This is the Northwest Minnesota Birding Report for Thursday, January 2, 2014 sponsored by the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce. You may also hear this report by calling (218)847-5743 or 1-800-433-1888.
It has been a frigid week in the northwest with temperatures rarely getting above zero. This has kept some folks indoors, but there have been many reports of SNOWY OWLS as folks go to and fro with their daily activities. The three northern CBC’s found it very quiet and birds were hard to come by. Very cold temperatures made it a challenge to keep warm. Numbers of individuals and species were way down.
The Beltrami Island CBC found 15 species on count day, December 29. Included were 8 RED CROSSBILLS, only one GRAY JAY, and 4 RUFFED GROUSE. No other finches were seen, but a GREAT HORNED OWL, rarely seen there, was found at sunset. During count week a SPRUCE GROUSE and a NORTHERN GOSHAWK were seen.
The best birds seen on the Baudette CBC on December 30 were the NORTHERN SHRIKE spotted by Marshall Howe on his way home from the Beltrami Island CBC along MN11 just west of Baudette, and two GREAT GRAY OWLS seen by Martin Kehoe just at dusk. One was along CR 3 southwest of Baudette and one a bit further west. Most numerous species reported were COMMON RAVENS, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, and SNOW BUNTINGS.
The Roseau CBC was held on December 28, arguably the most difficult day of the weekend with dropping temperatures , snow, and high winds. A number of SHARP-TAILED GROUSE, a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER in Roseau, and some SNOW BUNTINGS were the highlights before the winds made visibility drop to near zero.
In Marshall County this week , the story was largely of SNOWY OWLS reported by Heidi Hughes but originally seen by others. Two were on Marshall CR 19 south of Argyle, one was 4 miles north of Alvarado on CR 10 , then 1.5 miles east on CR 20. On January 1, I found a flock of 250 SNOW BUNTINGS along CR 2 west of US 59.
A NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL was seen by David Jadeke at Highlanding east of Thief River Falls on December 25. On December 31, 4 female PURPLE FINCHES showed up at our feeder, the only finches I have seen here for quite some time. Also at the feeder was a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER . I found a small flock of 16 LAPLAND LONGSPURS about 10 miles east of Thief River Falls on January 1.
More SNOWY OWLS were reported in Polk County. Heidi Hughes reported one on US 59 between Winger and Bejou on December 31. Another was seen on CR 20 north of CR 23 on January 1. Sandy Aubol found three – one on 380th Ave SW south of CR 21, one on CR 20 south of Sherack, and one on CR 19 just east of 380th Ave SW , all on New Year’s Day. Emily Hutchins reported DARK-EYED JUNCO, a PINE SISKIN, and several AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES in Crookston on December 29. Leon Thoreson reported 14 AMERICAN ROBINS at his place near Climax on December 27. A GREAT HORNED OWL was at the Agassiz Audubon Sanctuary on December 27.
Scott and Connie Jo Dirks found a SNOWY OWL 3.7 miles north of Osakis on CR 3 in Douglas County on December 30.
Thanks to all who sent in their sightings this week . Keep on reporting those snowy owls with specific locations as we are keeping track of the numbers.
Please report bird sightings to Jeanie Joppru by email, no later than Thursday each week, at [email protected] OR call the Detroit Lakes Chamber’s toll free number: 1-800-542-3992.