- The City of Bird Island was founded in the year 1881 as a railroad settlement.
- Bird Island is located on Highway 212 in Renville County. The town is located between Birch Coulee and Buffalo Creeks.
- Like many other pioneer communities, Bird Island was founded as a railroad settlement. Local history says the town got its name because of a large nearby lake that had an island. Birds used to perch on that island, making it “Bird Island.” The lake has since been drained, but people can still see where the dried up lake bed is.
- Bird Island is home to former State Representative and Teacher Roger Cooper.
- Bird Island is the hometown of baseball and basketball stand-out Barry Wohler.
- KNUJ’s own Todd Olson hails from the City of Bird Island!
- Bird Island shares a school district with the communities of Olivia and Lake Lillian, to form BOLD. The school in Bird Island teaches grades K-8. Their mascot is the Warrior. There is also a parochial school in Bird Island, St. Mary’s.
- Bird Island caters to the agricultural needs of the area with 2 of its businesses. The Bird Island Farmer’s Elevator serves the grain storage and other needs of its patrons, while Kibble Equipment, also known as Anderson Implement, provides the machinery needed to grow those commodities.
- A popular meeting place for many miles in Bird Island is Athmann’s Inn. The Inn, along with the adjoining Island Ballroom, are owned by Mark Athmann. The Ballroom is home to numerous events throughout the year, including Polka Fest and the Farm, Home, and Health Show.
- There is a group home in Bird Island for mentally-challenged adults. It is called Renville County Community Residence.
- Bird Island has a center for traumatic brain injuries. It is called Glesener’s Incorporated.
- Bird Island is home to an internet cafe. The Broaster Cafe became Renville County’s 1st such establishment in 2005. The Broaster features a high-speed internet connection capable of video-conference calls
Festivals & Events
- Bird Island is home to the Renville County Fair. The fair is held in August every year.
- Every July, the Island Ballroom in Bird Island puts on a “Polkafest.” The celebration of all things polka is always held around the 4th of July.
- Bird Island’s summer festival is called “Wing Ding Days.” It features community ball games, a street dance, children’s dance, and many other fun activities, including of course- the eating of wings. Wing Ding Days takes place in late June.
- The Farm, Home, and Health Show takes place in Bird Island ever year. The free event has something for everyone.
- The City of Bird Island has a population of approximately 1,200 people. The Mayor of Bird Island is Doug Erickson.
- Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton visited the community of Bird Island in February of 2012. Dayton was at St. Mary’s School in Bird Island to honor a promise he made to 8th-grade student McKaia Ryberg. She sang the national anthem at a Tim Orth Foundation event in 2010 that Dayton attended, and he then invited her to perform the anthem at not only his inauguration, but also when President Obama came to Minneapolis in October of 2010. Ryberg had invited Governor Dayton to visit her school, and so he took her up on the offer.
- A student from the BOLD School District was among the recipients of the Minnesota State High School League’s ExCEL Award in 2012. ExCEL stands for Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership. The unique annual award program is given to those who are leaders in their schools and demonstrate a strong commitment to community volunteerism. Ethan Ryberg from BOLD was among the local-area ExCEL Award winners in 2012.
- Students from the BOLD School District spent 16 days in Europe in 2012. The kids travelled to 7 different countries with the Minnesota Ambassadors of Music, a group of nominated high school band and choir students who come together for a European concert tour every other summer. The students performed at venues in London, Italy, Paris, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Liechtenstein in 2012.
- The BOLD School District got a new superintendent in August of 2012. John Dotson is a native of Des Moines, Iowa with over 30 years of education experience. He became one of the youngest school administrators in the State of Iowa at the age of 26 in 1983 before serving as a K-12 Principal for 11 years. He spent 8 years on the job at his first superintendent position in Iowa. Dotson is also an accomplished musician, and received a degree in Music Education from Drake University prior to receiving his administrative degree.
- Students from BOLD crowned new Homecoming Royalty in October of 2012. Named Homecoming King was Tyler Rock and crowned Homecoming Queen was Taylor Emnet.
Click on the title below to listen to the Town Days Podcasts
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