Minnesota provides a wonderfully-rewarding experience to birders who venture into frigid, snow-covered landscapes during the wintertime. A short tour of the northern part of the state highlights quality over quantity, looking for elusive owls and other seasonal specialties.
Northern owls are a big attraction, especially during irruption cycles. Though occurrences vary widely from year to year, peak years may showcase exciting daytime encounters of Great Gray Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Barred and Snowy Owls. Boreal Owl sightings are uncommon, recorded less than annually.
Traversing remote rural roads, touring black spruce-tamarack forests, and exploring the famous Sax-Zim Bog, we’ll look for Black-backed and American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Boreal Chickadee, Gray Jay, and Northern Shrike. We’ll visit local bird feeders to look for Hoary Redpolls amidst Common Redpolls and lively Black-capped Chickadees. Pine and Evening Grosbeaks, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Pine Siskins and Purple Finches may also frequent feeders. With luck, we’ll catch sight of an American Marten slinking from a feeder where it grabs a quick meal!
We enjoy seeing Spruce Grouse stalk quiet forests, and Sharp-tailed Grouse foraging in open, snowy fields. We’ll scan the tops of conifers for Red and White-winged Crossbills, and check berry-laden bushes for flocks of hungry Bohemian Waxwings.
Sparkling scenery dotted with picturesque barns and frozen lakes inspires photographers, birders, and nature-lovers alike. Our short tour in February yields great appreciation for a harsh, beautiful climate. Join us for this unique experience of winter avian specialties in Minnesota!