With your help, we’ve protected 24,439 acres of Bog for future generations!

Birding the Bog

Find your way around

Latest Bird & Wildlife Reports

Start checking birds off…

Hire a BIRDING Guide (see below for Photography Tours)

Interested in hiring a guide?  The Friends of Sax Zim Bog recommends contacting:

KYLE TE POELNext Bend Birding Tours
Professional naturalist-led tours in Minnesota and nationwide since 2008

Year-round tours in the Sax-Zim Bog, throughout Minnesota, and nationwide. I’m a professional naturalist with a Masters in Education, whose resume includes the Sierra Club, Minnesota Audubon, National Audubon Society, Project Puffin, Minnesota State Parks, National Park Service, and guiding at bird festivals around the country. My knowledge and interests are wide-ranging, ensuring tours are informative and fun for all ages and experience levels. Communication and customer service are top notch from first contact to the end of the tour. Next Bend was awarded “Gold” status (the highest certification) by the Green Business Directory for personal and professional sustainability practices. I support several conservation organizations, and donate 10% of my gross income from Sax-Zim tours to the Bog’s “Acres for Owls” land preservation project. I’ll work with you to create a customized tour based on your wish list and schedule, while providing several perks free of charge. Featured in local, regional, and national publications and television. I am fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.507-358-8810  (call or text)
https://kyletepoel.crevado.com/minnesota-birding-guide (reviews at bottom of page!)
Trip Advisor and Google profiles (search Next Bend Birding)

Instagram (@nextbendbirding)

GREGG SEVERSON (Sax-Zim and Twin Cities; Birding Bike Trips, Birding & Beer Bus Trips)

Gregg loves birding, and also spending social time with other birders and naturalists. He is excited to share the exceptional birds and other wildlife of Sax-Zim and the rest of MN with his clients. He was a guide for the Sax-Zim Winter Birding Festival for many years and loves to vicariously experience other birders’ lifer highs! Gregg mostly guides Friday-Sunday, in every season. He takes lots of photos with his Canon P900 and has a special interest in audio recordings of birds. Gregg co-organizes MN Global Birding presentations and happily discusses international birding. Feel free to ask about recommendations for good breweries, cideries, and distilleries in the area, as well as other cultural or natural attractions. Fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.
612-568-5272 (call or text)

KIM RISEN—Naturescape Tours
218-839-0517 (call or text)

CLINTON DEXTER-NIENHAUS (Friends of Sax-Zim Bog Head Naturalist)
Limited guiding availability; Larger groups (5 or more) only, with 4 hour minimum.

Guiding not limited to birds! All parts of the natural world considered.

Contact Clinton at naturalist@saxzim.org for rates, field trip options, and availability.


CLINTON DEXTER-NIENHAUS (Friends of Sax-Zim Bog Head Naturalist)
Limited guiding availability; Larger groups (5 or more) only, with 4 hour minimum.

262-408-8892 (call or text)
**10% of Erik’s gross from guiding in Sax-Zim Bog will be donated to Friends of Sax-Zim Bog

JUDD BRINK (Sax-Zim Bog, Aitkin County, Brainerd Lakes area)

Availability: All seasons for Sax-Zim Bog.  Aitkin County, Brainerd Lakes Area available upon request year round.  Guiding experience:  12 years with the birding festival and private guiding at Sax-Zim. Feeding and watching birds/wildlife for over 30 years in Minnesota!  Have a B.S. in Natural Resources Management, Owner/Guide of MN Backyard Birds (Birdscaping), President of Bee-Nay-She Bird Council, Board Member of Brainerd Audubon Society, Master Naturalist, Minnesota Ivory Billed Woodpecker Research Team in 2011, involved with a National Geographic filming project on Great Gray Owls for their Voyagers series. Traveled/Birding ( Alaska, Costa Rica, Iceland and Ecuador in 2022!) Attended the World Owl Conference (first time to be hosted in the USA) LaCrosse, WI. October 2023.

218-838-4784 (call or text)

**Video link below of Judd in action guiding in the Sax-Zim Bog [starts at 6:56 in the episode]:

Judd Brink guiding segment on PBS show Making it Up North

Interested in a Wildlife Photography Tour or Workshop? Check out these companies/guides

Click HERE to go to Wildlife Photo Tours page

FOSZB Bird Feeding Station Statement

Friends of Sax-Zim Bog has created bird and mammal feeding stations at the Welcome Center/Gray Jay Way, Winterberry Bog, Fringed Gentian Bog, Yellow-bellied Bog and now Admiral Road. These are the only feeding stations we manage in Sax-Zim Bog. The placed food is carefully selected and benefits the birds, but the feeders also benefit all visitors who enjoy watching and photographing our boreal wildlife.

We will actively monitor all bird feeding stations associated with our FOSZB properties to ensure a safe and ethically-minded environment is maintained for all wildlife.  Friends of Sax-Zim Bog reserves the right to take any and all appropriate action at our bird feeder stations if conditions arise which may jeopardize safety of the birds and mammals utilizing them.  As a land preservation organization, we value visitor experiences at our properties but must balance this with our responsibility to the land and its inhabitants.

*We ask visitors to not place any bird feed in any of our feeders on FOSZB properties. We have staff and volunteers who fill our feeders with approved bird food. In lieu of donating bird seed, please consider making a designated donation via our website or at the Welcome Center. The one exception is placing human-grade peanut butter at the Admiral Road feeding stations. This is allowed.



