Red Rock Audubon members Paul Rodriguez, Jim Switalla, Angel Poe and Doug Chang attended
this festival February 15,16 and 17 2019. Angel flew up there. Paul, Jim and Doug drove to the
The name Sax-Zim comes from two old towns in the vicinity, both being situated along St. Louis
County Road 7. The village of Sax, (which used to be called Wallace), was named for Solomon
Saxe, an Eveleth landowner. Zim was named after a Mr. Zimmerman who managed a nearby
The habitat consists of a mix of spruce, tamarack, and northern white cedar bogs, plus alder
swamps and upland deciduous woodlands. There are also lowland hardwood species such as
black ash, as well as isolated hayfields and sedge meadows. You can see these from various
township and county roads or you can venture out into the bogs themselves. The bog is a
mixture of state, county, and private lands, plus the Cloquet Valley State Forest, Whiteface
River State Forest, and both the Sax and the Zim Wildlife Management Areas.
The Birding Festival is based in Meadowlands. A typical small northern Minnesota city. It
served a large farming community from its beginnings. Immigrants from a variety of countries
came here to clear land, plant and harvest large gardens, raise animals and children. Religious
communities built churches and all worked together to make the town their center. There were
grocery stores, gas stations, auto and machinery dealerships, restaurants and theaters.
Twelve years ago, the Sax-Zim Bog Winter Birding Festival was organized to help birders enjoy
the beautiful winter birds in Sax-Zim Bog and the Duluth area. Field trips were organized to see
the Spruce Grouse, the North Shore of Lake Superior, the Duluth City birding areas and Sax-Zim
We were warmly welcomed by the members of the Toivola-Meadowlands Development Board,
Friends of the Sax-Zim Bog, the residents of Meadowlands and neighboring communities. They
created a welcoming atmosphere and delicious breakfast and dinner.
Presentations by Erik Bruhnke on “Summer Birding in Sax-Zim Bog” and by Josh Begnar on
“Connecticut Warblers & Boreal Chickadees” had us planning to visit the Bog during nesting
The “REAL STARS” of this festival were the birds:
Common Redpoll, Pine Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, Great Grey Owl, Snowy Owl, Northern
Hawk Owl, Boreal Chickadee, Black Capped Chickadee, White-winged Crossbill, Northern Shrike,
Bohemian Waxwing, Ruffed Grouse among others were seen by all of us.
Angel spent and extra day birding saw the Black-backed Woodpecker, Hoary Redpoll, Sharptailed Grouse and the Spruce Grouse.