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Short Trips for Target Birds Series

MINNESOTA: Winter Boreal Specialties

MINNESOTA Northern Hawk Owl 2000 1 BINNS IMG_6497 copy


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2020 :: February 20 - February 24
2021 :: February 25: 11:15 AM - March 1 12:15 PM
2022 :: February 24 - February 28


From: $1,500 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Duluth, Minnesota. (DLH)


3 - 10 Participants


2020: 7 spaces available
2021: 10 spaces available
2022: 10 spaces available


This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of MINNESOTA: Winter Boreal Specialties

  • Brilliant Boreal Birding!
  • Great Gray Owl, Boreal Owl, Northern Hawk Owl and Snowy Owl
  • Boreal specialties include Spruce Grouse, Pine Grosbeak, American Three-toed Woodpecker and Hoary Redpoll

Description of MINNESOTA: Winter Boreal Specialties

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!

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Length of Tour


Brief Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive in Duluth – Scouting / Orientation.

Days 2 – 4 – Birding many locations, including the Sax Zim Bog, from dawn to dusk.

Day 5 – Return Home.

Note: This tour uses a single hotel for the entire trip.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival

Arrive in Duluth, MN late morning or early afternoon with time to enjoy some location scouting and trip orientation. Prepare for a fun few days of seeking owls!

Days 2 – 4 – Birding / Exploration

During these three days we will enjoy many birding opportunities with owls and other species, visiting many top locations, including the well-known Sax-Zim Bog.

We will explore northern bog habitats, boreal forests and open prairies in search of our quarry, from dawn to dusk! Remember, the days are short in winter!

Day 5 – Return Home

Departures in late afternoon so we have a final morning in the field!

Cost Details


Cost is $1,500 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Duluth, Minnesota. (Airport code DLH).
This trip ends in same as arrival city (Airport code DLH).

Cost Includes

Cost includes airport transfers, all ground transportation, accomodations, entrance fees and services of your professional leader(s).

Cost does not Include

All meals, flights to/from destination city, trip insurance, or anything that is not specifically mentioned in the itinerary.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of participants registered, the trip can still run with a small-group supplement fee per person determined by the number of participants.

Single Supplement

If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $200 will be assessed.

Deposit Requirements

A $500 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.


One standard hotel for 4 nights. Breakfast is included in the cost of the hotel.

Activity Level

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

Most of our birding will be done from the vehicle or close by. There will be very little walking, though any walking will likely be on snow-covered and /or icy terrain.

Additional Information


We will use large SUVs for this tour for both safety in snow as well as comfort. Each SUV will transport driver/guide plus 5 participants. Therefore, if less than 6 participants register, Alex Lamoreaux will be the only leader. However, If 6 or more register for this trip, Chris Brown will be added as a second leader.

Recommended Field Guide

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of North America (2nd Edition, 2016, Knopf)
by David Allen Sibley

Also available as an App

Climate / Weather

Minnesota in winter can be cold! Temperatures are often below 0F and windchills can be well into the minus’. The ground will be frozen and likely snow-covered, which will limit walking. Most of our birding will be done from the roadside with occasional short walks. The terrain therefore can be uneven and icy.


Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

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