Minnesota: Key Bird Guides
Sparky Stensaas, Eric Bruhnke, and Norm Lewis
Sparky Stensaas is one of our favorite bird guides in Minnesota. Sparky started watching birds in Minnesota when he was in junior high, when he identified his first Northern Flicker. Since then he has been watching birds and wildlife, and he is now a professional photographer and bird guide.
After graduating from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 1985 with a Biology/American Indian Studies degree, Sparky worked at a string of naturalist jobs including at Minnesota's Gooseberry Falls State Park, Jay Cooke State Park and Hawk Ridge. He was also a ranger with the National Park Service at Grand Portage National Monument and a canoe guide in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Over the last decade, he and several other naturalists developed the Stone Ridge Press, sharing their love of nature and birds with others through photography and writing. Sparky has written four books on natural history, including birding. Though Sparky’s publishing focuses on Minnesota, he is also exploring the other great wild areas preserved in our National Parks with Yellowstone National Park being one of his favorites.
Sparky has worked as a professional bird guide for over a decade and loves showing birders the owls and other specialty species of the Minnesota Winter.
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Eric Bruhnke is another one of our excellent guides in Duluth. Besides appreciating his bird finding abilities, this young guide has impressed his peers with his enthusiasm, energy and love for nature and birds.
After completing his degree in Natural Resources at Northland College, he has spent the last four years doing non-stop field work, sharpening his abilities to help you find the birds you have come to Minnesota to see. He has been in the field on a variety of projects including the
Oregon Coast, prairie potholes of North Dakota, and the boreal forests of northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. Besides working as a professional, he also has completed a number of volunteer projects throughout Lake Superior.
Eric gives regular birding workshops and presentations locally and has worked at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory throughout the past four fall seasons, and he is planning to return this fall. He has also taught two field ornithology classes.
Most of his bird guiding takes place in the northern half of Minnesota and Wisconsin, where he takes his clients to locations where Great Gray Owls are found year-round, where Northern Hawk Owls are regular winter visitors, where Connecticut and sixteen other warbler
species can be found (and all in one day in the Spring of 2012), and Boreal Chickadees and Gray Jays breed. Plus, Eric will help you find any of those other specialties and surprises you are looking for.
Norm Lewis has guided numerous birding tours across North America, including multiple trips to Southeast Arizona, Alaska, Florida, the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, the Upper Texas Coast, California, Nebraska and the Platte River Valley, North Carolina, New Mexico and elsewhere.
Indiana is his home state, where his brother taught him about bird watching.
For over twenty years he has led monthly trips across Colorado for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Recently, he has hosted a trip to Costa Rica, Ecuador and several other of our South American destinations.
Norm is always good for a quick and tricky identification. He is always helpful with a quick lesson on the finer points of bird identification in the field.
Norm is the Past-President of the Colorado Field Ornithologists and a Research Associate in the Department of Zoology with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.