The 5 Most Common Water Birds of MN & the Effects of Weed Removal

The state of Minnesota is home to a wide variety of water birds that dwell in rivers, lakes, and ponds. One of the most prominent lakes in the metro area is Lake Minnetonka. Lake Minnetonka is home to many different types of animals, from bugs to fish to birds.

Effects of Aquatic Weed Removal on Water Birds

Several of the water birds featured in today’s blog today have a diet that consists of aquatic plants and algae. So you may be wondering, “how does aquatic weed removal affect these birds’ diet?” The short answer is that it doesn’t!

Here at Waterfront Restoration, we value an eco-friendly and chemical-free method of weed removal. As a company, we utilize SCUBA by-the-root weed removal to clear lake home properties of weeds. While we are clearing weeds off the lakefront of private properties, most of the weeds removed are invasive and not part of a water bird’s diet. By removing these invasive weeds, we are also helping non-invasive weeds have a better chance of survival. During our service, we also protect native MN weeds that benefit the ecosystem. To protect these weeds we trim them low to the ground rather than remove them by their root structure. As a company, we value maintaining a balanced ecosystem by utilizing a natural approach to weed removal.

Although weeds are being removed from private properties, there are still plenty of weeds in the lake for water birds and other creatures.

The 5 most common water birds of Lake Minnetonka

Common Loon (Gavia Immer)

Firstly, the common loon is the state bird of Minnesota!

Location: Loons inhabit various freshwater bodies of water throughout the entire state of Minnesota, including Lake Minnetonka

Appearance: Easily identifiable in the summer by their sleek black feathers, spots, and red eyes. During colder months loons have a new coat that is grayer on the top and white on the bottom

Typical Lifespan: 25 to 30 years

Weight: Adult loons weigh 8 to 12 pounds

Diet: Fish, insects, and frogs

Fun Fact: These animals are capable of diving up to 250 ft to forage for food

Mallard (Anas Platyrhynchos)

Location: Mallard ducks inhabit Asia, Europe, and North America. These ducks can be found in freshwater bodies of water and prefer the calm shallows.

Appearance: Both male and female mallards have blue patches on their wings. However, the male mallard has a shiny green head with a white/brown body. While on the other hand, the female is almost entirely brown.

Typical Lifespan: 5 to 10 years

Weight: Adult Mallards weigh 2.5 to 3 pounds

Diet: Grass, aquatic plants, snails, and wild rice

Fun Fact: There are over 8 million Mallards in the United States.


Canada Goose (Branta Canadensis)

Location: Like its name, the Canada Goose can be found in Canada as well as the northern states. However, the Canada Goose prefers cooler temperatures. Additionally, they can be found everywhere, from bodies of water to fields.

Appearance: The Canada Goose has a light brown body with a white chest and long black neck. They are also recognizable by their 5ft wingspans.

Typical Lifespan: 10 to 24 years

Weight: Adult Geese weigh 7 to 14 pounds

Diet: Grass, aquatic plants, insects, and local crops (such as soybeans)

Fun Fact: The Canada Goose will mate for life!


Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus Buccinator)

Location: Trumpeter Swans live in various regions of North America. You can find them near the Great Lakes as well as in the Midwest, Rocky Mountains, and Pacific Northwest (Audubon). Swans split their time between land and water.

Appearance: Trumpeter Swans are large birds that are almost completely white other than a black beak and legs.

Typical Lifespan: 12 to 20 years

Weight: Adult swans are extremely large and weigh 19 to 26 pounds.

Diet: Grass, algae, fruit, and sometimes insects.

Fun Fact: During flight trumpeter swans can fly up to heights of 8,000 feet and speeds of 30 miles per hour


Ring-Billed Gull (Laurus Delawarensis)

Location: Ring-Billed Gulls are found in parking lots as well as freshly mowed fields, coastal shores, and lakes.

Appearance: A Ring-Billed Gull is recognized by its yellow beak and feet. It has a white body with grey wings.

Typical Lifespan: 3 to 10 years

Weight: Adult Ring-Billed Gulls are extremely light and weighs 0.6 to 1.5 pounds

Diet: Fish, insects, worms, rodents, and grains

Fun Fact: This type of gull typically returns to its birthplace to breed


  1. “Common Loon.” Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,
  2. “Mallard Duck.” Animals, National Geographic Kids,
  3. “Mallard.” Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, MN DNR,
  4. “Canada Goose.” Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,
  5. Lund, Nicholas, and February 08. “Birdist Rule #48: Go Find a Swan-A Wild Swan.” Audubon, 8 Feb. 2018,,water%2C%20while%20others%20are%20sedentary.
  6. “Ring-Billed Gull Identification, All about Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.” , All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology,
  7. Michele. “Invasive Aquatic Plants What We Do.” Waterfront Restoration, 29 July 2021,