  1. To attract birds and mammals for visitors to enjoy and photograph.
  2. To help supplement the natural diet of many bird and mammal species, especially the irruptive winter finches such as Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Grosbeaks, Common and Hoary Redpolls, Purple Finches.
  3. As an education tool for sharing natural history with visitors.


  • Feeders will be clustered at FOSZB parcels to minimize impact on the Bog and facilitate easier filling. 
  • In most cases feeders will be clustered near trailheads and start of boardwalks to minimize any chance of invasives.
  • Only FOSZB staff or volunteers are officially allowed to fill feeders


  • Only seed purchased by FOSZB will be used in FOSZB feeders
  • We will only feed human-grade peanuts and peanut butter
  • Peanut butter (if used) will only put out December through February (and should be removed if a prolonged warm spell prevails…e.g. temps above freezing for 48 hours or more). [*human-grade peanut butter is endorsed for cold season feeding by Audubon, Cornell, Laura Erickson, Julie Zickefoose]
  • Peanut butter—We will not feed peanut butters that have Xylitol in the ingredients. It’s highly toxic to dogs, and may not be healthy for birds (per Laura Erickson).
  • Peanuts and peanuts in the shell must be food-grade to avoid aflatoxins
  • Use homemade “bark butter” instead of peanut butter when possible (lard, cornmeal, peanut butter, oatmeal). Bark butter is only to be used December through mid March.
  • Sunflower seed and nyjer (thistle) unused by the end of the winter season will be dumped out at an appropriate site (sunflower seed shells are a plant growth inhibitor so may not be appropriate for composting)
  • Check expiration dates for all seed purchased
  • Cracked corn—If used we will not purchase in non-breathable plastic bags due to aflatoxins not  (per Laura Erickson)
  • We will not feed bacon fat or other congealed drippings due to harmful sodium nitrates (per Laura Erickson)
  • All deer rib cages must come from within the deer hunting zone that Sax-Zim is in (to avoid any spread of CWD per MN DNR).
  • All deer rib cages will be inspected with a metal detector for any metal fragments prior to feeding.


  • All feeders must be taken down by March 31 (due to bears and the destruction they can cause). This date may be altered if we experience a very early spring.
  • Any remaining deer rib cages will be removed and disposed of by May 1.
  • Thoroughly clean all feeders after the winter season and store after completely dried.
  • Clean feeders using bleach, brushes, soapy water, etc.
  • In spring we will clean up ground spill from feeders and dispose of properly (compost at WC?)
  • Thorough ground cleaning and general “tidying up” at all feeding sites.


  • Only using hummingbird feeders at Welcome Center (at this time)
  • Hummingbird feeders will be cleaned monthly
  • Sugar-water will be refrigerated if made well in advance of putting in feeders
  • No red dye added to sugar water
  • No seeds or suet or rib cages in summer
  • Jelly in spring? Probably not due to bears


  • FOSZB prefers that visitors make cash donations in lieu of donating seed

Birding/Photography Etiquette reminder

First of all, this is YOUR Bog! It is not our Bog. And we all want to have a pleasant experience here.

The majority of the Sax-Zim Bog is public land (County, State, etc) with many private lands as well. Friends of Sax-Zim Bog owns and manages over 4,000 acres on nine tracts.

We are NOT the police of the Bog. Everyone must take responsibility for their own behavior. Much of this is just common sense and common courtesy.


  • Use common sense to not unduly disturb wildlife.
  • Winter is a tough time for all critters, so avoid interrupting their survival strategies. All wildlife needs food (calories) and rest. (e.g. don’t repeatedly disturb a critter as it tries to hunt and get calories; don’t throw things at a critter so it looks at you or flies; do not tease owls with fur on a a string or a mouse in a cage…the owl spends energy with no caloric reward; avoid disturbing roosting nocturnal species which are sleeping; don’t harass wildlife with a drone.)
  • Speeding after fleeing wildlife in your car is a bad idea. The critter is expending valuable calories by running at top speed.


  • Watch your rear view mirror when driving the roads…Please pull over so others going faster can safely pass…especially snow plows.
  • When you do stop to observe or photograph wildlife, etc, please pull over to the side of the road (But be careful in winter that you don’t pull over too far and get stuck in the ditch!)
  • Do not pull over and park across from another parked vehicle. The space between the two cars is usually too narrow for other traffic to get through at normal speeds.
  • Avoid pointing binoculars and scopes and cameras at any dwelling. How would you like it if you looked out your picture window in the morning and saw folks staring at you?
  • Private property is private property. Do not step on any land unless you know it is public land.


  • Respect other visitors and locals.
  • If someone is already watching/photographing an owl or other wildlife, stay back…stay behind them and remain quiet. They were there first. Or ask if you can join them.
  • Keep voices low when a group is watching/photographing a bird or mammal.
  • Turn off your car engine when observing wildlife or feeders at close range.
  • Don’t walk in front of those watching/photographing wildlife.

Let’s all use common sense and common courtesy and have a good time out there! The Sax-Zim Bog is a wonderful place full of amazing “bogdiversity” that is ours to discover and enjoy.

Here are some other links to Ethics Statements on wildlife/bird viewing/photography from other conservation groups:

North American Nature Photography Association

American Birding Association Code of Birding Ethics

Audubon’s Guide to Ethical Bird Photography

Wildlife Viewing Guidelines Yellowstone National Park