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Birding at Alesches

  Pine Grosbeak
  Great Gray Owl (Photo by Judd Brink)

Alesches' is located near the Sax-Zim Bog, which is an Important bird area in St. Louis County in north eastern Minnesota.  The Sax-Zim Bog is defined as the area bounded on the south by St. Louis County Road 133, on the north by County Road 27, on the west by County Road 5, and on the east by US Highway 53.

This well-known bog of mixed hardwoods and Tamarack/ Black Spruce covers nearly 150,000 square miles.  The number of species listed for the Sax-Zim Bog currently stands at an impressive 240 birds.  The bog attracts many in state and out of state birders looking for Great-Gray Owl, Northern-hawk Owl, Boreal Owl, Black-backed Woodpecker and Pine Grosbeak among the many other rarities that can be found here throughout the year. During the owl irruption in 2004-2005 over 450 Great-gray Owls were counted during a single January weekend. Winter is typically the best time to see owls and other winter visitors.  This time of year also allows for better access into the bog looking for birds.  Black-billed Magpies nest here and can be found throughout the year and is the most eastern population.  A link for the bird checklist for the bog is below.   


For the purposes of this checklist, the four seasons are defined as:

Spring = April - May
Summer = June - July
Fall = August - November
Winter = December – March

For a map of the bog with birding locations for year round birding.  


The 11th Annual Sax-Zim Birding Festival

  Sax Zim Bird Fest
  Sax-Zim Birding Festival (Photo by Judd Brink)

February 16-18, 2018 - Meadowlands, Minnesota

Featured Speakers:
Friday, February 16 @ 6 PM - Birds of the Bog: Fight or Flight?
By Alexis Grinde

This talk will focus on the unique ecology of bogs and the important habitats they provide for birds throughout the year. Boreal Chickadees and Connecticut Warblers will be highlighted. Challenges and opportunities for conservation of “birds of the bog” will also be discussed.

Alexis Grinde is a wildlife ecologist at the Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth. Her research focuses on conservation ecology of birds and studies the impacts of environmental change on wildlife and biodiversity. Applications of her research include providing recommendations for conservation plans for species of conservation concern.

Saturday, February 17 @ 6 PM - Birds Below Zero: Winter Survival Strategies of our Bog Birds
Special Presentation by Laura Erickson
Temperatures at double digits below zero are not unusual in the Sax-Zim Bog in winter. Yet just millimeters from the frigid air, a chickadee’s beating heart maintains a temperature of 104–108 degrees! How do birds, from Great Gray Owls down to those tiny chickadees, keep their body temperatures high to thrive in a Minnesota winter?

For a complete schedule of events, click here to visit the festival website.

For the past 11 years the area has held the Sax-Zim winter birding festival providing birders from around the world an opportunity to experience birding in a frozen bog.  Please see the links below for more information about the Sax-Zim Bog birding festival and how you can join us.  This birding festival was featured in the New York Times in 2012, here is the link for the article.


Alesches' provides accommodations for the Sax-Zim festival and for birders visiting the area throughout the year, including fully furnished units with full kitchen, dining areas, living room and WIFI.

Alesches' Accommodations comes highly recommended by professional birding guide Judd Brink and many others who have been our guests for the festival. Click here to view available units.

To reserve accommodations for the Sax-Zim Birding Festival or your next birding trip, please contact Alesches at (218) 427-2122  by email.

  Sax-Zim Welcome Center
  Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center
  Mega Bird Feeder

Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center for Birders and Photographers!

The Friends of Sax-Zim Bog is a nonprofit organization to support, promote and protect the Sax-Zim Bog Important Bird Area (IBA).  The new welcome center opened in 2014.  It is a “green building” that provides a place to warm up, receive birding updates, view bird feeders and also includes a restroom.


Our Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center on Owl Avenue continues to serve as a Gateway to the Bog. The Welcome Center is open and staffed daily mid-December through mid-March. The building is open 7-days per week from 10am to 3pm.

The Welcome Center is a place to find out about the latest bird sightings, thaw out, warm up with some hot cider, but a t-shirt or other souvenir,  and use the outhouse. Over 20 bird feeders are on the grounds with a great diversity of birds visiting them.

For more information about the center and bog, visit the Friends of Sax-Zim site at www.saxzim.org.

Judd Brink, is also the owner of MN Backyard Birds a business that offers birdscaping in central Minnesota.  Pictured at right is one of several bird feeders installed at the new Welcome Center that attracts Pine and Evening Grosbeaks and many other bog birds. Enjoy and happy birding!




  Judd Brink
  Judd Brink, Sax-Zim Guide

Birding Links


Above photos and text provided by Judd Brink unless otherwise noted.  Judd Brink (pictured at right) is the Owner and Guide of MN Backyard Birds and one of the guides for Alesches guests and the Sax-Zim area.  For guiding info and availability please contact Judd Brink at (218) 838-4784 by email info@birdminnesota.com or visit BirdMinnesota.com









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