Minnesota Birding Report

This is the Northwest Minnesota Birding Report for Thursday, January 9, 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.

What a cold week it has been with temperatures dipping far below zero, and on some days at least, stiff winds. Most birders have clearly been staying indoors , keeping warm. I’m sure the birds were wishing they could do that too. SNOW BUNTINGS have been mentioned in many reports as these small birds seem to enjoy such conditions. SNOWY OWLS are being reported throughout the area, but with such a vast area, it is a matter of luck to actually see one, unless you can spare the time to drive many miles in the good habitat to search them out. Some areas seem to have had more sightings, notably those in open areas with lines of power poles for perches. Heidi Hughes has been reporting on MOUnet the ones that have been reported to her, so I will only mention those that came to me. Western Polk and Marshall Counties seem to have had the most sightings to date. Sandy Aubol reported one on CR 20 one mile south of CR 19 in Polk County on January 8. It seems that many of the sightings in Polk County are from this area.

Rebecca Komppa reported a SNOWY OWL on the Cass Line Road on the Wadena side of the road on January 2. Matt Mecklenburg reported one in Clay County on December 31 a half mile east of the intersection of 150th St. N and 120th Ave N. One was seen on the Agassiz NWR CBC on January 2 but I don’t have a location for that one.

Gary and Marion Otnes in Otter Tail County on January 6 reported three species of owls in or near their yard – BARRED OWL, NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL , and GREAT HORNED OWL. Sounds like material for an owl war to me.

From Hubbard County, Marshall Howe reported RUFFED GROUSE near Dorset, and COOPER’S HAWK in Park Rapids, along with lots of SNOW BUNTINGS.

In Marshall County on January 2, a CBC was held at Agassiz NWR where in subzero temperatures, several folks tallied 24 species including GREAT HORNED OWL, the aforementioned SNOWY OWL, 6 GRAY PARTRIDGE, RUFFED GROUSE, 143 SHARP-TAILED GROUSE, 17 WILD TURKEYS, NORTHERN SHRIKE, COMMON RAVEN and many SNOW BUNTINGS.

From Kittson County this week Larry Wilebski reported that a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER is still in the area.

Martin Kehoe, reporting from deep within the Beltrami Island forest in Lake of the Woods County, saw GRAY JAYS, PINE SISKINS, SPRUCE GROUSE, and one mile south of Gustafson Camp SNA – four 3-TOED WOODPECKERS.

Thanks to those who sent in their sightings this week.

Please report bird sightings to Jeanie Joppru by email, no later than Thursday each week, at ajjoppru@mncable.net OR call the Detroit Lakes Chamber’s toll free number: 1-800-542-3992.