With your help, we’ve protected 423 acres of Bog for future generations of birds and birders!

Big Half Year for the Bog

Set your birding goals for 2018!

YOU CAN DESIGN YOUR OWN BIG HALF YEAR! Pick a birding goal…any goal! It can be species you see just in your backyard…or in a local park…or in your county…or entire state (ANY STATE! Not just Minnesota). Be creative! Because it is not the birder with the biggest number that wins…All prizes will be given away as a drawing in early July 2018

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White-winged Crossbills

New Clinton's Critters Video

Enjoy this second installment of the Clinton’s Critters video series. In this episode, Clinton shares some of the fascinating natural history of White-winged Crossbills.

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2018 Gala at Springbrook

Gala sets Record for Funds & Fun!

Over 70 “bog buddies” flocked together to support us and our mission to Preserve, Promote and Protect the Sax-Zim Bog. This total was about a third less than last year, but I have a sneaking suspicion that a certain football game interfered with attendance. No matter, we all had a wonderful time and enjoyed the usual appetizers presented in an unusual manner…”Snowy Owl bars,”….

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Friends of Sax-Zim Bog

HERE ARE OUR GOALS: 1. Acquire bog habitat in the Sax-Zim Bog of St. Louis County, Minnesota (a world-famous birding destination) 2. Build a small “Birder Welcome Center” and bog interpretive center on the land 3. Fund educational/research projects centered on peatlands and associated birdlife
Friends of Sax-Zim Bog
Friends of Sax-Zim Bog added 3 photos and a video.2 weeks ago
Welcome Center CLOSING for the season today (March 11). Thanks all for a great winter! And HUGE THANKS to our volunteers and staff naturalists/hosts: Heather-Marie Bloom, Frank Nicoletti, Mark Dudek Johnson and Amy Godfrey Johnson.

WHY??: Why do we close at this time of year? Because many of the boreal birds the people come to see start heading back north to Canada… And the resident breeding bird start thinking more about setting up territories and they become rare at the feeders. We also take down the feeders in early April so the awakening Black Bears don't wreak havoc on them. Plus the roads get really mucky and soft after mid-March. (Outhouse is open all year-round 24-7… And you can always hike/snowshoe the trails west and north of the welcome center)

Highlights of the season where the reliable owls… Lots of Great Grays, a couple cooperative N Hawk Owls and even a few Boreal Owls popped up late in the season. The rare American Three-toed Woodpecker and Black-backed Woodpeckers at Warren Nelson Memorial Bog we're also a real hit! Common redpolls and a few Hoaries were very exciting, as well as better than normal numbers of pine grosbeak's. The energetic flock of Sharp-tailed Grouse on CR 29 really put on a show this year and thanks to Mr. Racek for allowing folks to view them in his yard. Mammals sightings were diverse and spectacular including first known photo record of a Lynx in Sax-Zim, and a semi-reliable pine Marten, three Moose, three Bobcats together, Fisher, Timber Wolf, Red Fox, Coyote, Star-nosed Mole, and Ermine at the welcome Center. How about those Muskrats!… Lots around this winter including at least one videoed being snatched by a Great Gray.

Remember, though the building will be closed, there will still be lots of programming/field trips in May and June and July… Check our website for details.

Welcome center will re-open in mid December… See you in the Bog!
Friends of Sax-Zim Bog
Friends of Sax-Zim Bog
Friends of Sax-Zim Bog added 6 new photos.2 weeks ago
As the winter season is coming to an end, we at the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog are looking toward the spring and summer season!

This last summer, we also set out a few trail cameras and have recently recovered images from one of those cameras. In most cases, trail cameras can be a good introduction to the wildlife in your backyard or local park and are a great tool to document those hard to see nocturnal species.

Head Naturalist Clinton deposited the remnants of the deer carcasses, which we use to feed birds at the Welcome Center during the winter, just off of the Gray Jay Way trail, just north of the Welcome Center. The images all came from between May and June/July (when the batteries died!).

