Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Register soon for the Sax-Zim Birding Festival

Great Gray Owl
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
Mike Hendrickson writes:

This will be the last week of registrations for the 3rd Annual Sax-Zim Bog Winter Bird Festival being held on Feb 12-14th in Meadowlands, MN. Since my last posting Great Gray Owls look like they headed back in the woods but in the last week or so Great Gray Owls seem to make a rebound and have been seen a few times in the Sax-Zim Bog! Thank goodness.

The feeders in the Sax-Zim Bog are still attracting Boreal Chickadees, Pine Grosbeaks, Common Redpolls and other winter residents. Black-backed Woodpeckers are being seen on most days along with Northern Hawk Owls! In Duluth there are still good places to view Bohemian Waxwings and the big news is the number of gull species being seen. Good numbers of Iceland Gulls in various ages, Thayer's Gulls, Glaucous Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls. Also are Barrow's Goldeneye is still being seen among a large raft of Common Goldeneyes. In Aitkin County good numbers of Northern Hawk Owls and the big draw will be the Sharp-tailed Grouse displaying on their lek!

There is a lot to be found and seen during the festival.

To read more about the festival go here:

There will be bird field trips going to Sax-Zim Bog, Aitkin County and Duluth. There will also be a winter photo workshop led by Mark "Sparky" Stensaas and Shawn Zierman. Here birders will learn about winter photography and visit a private feeder to photograph winter finches. Along with the workshop and birding field trips there will also be speakers, vendors and much more!

Thanks for your time!


Sparky is a good friend of mine--the workshop he and Shawn are doing should be absolutely splendid. And the field trip leaders are superb. This is a really worthwhile birding festival, and this would be a good year to participate! Check it out!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Learn Wildlife Sound Recording from the Experts!!

Join Greg Budney and other experts at San Francisco State University's Sierra Nevada Field Campus in the Tahoe National Forest, California, this summer, for a fabulous week learning to record birds--and not just any birds. The station, located at 6,000 feet amid Ponderosa and Jeffrey pines, affords a wide range of recording conditions in spectacular surroundings, and the bird life includes such wondrous species as American Dipper and White-headed Woodpecker. This was my nemesis species until I took this workshop in 2001. I am not exaggerating when I say this field recording workshop was one of the best weeks of my life. I got some wonderfully useful skills, had SO much fun, and saw and heard and recorded such spectacular birds!

Greg Budney, curator of the Macaulay Library's archive of wildlife sounds, will lead a team of Lab of Ornithology experts to teach state-of-the-art techniques for recording wildlife sounds. Topics covered include:
  • Selection and application of audio recorders and microphones
  • Recording theory
  • Daily field recording with hands-on instruction
  • Recording techniques
  • Documentation for sound recordings
  • Use of software to analyze recordings

Dates: June 12-19, 2010
Fee: $945 (tuition, food & lodging)
For information call (607) 254-2153 or email

In my opinion, $945 for a week--including everything once you get there--is awfully reasonable, and you'll come away with a splendid bird list, amazing recordings, and a lot of useful skills.