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

Northern Hawk Owls

Where do they Come from? Where do they Go?

University of Minnesota Duluth graduate student Hannah Toutonghi is focusing on the winter ecology of Northern Hawk Owls. Friends of Sax-Zim Bog is helping to fund this important research. Hannah is the lead researcher and working in collaboration with Frank Nicoletti and Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory.

The winter range and overall movements of this species is a big mystery, and this project will gather valuable data on hawk owls that will be used to better understand and conserve this enigmatic species of the boreal forest. 

We don’t know if the Northern Hawk Owls we see in winter in Sax-Zim breed in Alaska or Manitoba or far northern Minnesota (or in Sax-Zim!) but we want to find out. And this research project will help us find the answer. Satellite and Cellular trackers will be placed on several Hawk Owls in Sax-Zim this winter. We will then be able to track their movements on a daily basis.

The Northern Hawk Owl caught and fitted with a transmitter in Sax-Zim Bog on March 10th 2023 was an adult male, and wandered around the greater bog area and Cloquet Valley until April 14th. It moved northwest and arrived in the Red Lake area on April 19th. It spent 5 days in between lower Red Lake and upper Red Lake, then moved farther north until we lost contact with the unit on May 10th. He moved a total of 410 kilometers! Fingers crossed this bird comes back to the bog in the winter and downloads all of its data. Thanks to Friends of Sax-Zim Bog and all other supporters for supporting this project!

Below is a map showing the movements of the owl and the total trajectory north: