Northern Minnesota Winter Weekend: Feb 02—06, 2017

Register for WaitlistTour Details

Price: $1,595
Departs: Duluth
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (76.8 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Erik Bruhnke

Erik Bruhnke has had a love for birds since he was a child. He graduated from Northland Coll...


Rafael Galvez

Rafael Galvez has been birding and illustrating birds since childhood, a dual passion that d...

More Information

Register for the Waiting List

This departure is sold out! Add your name to the waiting list, or inquire about this tour by calling our office (1-800-328-VENT or 512-328-5221), or emailing us (

Spruce Grouse

Spruce Grouse— Photo: Kevin Zimmer

A brief and unique opportunity to experience the Great North Woods during the depths of winter, as we seek northern owls, winter finches, and other birds of northern latitudes seldom seen in most parts of the United States.

A winter tour of northern Minnesota may not appeal to the average tourist, but Duluth and vicinity during the coldest months of the year has long been an attractive site for visiting birders. Although an average trip list of birds may only include some 40 species, it is not unusual for as many as half of these to be life birds for someone in the group.

Even a relatively quiet and uneventful winter for birding holds the likelihood of finding such northern specialties as Ruffed Grouse, Thayer’s and Glaucous gulls, Snowy Owl, Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Bohemian Waxwing, Snow Bunting, Pine and Evening grosbeaks, Red or White-winged crossbills, and Common Redpoll. Additionally, a winter with more typical bird populations offers a fair to even good chance of seeing Harlequin Duck, Northern Goshawk, a Spruce or Sharp-tailed grouse, Iceland Gull, both Northern Hawk and Great Gray owls, American Three-toed Woodpecker, and Hoary Redpoll. And more than one of these tours in recent years have turned up Gyrfalcon and Boreal Owl. Normal January weather means afternoon high temperatures in the upper teens, and, given sunshine and minimal wind, such conditions will be entirely tolerable to most visitors and almost pleasant to residents.

This unique tour offers not just the possibility of northern owls, grouse, winter finches, and other highly sought specialties, but also includes the memorable experience of spending a few days exploring remote bogs and vast boreal forests during the depths of winter.

No hotel change involved; below zero temperatures likely, but all the birding is from or near the warmth of the van; mostly driving and roadside birding with little hiking; relatively short birding days and bird list.