Minnesota Owls and More
Overview of the Trip
Day 1:  Arrival into Minneapolis by 10 AM.  We find everyone
prefers the Minneapolis start, though you can fly into Duluth
(but no real savings in time).  We then spend the
afternoon
birding at
Sax-Zim Bog and maybe one more site, likely
starting out with 2 or 3 owl species.
Day 2:  Bird Sax-Zim Bog:  More owls, winter finches and
grouse (at dusk, Boreal Owl).
Day 3:  Birding Northern Lake County:  Spruce Grouse
and more owls and finches.
Day 4. Bird Aitkin County and Other Sites:  Sharp-tailed
Grouse, try for any missed key species, and wintering gulls.
Day 5.  AM birding for any missed species and/or other
surprises; after noon flights home (after 12:00 noon).

Important Note:  If there are any Gyrfalcons reported near
Duluth and/or any reliable sites for Boreal Owl, we will
change some of the plans above to accommodate viewing
the Gyrfalcon and the Boreal Owls.  This will either add a
tough to get species and/or reduce our birding at dusk.

Note on Flights:  See link for more detailed itinerary below.
Please contact us prior to booking your flight, or you may
end up paying additional lodging and transfer costs.
Brief Itinerary
Trip Description
Minnesota Owls & More
Photo by Bill Schmoker
For more information or to register for this trip, call Charles toll free at
888-203-7464 or Charles directly at 720-320-1974 or by email at
info@PIBird.com.
More Details on This Trip
In 2013, we hope that Boreal Owl, Redpolls and other finch
species will be irrupting into northeast Minnesota,
complementing the existing owling and winter birding in the
area.  Good owl irruption years occur about every 4 years,
and we are due for a good year in 2012/2013.  The best
months to look for owls and other winter birds in Minnesota
have always been January and February.  

By mid-January (and hopefully earlier), we ought to have a
good idea about the owl irruption and about how successful
the trip will be.  If it looks like a good year, we will let
everyone know that they need to start to buy plane tickets
for the trip.  Our trips are planned for the later weeks in
January and February in 2013.
    Note:  If it looks like a poor year, we will refund your
    trip deposit and cancel the trip.  We will not take you to
    Minnesota in winter for a non-productive birding trip.  
    Let's all hope for a good irruption year.

Besides Northern Hawk Owl, Great Gray Owl and Snowy Owl,
northeast Minnesota is also well known for other bird species.
  • We will make plans to find Spruce Grouse, Sharp-
    tailed Grouse, Ruffed Grouse, Northern Goshawk and
    Rough-legged Hawk.  Occasionally, Gyrfalcons over-
    winter in the harbor area.  
  • Plenty of interesting gulls, like Thayer's Gull, Glaucous
    Gull and Iceland Gull, can be found.  We may also find
    (with a reasonable level of luck) Slaty-backed Gull,
    Greater Black-backed Gull and Lesser Black-backed
    Gull.  
  • Winter finches, like Evening Grosbeak and Pine
    Grosbeak, Hoary Redpoll, Common Redpoll, Pine
    Siskin, White-winged Crossbill and Red Crossbill, can
    often be found.  Some of these finches are abundant
    and other species are low in numbers; however, when
    the food supply falls short north of Minnesota, more of
    these harder to get species show up in good
    numbers.  
  • Bohemian Waxwing, Northern Shrike, Boreal
    Chickadee and Gray Jay are also found in the winter
    season here, and we should find all four of these
    species.  We could also find Varied Thrush and
    Townsend Solitaire.
  • Besides these regulars and strays from an irruption
    year, we may find some sea duck that never migrated
    east, including any of the scoters and maybe a Long-
    tailed Duck.

Last year, we ran three trips, even though Boreal Owl did not
show up.  Everyone picked up plenty of new birds, and found
the trip worthwhile.
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Photo by Bill Schmoker