Christmas bird counts, annual local winter bird censuses, are being held throughout Minnesota, and across the country and Canada. Working within a defined area, volunteers tally species and total numbers of iindividuals. Comparisons year to year are valued for population information.


Results for the Sax-Zim bog count, taken Monday, Dec. 19, are interesting because the bog is internationally known for its winter birds, both local boreal species and those moving down from Canada. This was the 31st bog count, conducted this year in temperatures ranging from minus one to 24 degrees above zero. It was windy with snow cover. Report information comes from an email account posted by count organizer Sparky Stensaas.


Highlights included a Great Gray Owl calling at dawn along McDavitt Road bog, 3 Sharp-tailed Grouse at the feeder along CR29 (first farmhouse south of Correction Line Road on east side), Barred Owl squeeked out of the woods near Cotton and watched for 10 minutes, Black-backed Woodpecker along the ditch going north from the Welcome Center, 3 Goshawks, 2 Boreal Chickadees at the Admiral Road feeders, 32 Purple Finches at one set of feeders, and good numbers of Pine Grosbeaks and White-winged Crossbills.


Misses included Evening Grosbeak, Rough-legged Hawk (absent in the Bog but plentiful just to our south in Aitkin County), Snow Bunting, Northern Hawk Owl (only brief sightings this year…none sticking).


Bald Eagle—10 (9 adults, 1 imm)

Northern Goshawk—3 (2 adults, 1 imm)

Ruffed Grouse—25

Wild Turkey—2

Sharp-tailed Grouse—3

Rock Pigeon—21

Barred Owl —1

Great Gray Owl —1

Downy Woodpecker —11

Hairy Woodpecker —14

Black-backed Woodpecker —1

Pileated Woodpecker —5

Gray Jay —10

Blue Jay —54

Black-billed Magpie —6

American Crow —49

Common Raven —81

Black-capped Chickadee —384

Boreal Chickadee —3

Red-breasted Nuthatch —46

White-breasted Nuthatch —5

Northern Shrike —7

European Starling —66

Pine Grosbeak —62

Red Crossbill —2

White-winged Crossbill —66

Common Redpoll —58

Pine Siskin —3

Purple Finch —39

American Goldfinch —32

House Sparrow —20