Northern Minnesota

Black-backed Woodpecker by Alan Lenk

Owls & Winter Finches

January 19-24, 2025

Pine Grosbeak Photo by Alan Lenk

Your place on this Venture is reserved when your completed registration form and deposit of $500/person has been received. Deposit may be made via the ‘book now’ button above, or by contacting the Ventures office. We accept credit cards for an additional fee (2.9% for MC, Visa, Discover; 3.9% for AmEx), but you may also pay by bank transfer, cash, check, or money order (payable to ‘VENTURES BIRDING’) sent to PO Box 1095, Skyland, NC 28776. This Venture is limited to 8 participants

Cost of the Minnesota Venture $1,995 per person from Minneapolis, based on double occupancy; (Single supplement $450) Price includes: Van transportation, all accommodation, taxes, all meals, information packet, bird checklist, and guide/leader service throughout Not included: Airfare, alcoholic beverages, laundry, and other items of a personal nature

A trip to northern Minnesota in the dead of winter may beggar belief for the average person, but for birders, this is the best time of year to see the highly-sought after northern owls (Great Gray, Snowy, Northern Hawk, and sometimes Boreal and Northern Saw-whet). The list of winter finches adds additional highlights with Common & Hoary Redpolls, Pine & Evening Grosbeaks, and Red Crossbill all likely. Winter provides a much better chance of seeing things like Spruce Grouse in addition to the expected gamut of Canada Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Bohemian Waxwing and more. We will also be on the lookout for any mammals, with moose and gray wolf both being possible.

Our 5-day trip will explore the snowy boreal forests, tamarack bogs, and Superior shoreline of the far north from our base in Duluth. The famous Sax-Zim Bog is home to many of our target species and we will likely spend the better part of two days driving many of the backroads of this fantastic area. Make no mistake about it – the temperatures will be frigid (sub-zero temperatures are likely at some point during the tour) and wintry conditions (which vary year to year) can make things difficult, but by dressing and preparing properly you will find the northern winter manageable, if not enjoyable. Due to the variable nature of the weather and sporadic abundance of some of our targets, our itinerary will remain flexible to give us the best chance of finding them as well as any rarities that might be around.

Some of the Birds We Hope to See

Common & Red-breasted Mergansers, Harlequin Duck, Common Goldeneye, Great Gray, Boreal, Snowy, and Northern Hawk Owls, Bald Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk, Ruffed, Spruce and Sharp-tailed Grouse, Ring-necked Pheasant, Three-toed and Hairy Woodpeckers, Common Raven, Canada Jay, Black-billed Magpie, Northern Shrike, Bohemian Waxwing, Red-breasted Nuthatch, American Tree Sparrow, Pine and Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Siskin, Common and Hoary Redpolls, Snow Bunting, and a selection of gulls (Iceland, Glaucous, Herring, and maybe more) and a few other goodies that might be in the area!