds and share information about the refuge and migration. Please note that naturalists’ shifts may be cancelled or end early without warning in inclement or extremely cold weather.

The Brownsville Overlook is located about three miles south of Brownsville, Minnesota along Minnesota Highway 26. A portable restroom will be available on-site. We recommend wearing lots of warm layers!

Though peak migration is difficult to predict, the best time to see the tundra swan migration is usually the second or third week in November. The swans will typically stay until the water freezes over – if temperatures stay below freezing at night, the peak of migration will be earlier in November. Warmer weather extends their stay. Recent sightings and estimates of bird numbers are posted weekly on the refuge website:

For more information, please call the La Crosse District Visitor Center at 608-779-2399. The Visitor Center will be open for winter hours Tuesday – Friday, 9am – 3pm during November through March. (Summer hours are April – October, Tuesday – Saturday, 9am-3pm.)