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Boreal Birds Adventure Weekends

We are offering two weekend workshops this winter, so choose the weekend that bests suits you:
Saturday, January 11- Sunday, January 12
Saturday, February 1-Sunday, February 2


$345 per person [Refundable fully until one-month prior to weekend. After that, 50% refundable.]

Limited to 10

Join us for a multi-day, intensive birding experience and workshop, featuring presentations by Executive Director, Sparky Stensaas, and Head Naturalist, Clinton Nienhaus. Each day will feature birding through northern Minnesota in search of those special species that make the boreal forest home. Days will be long, and probably cold, but we will be in and out of the van. We will not be snowshoeing or doing any major bushwhacking. Most birding will be from roadsides, trails, boardwalk.

There are no guarantees when it comes to seeking birds, but we will be getting an EARLY-START and searching for boreal specialists including Great Gray Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Black-backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, White-winged Crossbill, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Common and Hoary Redpoll, Bohemian Waxwing and many more. The majority of one day will be spent in Sax-Zim Bog. The second day will likely be a morning in Lake County’s Superior National Forest and potentially the North Shore or Duluth depending on location of birds at the time.

Clinton and Sparky will share natural history about each species and information on the boreal forest during the day as well as in featured evening presentations. Days will likely begin an hour before sunrise and will end an hour after sunset. We will have departure times around 6am with a return to the hotel after dark (6pm).

A block of rooms will be held at the Days Inn & Suites 909 Cottonwood Ave, Duluth, MN 55811, which offers a “birder’s rate” and “early bird breakfast” so we can get going early. [see link to Days Inn here]

Breakfast will be at the hotel, lunches will be at cafes/restaurants/fast food on our route, and dinner will be on your own. We will have a “Pizza Party” with videos one evening of the weekend.

Registration includes 2 free North Woods Naturalist field guides (books), a 12-month membership to FOSZB, two days of field birding in Sax-Zim Bog, Duluth, North Shore and Lake County Minnesota, evening programs on both Saturday and Sunday evenings, and travel during the day.
(Lodging, meals, travel to and from your home are not included in the price).

Questions? email Sparky at sparky@saxzim.org
Hope to see you there!          



The 10 participants were literally from across the country as we had Jeff from Seattle, Michele from Massachusetts, Val from Maryland, Christine from Pennsylvania. Also attending were Melia from the Twin Cities, Mandy and Kirk from Madison, Wisconsin, Beth from Cross Lake, MN, Bruce from Duluth, and Donna from beautiful downtown Twig, Minnesota.

We packed a lot into our 12 hour days! Day 1 saw us up in the Bog all day. We had a fun picnic lunch at the Welcome Center and dinner at the Wilbert Cafe.

Day 2 took us to Duluth and up the Shore to Two Harbors then inland to Isabella and the Superior National Forest. We stopped at Tettegouche’s visitor center and ended the day in Superior Wisconsin.

To end the workshop, we had delivered pizza and pop in the Day’s Inn breakfast nook while we watched Sparky’s bog videos. A great time!

Here is the birds we saw each day. 36 species total. Highlights were 8 different owls, King Eider, 150 Bohemian waxwings at close range, 7 Sharp-tailed Grouse on the lek, Black-backed Woodpecker and flock of White-winged Crossbills at Warren Woessner Bog Boardwalk, Boreal Chickadees and many male Pine Grosbeaks.

FRIDAY January 11 (Sax-Zim Bog)

Ruffed Grouse

Sharp-tailed Grouse (7 on Racek lek)

Wild Turkey (Mary Lou’s feeders)

Rock Pigeon

Bald Eagle

Northern Goshawk (in flight on Stickney)

Snowy Owl (adult male)

Great Gray Owl (2…Zim Road and Yoki Road)

Northern Hawk Owl (McDavitt Road)

Black-backed Woodpecker (female; Warren Woessner Bog Boardwalk at the Warren Nelson Memorial Bog)

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Shrike

Canada Jay

Black-billed Magpie

Blue Jay

Common Raven 

American Crow

Black-capped Chickadee

Boreal Chickadee (several; Admiral Road feeders)

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Brown Creeper

European Starling

Evening Grosbeak (many)

Pine Grosbeak (many)

Common Redpoll

White-winged Crossbill (Warren Woessner Bog Boardwalk)

Pine Siskin

House Sparrow

Saturday, January 12, 2019 (Duluth, Lake Superior, Two Harbors, Hwy 2 to Hwy 1, Isabella, Silver Bay and North Shore, Superior, Wisconsin)


American Black Duck

Common Goldeneye

Red-breasted Merganser (couple dozen; Agate Bay, Two Harbors)

King Eider (first year male; mouth of Lester River on Lake Superior, Duluth)

Rock Pigeon

Herring Gull

Bald Eagle

Snowy Owl (4 in Superior near Middle School and airport and curling club)

Common Raven

Blue Jay

Bohemian waxwings (about 150 on West Knife River Road)

Pine Grosbeak