Super Bowl done, now for superb owls at Sax-Zim Bog

The Sax-Zim Birding Festival is Feb. 12-14 in Meadowlands, spilling out into the entire Sax-Zim Bog. (PHOTO GRAPHIC based on images by Saibbi and Alan Weir, Flickr CC)

The Sax-Zim Birding Festival is Feb. 12-14 in Meadowlands, spilling out into the entire Sax-Zim Bog. (PHOTO GRAPHIC based on images by Saibbi and Alan Weir, Flickr CC)

The 9th Annual Sax-Zim Bog Birding Festival starts Friday, Feb. 12 and runs through Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. It provides serious and casual birders alike a unique opportunity to see great gray owls, northern owls, pine grosbeaks and many other wintering species.

The IRRRB’s Lee Bloomquist published an article on the Sax-Zim Bog Birding Festival in the agency’s most recent newsletter:

“It a really big event that brings people in from all over,” said Jeff Kletscher, Sax-Zim Birding Festival coordinator. “And typically, 65 to 70 percent of the people who attend are people who haven’t been to the festival before.”

The Sax-Zim Bog, located between the Iron Range and Duluth near Meadowlands, has become one of the nation’s top year-round birding locations.

Since the winter festival began, bird watchers have arrived from 39 states, Australia, Philippines, Italy, and the United Kingdom, to participate in festival activities.

The festival includes field trips to the Sax-Zim Bog, birding areas in Lake County, Duluth and Superior, special speakers and an open-to-the-public Audubon Center of the North Naturalists presentation at 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13. A vendor and artists’ area and a buffet breakfast on Feb. 13 and 14, are also open to the public.

Many festival events will be held at Meadowlands Community Center.

However, the Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center, open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week until mid-March, will also be a hub of activity, said Spark Stensaas, Friends of the Sax-Zim Bog executive director.

“There’s been nice flocks of pine grosbeaks on a daily basis and on occasion people have been seeing a great gray owl on Owl Avenue just south of the welcome center,” said Stensaas. “We invite people to stop in at the welcome center and get the latest sitings.”

The festival promises to again be a quality event for birders, said Kletscher.

“People come up here from Texas, California and Florida and really enjoy themselves,” said Kletscher. “It could be 25 below up here, but they get to see a lot of special creatures.”

I grew up in the Sax-Zim Bog in a trailer house on my family’s junkyard. While my immediate surroundings weren’t particularly “natural” (lots of black smoke and oil drums), I remember the sounds of birds and the haunting silence of the frozen winter bog. Now that I live in the country on the other side of the Iron Range I wish I had paid more attention to the birds instead of shooting at them with a BB gun. Fortunately I was a terrible shot.

One of the things that comes over you when you live in the country is the way nature washes over the land in waves. I believe that philosophies like what you find in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 has more to do with this than we think: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven …”

We are fortunate to live in a place where these seasons revolve in vivid colors and unmistakable winds of change.

Enjoy the Sax-Zim Bog Birding festival!

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.