Sax-Zim Bog is a wonderful location for viewing northern specialty birds such as Great Gray Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Evening and Pine Grosbeaks, Canada Jay (fka Gray Jay), Boreal Owl, Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, and Common and Hoary Redpolls in the winter months. In the summer, the Bog is prime habitat for the breeding Connecticut Warblers and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, amongst many others!
Contact me to schedule your trip to the Bog!
Rates: I charge $300 for a full day of birding, plus $50 for each additional person up to 3 (gratuity not included). For larger groups, please contact me about rates and vehicles.
Transportation: Often, the best option is for me to drive a vehicle that you provide - either your personal car or a rental that you add me as an additional driver. I have a small car that we can use - I charge an additional fee for using my vehicle, if a small car will suffice for space and snow capability (obviously, this depends on the weather and the size of your group). I am also willing to rent a larger car from an agency - in that case I charge exactly what it costs me (including the car rental and gas). Please note that while the roads in the Bog are generally well-plowed and normally special vehicles are not required - a vehicle (and driver) that can handle snow covered roads is an important consideration in the winter. I am also happy to guide while you drive.
Birding: Let me know your target birds, and I will work out an itinerary that maximizes our chance of encountering your priorities. Also, please let me know if you are interested in a traditional birding tour or if you are more interested in photography. Birding in Sax-Zim Bog is generally done from a vehicle- this is a big place, and driving around is simply the most effective way to cover the area and find where the birds are. There are several areas with feeder arrays that we will likely visit, depending on what you are looking for and what species are currently favoring which locations. There are a few areas where you can go for a hike if you have the proper gear (good winter boots at a minimum, and snowshoes are often required for any extensive off-road activity). Please note that the density of birds in the boreal forest in the winter is quite low - so covering lots of area in a car is often the most effective option for seeing birds (not to mention that the car can help keep us warm!). The Friends of Sax-Zim Bog has built boardwalks at the Warren Nelson Memorial Bog, Winterberry Bog, and Fringed Gentian Bog that have quickly become favorite birding locations that have hosted some prized species.
Summer: Summer target birds for many people include Connecticut Warbler, LeConte's Sparrow, and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. Be prepared for the many flying insects and to use your ears to help find birds! Rubber boots are recommended, especially if you want to see rather than just hear certain species.
Other areas: Northern Minnesota also offers many good birds beyond what can be found in the Bog itself - other areas include Duluth/Superior, the North Shore, and the Superior National Forest that may be better suited for particular species you are looking for.
Sightings disclaimer: As every birder knows, sightings cannot be guaranteed - these are wild animals, and many are quite shy, or active only in particular weather. I endeavor to get you every species you desire in great light at a good distance for an extended time, but inevitably, everything won't fall into place perfectly every time. In particular, the weather can dictate what species are possible. It is usually best to book two or three days to give yourself the best chance to see your priority birds.
I am excited to show you the avian wonders of Minnesota! Please contact me to schedule your experience! Please let me know what particularly you are looking for - whether there are certain species you are targeting, if photography is an interest, or if you'd like to go do more or less walking (or snowshoeing).