Minnesota Birding: Reports

A trip outdoors in February offers a chance to see many owls not normally seen when leaves fill the trees. Look for snowy, boreal, great gray and northern hawk-owls. Lakes and rivers with open water this time of year are often filled with Canada geese, trumpeter swans and mallards–look closely and you may also see common goldeneyes, American mergansers and American black ducks.whitebirchresort.net

The following information has been provided courtesy of the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union and their affiliates. This report is brought to you by ExploreMinnesota.com.

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The following is a list of recent, significant sightings:

In the northeast region of Minnesota, a Townsend’s Solitaire was found on February 2 by Dave Grosshuesch at the Grand Marais Forest Service office along Minnesota Highway 61 on the west side of town. There was also a second-hand report of a Hermit Thrush coming to a feeder in Grand Marais, but the specific address in not available. At least 500 Bohemian Waxwings were seen at the municipal campground on January 31.

The Northern Hawk Owl at Gooseberry Falls State Park was relocated on January 30 along Minnesota Highway 61 at the Gooseberry River. An American Three-Toed Woodpecker continues to be seen northeast of Isabella along Sawbill Landing Road, 0.8 of a mile north of Forest Route 172. Mike Hendrickson saw two Black-Backed Woodpeckers on January 29 one mile north of here in a burned area near the Trapper’s Lake access.

The Snowy Owl north of Aitkin at County Road 1 and County Road 22 was relocated on the 29th and again on the 1st. Warren Nelson saw a Great Gray Owl on January 29 on Pietz’s Road, 0.2 of a mile north of Aitkin County Road 18.

Two Great Gray Owls were seen by Sparky Stensaas on the 31st in the Sax-Zim Bog along McDavitt Road, a.k.a. County Road 233, 2.5 to 3 miles north of Sax Road, a.k.a. County Road 28. Evening Grosbeaks and a Hoary Redpoll are being seen at the Blue Spruce Road feeders, one mile north of County Road 133.

Iceland Gulls, Great Black-Backed Gulls, Glaucous Gulls, and Thayer’s Gulls continue to be seen at Canal Park. Several observers saw an impressive total of 18 Glaucous Gulls at Canal Park on January 30.

Larry Wilebski in Kittson County observed a Sharp-Shinned Hawk which caught a bird that flew into their window in Lancaster. A Northern Cardinal still comes to the feeder at his cabin northwest of Lancaster.

Lynda Knutsen at Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge in Marshall County reported a Black-Billed Magpie and Common Redpolls among other birds at her feeders on February 2. A Rough-Legged Hawk and a Bald Eagle have recently been sighted on the refuge, and two groups of Sharp-Tailed Grouse were seen north and west of the refuge.

In Polk County, Sandy Aubol observed a Great Horned Owl, and a Northern Cardinal at her home in East Grand Forks. She reported that as of February 1, the Eastern Towhee, two Harris’s Sparrows, and a White-Throated Sparrow were still coming to her feeders, along with about 25-30 Common Redpolls.

From Otter Tail County, Jody Doll reported that the Snowy Owl was still being seen roughly 2.8 miles north of Ottertail on County Road 78. Roland Jordahl in Pelican Rapids reported Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Northern Cardinal, Dark-Eyed Junco, and Common Redpolls. At Maplewood State Park he saw Bald Eagle, Northern Shrike, and Barred Owl. Prairie Lake has been a resting spot for Trumpeter Swans and Canada Geese.

Information in this statewide birding report is provided by the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union (MOU), Minnesota’s oldest and largest bird club. To submit a bird sighting, email the MOU birding report compiler at rba@moumn.org.

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