Minnesota & North Dakota Jun 01—10, 2018

Posted by Erik Bruhnke


Erik Bruhnke

Erik Bruhnke has loved birds since he was a child looking at chickadees. In 2008 he graduated from Northland College in Wisconsin with a Natural Resources degree. Erik taug...

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VENT’s Minnesota & North Dakota tour combines a broad spectrum of vast scenery with incredible bird life and a great deal of locally-sourced cuisine. This birding adventure delves deep into the boreal forest, as well as the core of the prairie potholes, a unique region of the northern prairies.

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbird— Photo: Erik Bruhnke


After savoring fresh-caught walleye and a rotating 360° view overlooking Duluth on our first evening, we ventured into the renowned Sax-Zim Bog for a brief jaunt of birding. The horizons of aspen and black spruce trees welcomed us to northern Minnesota. Numerous “fitz bews” of the Alder Flycatcher were heard along the roadside. We started the tour on an exceptional note with mammal observations that included not only an American Beaver paddling around in the water but also a North American Porcupine dining on tree bark! The air was cool and calm, smelling of sweet bog. The sense of place was incredible, and we had only birded an hour together. 

An early departure took us up to the Superior National Forest. Mixed old growth woodlands sheltered warblers and provided plentiful food for the many nesting birds. Ancient white pines and red pines towered into the sky. Our first bird of the day was a Tennessee Warbler, singing proudly atop “his” boreal neighborhood. Chestnut-sided Warblers and Blackburnian Warblers flitted energetically among the leafed-out branches in search of breakfast. Several Mourning Warblers belted out their songs from the thickets, while one male was oddly observed atop a spruce tree. The Blue-headed Vireos brought smiles to our faces as both kinglet species called nearby. There were so many birds all over the forest! White Pine Campground brought forth a dapper male Northern Parula as Yellow-rumped Warblers serenaded each other. In the afternoon we birded down the scenic North Shore of Lake Superior, visiting several vistas both in the town of Two Harbor and along the world’s longest freshwater peninsula, Park Point.

Read Erik’s full report in his Field Report.