We were able to document a couple of American Crows, a few Common Ravens, a Gray Fox, and Black Bear visiting the carcass pile. Lots of White-tailed Deer traffic was also observed, with a doe and newish fawn making an appearance! Unexpectedly, we were also able to document the Northern Lights!!

We will be putting out two trail cams this spring to see what other species we can document with our trail cameras! But while you are waiting for those reports, know that the Spring/Summer Naturalist Program schedule is being developed! There are a few field trips listed already, and you can check out these events and more here: http://saxzim.org/events/.
Friends of Sax-Zim Bog
Friends of Sax-Zim Bog3 weeks ago
BOREAL OWL! Those Lucky Larks! Sparky birded with a group of 8 lady birders from the Twin Cites area yesterday....and the "luck of the Larks" continued. When he first guided them a few years ago, Sparky spotted a N Saw-whet Owl hunting along McDavitt Road...complete with frosty eyelashes on that bitter cold day. And yesterday, a feathery blob turned into a Boreal Owl. Other highlights were a Great Gray on Overton and American Three-toed Woodpecker male at Warren Nelson Memorial Bog...oh yeah, and their awesome lunch buffet spread! Thanks Larks!
Friends of Sax-Zim Bog
Friends of Sax-Zim Bog3 weeks ago
PRAIRIE SPORTSMAN TV VISITS SAX-ZIM! Sparky, Mary Lou Freyholtz interviewed...and some visitors from New Hampshire!
Friends of Sax-Zim Bog
Friends of Sax-Zim Bog3 weeks ago
Sax-Zim Bog article in THE DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE...And gives good press to some of the Bog's unsung heroes such as Loretta and Mary Lou!
Friends of Sax-Zim Bog
Friends of Sax-Zim Bog3 weeks ago

Yesterday was the final day of the Hawk Migration Association of North America Winter Raptor Survey in the Sax-Zim Bog. This survey is in its second full year, with three years of survey effort done so far! This survey is a helpful citizen science project aiming to give raptor researchers an idea of winter habitat use and wintering raptor numbers in an area. These surveys are done across the US.

Our route is 100 miles, covering the Sax-Zim Bog IBA from the southern portions to the northern reaches! One survey is done per month from November to February (or early March!).

Yesterday was a great day to watch early season bird behaviors! There was lots of courting being done by our corvids (Common Ravens courtship flights, American Crows chasing rivals from territories, Gray Jays collecting nesting material and pair bonding, Black-billed Magpies nest building as well!). The Gray Jay above was being guarded by its mate while collecting grass and tidbits from the roadside! However, the goal of the survey is raptors! Bald Eagles were also courting, with one pair doing acrobatic flights and talon locking and one pair was visiting a potential nest site! Lots of fun on the last survey of the season.

Compared to prior surveys, this year was quite different! We added Northern Goshawk to the survey list (2 this season!) and were able to see two juvenile Northern Shrikes, which are not nearly as common as adult shrikes on the wintering grounds. This year, we counted a respectable 48 raptors and shrikes. Find the total tally for the 2017/2018 surveys below:

Bald Eagle- 17
Northern Goshawk- 2
Rough-legged Hawk- 12
Northern Shrike- 17

If you are interested in numbers, last season we counted 94! total raptors and shrikes. In comparison to this winter, 94 is a huge number of birds! However, last winter was relatively mild in November and February. These months saw nearly 40 birds per survey (Nov- 38, Feb- 37) which makes up much of the total. Early migration in the spring (note Northern Harriers last February in the Bog) and late migration in the fall makes a big difference in what birds you will find from year to year! Here is the tally from last year (2016/2017) survey results:

Bald Eagle- 42
Rough-legged Hawk- 28
Northern Harrier- 2
Northern Shrike- 20
Snowy Owl- 1

Special thanks to Kristina Dexter for helping out with surveys this season! What a wonderful season of surveys; already looking forward to next year's surveys!

-- Head Naturalist Clinton

(Photo above of a Gray Jay along Arkola Road, investigating the roadside. Photo by Clinton Nienhaus)

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