Sax-Zim Bog

World famous but not well-known

Among serious birders, the Sax-Zim Bog is a world renowned birding location in the winter, but it has plenty to offer in  the spring and summer as well. This 400-square-mile area contains the remnants of the last glacial retreat, some 10,000 years ago. A unique habitat in the US, the Sax Zim Bog is home to boreal species that cannot be found anywhere else in the country.

Rustic trails and a new boardwalk near the Welcome Center make for short birding explorations that could also yeild sightings of orchids, butterflies, lichens, mushrooms, dragon and damsel flies, and much more. Wide stretches of open land surrounded by trees, plus a network of roads and feeders draw birds to this region. Many birdwatchers will find species from their life lists here.

Wild Winters

In the winter months, the Sax-Zim Bog is an important wintering area for many Arctic Breeding species, such as Pine Grosbeaks, Common and Hoary Redpolls, Northern Shrike, Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Hawk Owls, and occasionally Boreal Owl and American Three-toed Woodpecker.

Most of these avian visitors will leave by the middle of March for their breeding grounds in Northern Canada. Many of the 2500+ human visitors during the winter come to see birds best found with snow on the ground, but can be found in the summer months as well. Birds like Great Gray Owl, Black-backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, Evening Grosbeak, and Sharp-tailed Grouse call the meadows, forests, and bogs home all year long.

Plan Your Trip

The Sax-Zim website is a great place to make plans. Find a map of the driving routes, as well as the Welcome Center information and ways to sign up for guided activities with a naturalist, offered throughout the year.

Though the bulk of visitors to the Sax-Zim Bog come in the winter, the spring and summer are fine times to visit, as long as you remember your bug spray! 19 species of warbler nest in the Sax-Zim Bog, including boreal forest and bog specialists like Connecticut Warbler, Pine Warbler, and Palm Warbler. The Sax-Zim Bog also hosts a robust population of Golden-winged Warblers, which along with Connecticut Warbler, are in need of conservation attention as they have experienced significant population declines in recent time. The Sax-Zim Bog also hold bog specialist species like Lincoln’s Sparrow and Gray Jay, prairie specialists like Bobolink, LeConte’s Sparrow, and Sedge Wren.The bird diversity abounds in any season!

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When to Visit

The best time to visit depends on what you are interested in, as there are very distinct seasons and species to find. For the winter specialties, such as Common Redpoll, Pine Grosbeak, Northern Shrike, Rough-legged Hawk, Northern Hawk Owl, or crossbills, mid-December through late February or early March would be best. Migrant warblers move through the bog in the second half of May. Breeding birds are in full song during June and even the first week in July. The breeding species of interest including Black-backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, Great Gray Owl, Gray Jay, and Sharp-tailed Grouse, can be found all year round, but easiest to find in the winter. However, with enough time spent, you could find all of these species in the summer as well.



Sax-Zim Bog

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