Winter Birding in Minnesota

December 12-15, 2022

Known among birders as THE place to find northern owls and finches in winter, the Sax-Zim Bog offers a ‘magic mix’ of habitats that attracts a unique array of species not found in other parts of the United States. Located about 45 minutes north of Duluth, MN and Lake Superior, Sax-Zim offers excellent chances to glimpse boreal specialties including Northern Hawk Owl, Snowy Owl, Common and Hoary Redpolls, Ruffed Grouse, Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, and Great Gray Owl, North America’s tallest owl and a crowd favorite. Nicknamed the ‘Arctic Riviera’ by in-the-know local guides, the bog is about as far south as these boreal specialties get in the lower 48. 

Sax-Zim’s winter mix of seasonal migrants is unmatched. In addition to visiting Sax-Zim Bog, we’ll explore North Shore and Superior, Wisconsin hotspots.

Get ready for Minnesota’s winter birding wonderland!


Day 1 (Mon, Dec 12): Denver/ Minneapolis/ Duluth ~ Mid-morning arrival to Minneapolis. After picking up our rental vehicle, we’ll drive to the Duluth/ North Shore area for our first round of birding. Evening check in to our hotel. The Inn on Lake Superior, our home for the next three nights, is located in the heart of Canal Park right on Lake Superior. Get to know your fellow birders and discuss birding strategies during tonight’s welcome dinner.

Accommodations: The Inn on Lake Superior

Meals: Dinner

Estimated drive times today: MSP Airport to Superior, WI – 2.5 hrs; Superior, WI to Duluth, MN – 30 mins

Days 2-3 (Tues, Dec 13 – Wed, Dec 14) – Duluth/ Sax-Zim Bog/ Lake Superior ~ Early morning departures from Duluth for full days of birding at Sax-Zim Bog and other area hotspots. Exact locations will depend on recent sightings and group’s interests.

Accommodations: The Inn on Lake Superior

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch both days; Farewell Dinner on Wednesday

Estimated drive times: Variable; Duluth to Sax-Zim Bog – 45 mins; Duluth to Two Harbors – 35 mins 

Day 4 (Thurs, Dec 30) – Duluth/ Minneapolis/ Departure ~ We have the morning to continue birding in the area. Afternoon return to Minneapolis in time to connect to evening flight home.

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch


Price: $1395* per person based on two people sharing double occupancy accommodations. If you prefer private accommodations, add $290*.

Inclusions: accommodations, private transportation starting and ending at MSP International Airport, two trip leaders, activities, and meals as listed in the itinerary.

Exclusions: flights, one dinner, optional gratuities, and travel insurance.

Group size: five to six + two leaders. We are known for having smaller group sizes with a better birder to guide ratio than most companies offering similar itineraries. This trip also starts and ends in Minneapolis so that there are more flight options to choose from.