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Sax-Zim Bog Birder & Photographer Welcome Center: Help us build it!
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Spring/Early Summer Field Trips

Friday, May 1st— Things that Go Buzz, Croak, Hoot and Bump in the Night

Early Migrants, frog songs, woodcock and snipe aerial displays, and maybe even owls!? Last year we had fantastic looks at American Bittern and Great Gray Owl, and even got a front row seat to a displaying American Woodcock. Meet at the Wilbert Cafe for dinner at 4:30pm. We'll then car caravan around the Bog until about 10pm. RSVP to and please include your cell phone number.

May 13, 20, 27— Warbler Wednesdays

Wednesdays, May 13, 20, 27 (6am-Noonish)
Sax-Zim Bog hosts many species of migrating birds...warblers are often the stars of the show, but we'll also look (and listen!) for vireos, Bobolinks, Upland Sandpiper, Sharp-tailed Grouse, magpies, ducks, shorebirds, and of course, the Bog specialties such as Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee and Great Gray Owl (no promises!). We meet at the Welcome Center on Owl Avenue at 5:45am then depart in a car caravan by 6am. Each car will have a radio so we can keep in contact with birds seen en route. Please RSVP/Register by emailing and let us know which day you will attend. Also include your cell phone number.

Saturday, June 27th— Bog BioBlitz III

Our Third Annual Bog BioBlitz and it will be bigger than ever! Now an all-day event. Go in the field with experts in many areas including birds, spiders, dragonflies, butterflies, wildflowers, orchids and more! Then we'll all meet back at the Welcome Center in the afternoon to share our discoveries. Each expert will give a report on what their group found. The Biodiversity of the Bog continues to amaze us. Join us as we continue to explore this magical place. BYOL (Bring your own Lunch and drinks). Bird trips will be at dawn (meet at Welcome Center at 5am) and other trips will depart at 8am. Please RSVP/Register with your preferred trip by emailing Also include your cell phone number.


Warren Nelson Memorial Bog

Warren Nelson Memorial Bog will commemorate one of Minnesota's Best AND Best-loved Birders

LAST FEW WEEKS to take advantage of a very generous $5,000 2:1 MATCHING GRANT FROM JUDD BRINK/ Judd will match every dollar you contribute with TWO of his dollars. Match goes until April 15th only!


Warren loved all Minnesota’s birds but had a special affection for our rarer boreal species. He spent much time observing and learning the natural history of Great Gray Owls, Hawk Owls and Yellow Rails

Warren Nelson passed away recently and his friends in Aitkin County and beyond want to memorialize his significant contributions to the knowledge of boreal birds in northern Minnesota. In his unassuming way, Warren Nelson exemplified human dignity, kindness and compassion. He wove those same traits into his love of birds, and birders. Leading by example, his message was simply to treat other creatures, avian or human, with respect. Warren never asked for anything in return for his birding services or expertise, choosing to give freely of himself with anyone who shared his passion for nature.     
    To honor Warren’s life while continuing to help promote the birds and habitats that fascinated him, a group of his friends have come up with an idea to pay it back, while paying it forward. We have contacted the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog organization to acquire a parcel of land there as a memorial.

Warren Nelson Memorial Bog will be on Blue Spruce Road!

The Warren Nelson Memorial Bog will be on Blue Spruce Road about a half mile north of CR133. This is on a popular birding route and near the Morse's Winter feeders.

**The 40 acre bog has a couple nice stands of mature Black Spruce with a deep sphagnum carpet. It has been home to Boreal Chickadees and Black-backed Woodpeckers.
    Plans include a PARKING PAD, NATURAL HISTORY KIOSK, MEMORIAL TO WARREN, BIRD FEEDERS, and the entire property will be open and accessible to birders and other nature lovers to explore on foot or snowshoe.
    With the generous $5,000 MATCHING GIFT from one of Warren's friends, Judd Brink of, we hope to wrap up fundraising by mid April. Warren was a friend and mentor to Judd, and this is his way of honoring his memory. JUDD WILL MATCH EVERY DOLLAR YOU GIVE WITH TWO OF HIS DOLLARS (up to $5,000). With the financial support of the wonderful birding community and friends, the Warren Nelson Memorial Bog will be a reality before summer.
    Parties interested in donating for this memorial can designate “Warren Nelson Land Fund” on checks made out to “Friends of Sax-Zim Bog” (mail to FOSZB, PO Box 3585, Duluth, MN 55803) or they can donate at (look for the tab that says Warren Nelson Land Fund). Friends of Sax-Zim Bog is a 501c3 non profit organization and all donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.
In Memory of Warren,
Judd Brink
Ken and Pam Perry
Steve and Jo Blanich
Kim and Cindy Risen
Butch Ukura
Randy Frederickson.


The Big Year Movie Gala with Greg Miller




Friends buys and saves 60 more acres of Bog!

Yellow-bellied Bog is now 100 contiguous acres 



On October 9th, Friends of Sax-Zim Bog became owner of an additonal 60 acres of Black Spruce-Tamarack Bog on Peary Road. This bog is adjacent to the 40 acres of the Yellow-bellied Bog that we already own. We now have a contiguous 100 acre parcel. Thanks to all who have given to our land fund! This is YOUR bog!...But you need to share it with the Bobcats, Snowshoe Hares, Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and other bog critters.


BioBlitz II reveals amazing BioDiversity in Sax-Zim Bog!

Forty-some participants and leaders turned up nearly 300 SPECIES (!) on our second annual BioBlitz on August 2nd, 2014. A beautiful day greeted folks as they met at our new Welcome Center. We divided into groups and hit the bog! Experts in the fields of birds, spiders, fungi, wildflowers, butterflies and dragonflies scoured far flung parts of the Bog. All met back at noon to share their findings and discoveries. Amazingly, we turned up several new species for the Bog and even ONE NEW MINNESOTA RECORD!— a spider species found by Chad Heins.


See MANY PHOTOS and more details on our BOG BLOG




Our BioBlitz flora expert Kelly O'Brien Beaster (second from L) and Development Director Sarah Beaster (R) check out finds with participants. The group turned up several new species for the Bog including Small Purple Fringed Orchid (Platanthera psycodes). See photo on Bog Blog.

A rarely seen boreal butterfly called the Dorcas Copper (Lycaena dorcas) was quite common this year along Arkola just east of Owl Avenue.


WDIO TV news segment about the Welcome Center and the unique heat-treated aspen siding




Grand Day for a Grand Opening—March 8, 2014

A festive day to celebrate the new Gatewy to the Sax-Zim Bog. Read about the events and see more photos here. 


Welcome Center Sax-Zim Bog UPDATE 11-13-13 from Sparky Stensaas on Vimeo.


All the Bird Tiles are Gone

We are closing the bird tile donation offer as of November 15, 2013. Thanks to all who participated in this fundraiser. Look for the tiles to be displayed in the Welcome Center in 2014-15.





Friends of Sax-Zim Bog is proud to announce the purchase of 40 acres of Black Spruce/Tamarack bog in the Sax-Zim Bog. One of our goals is to protect bog tracts for future generations of birders, photographers, and naturalists...and this is step one to that end.

 FRIENDS OF SAX-ZIM BOG is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to supporting, promoting and protecting the Sax-Zim Bog Important Bird Area (IBA) through education, media, research, research funding, donation, and communication.


1. Acquire bog habitat in the Sax-Zim Bog of St. Louis County, Minnesota (a world-famous birding destination)

2. Build a small “Birder Welcome Center” and bog interpretive center (IN PROCESS)

3. Fund educational projects centered on peatlands and associated birdlife (info kiosks, interpretive bog boardwalks)