Upcoming speakers/events 2019

John James Audubon – Pat Miller

Like all of us bird lovers, we keep running into the name “Audubon” everywhere. We know him as the man most responsible for the knowledge of birds in North America, and for his distinctive drawings of birds in their natural environment. But who was he as a person? How did those accomplishments come to be? What would it be like to follow him in the woods for a day? After visiting his home in Henderson, Kentucky, I bought the most highly recommended biography of Audubon and became enthralled. I’d love to share some of his story with you as a way of paying tribute to his skills and passion. Pat Miller

“When the bird and the book disagree, believe the bird.” James Audubon

Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area Field Trip

May 18, 2019

Day Trip to Crex Meadows WMA, Grantsburg, WI
SATURDAY, MAY 18, 2019
Leaders: Tom and Carol-Ann Bloom
Meeting Place: 6 a.m. — Menards parking lot, West Duluth
Car pool/follow down to Crex Meadows. Spend day birding this unique area.
We’ll be searching this unique habitat for migrants and local residents on their territory.
Mammals, wildflowers too. Bears and otters have already been spotted.

Located in Burnett County, Wisconsin, Crex Meadows  is less than 2 hours from Duluth.  It is home to over 280 species of birds, 720 species of plants, over 96 species of butterfly and a wide variety of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.   Visit the home page at

For questions and to register contact Clinton Nienhous 

Boulder Birding Big Day – 25th Anniversary!

May 11, 2019   6:30am to 12pm at Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center

Boulder Birding Big Day is a citizen science birding event held every May, for the last 25 years, at Boulder Lake. The event is co-sponsored by Duluth Audubon Society and Boulder Lake ELC. Folks of all ages and abilities are put into groups with an expert guide and are given 4 hours to count as many species as possible anywhere on the 18,000 Boulder Lake Management Area. At 11am all the groups meet at the Environmental Learning Center to tally up the count. The winning group gets a modest prize. Morning refreshments and lunch are provided, The event opens at 6:30am and the birding starts at 7. The event usually wraps up around noon. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the event and to commemorate we will be having some folks from UMD talk a bit about bird research; a professional photographer to teach folks about using iNaturalist; and cake and ice cream with lunch to celebrate the event.  Cost $10.

To register:

For the Birds!

May 9, 2019 – Laura Erickson, Presenter

Laura Erickson from Duluth, MN, is the 2014 recipient of the American Birding Association’s prestigious Roger Tory Peterson Award; has been a scientist, teacher, writer, wildlife rehabilitator, professional blogger, public speaker, photographer, American Robin and Whooping Crane Expert for the popular Journey North educational website, and Science Editor at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  AND, she’s written eleven books about birds!

Visit her website

Guided Early Morning Warbler Walks

All weeks in May, 2019 beginning with the first week

As the weather warms in May, so does the spring migration of birds and the Duluth Audubon Society will again host 1-2 hour morning Warbler Walks.  Birders of all interests and experience levels are welcome to participate. For those new to the hobby, birding with others can help sharpen identification skills and build confidence.

There is no registration or fee to join in the Warbler Walks and binoculars and bird guides are available for folks who don’t have any equipment.  Just show up!

On Tuesdays, we start at the Park Point beach house and wander around the Park Point Recreation Area to see water birds on the big lake as well as shorebirds on the beach and field.

On Thursdays we follow the Western Waterfront Trail around Indian Point Campground where there are marsh birds and a few more warblers than on Park Point.

Tuesdays at Park Point – Beginning May 7, with Clinton Nienhaus and Jeff Davis. Meet by the Park Point Beach House by the Park Point Recreation Area at 7am.

Thursdays at Western Waterfront Trail – Beginning May 2, with Josh Bailly and Cynthia Edwardson. Meet in the parking lot for the Western Waterfront Trailhead at 7011 Pulaski St, Duluth at 7am.

Spring Wildflowers

April 11, 2019 – Larry Weber, Presenter

This will be a phenological look at the flowers that bloom from April to June; what they are and how they survive in this time slot.  Larry Weber is a local expert naturalist and an excellent speaker.

Spring Migration Basics

March 14, 2019 – Clinton Nienhaus, presenter

Spring Migration has begun! Often, Spring migration is something that we in the north look forward to after months of snow and cold. Even though we welcome this change of season, have you ever thought about the full scope of spring migration? Which birds leave for their nesting grounds first? Where can I go to view migration, as soon as it begins in March? Through this presentation, questions like these will be answered as we cover the basics of Spring Migration!
Clinton is the secretary and field trip leader for the Duluth Audubon Society as well as the Head Naturalist for Friends of Sax Zim Bog.

Adventures in Alaska!

February 14, 2019 – Emily Stone, Presenter

Tundra, bees, and bunnies, oh my! Join Cable Natural History Museum Naturalist Emily Stone to hear about her summer sabbatical to Alaska. She met with scientists and naturalists to learn about their exciting work, paddled next to calving glaciers, live-trapped snowshoe hares, counted caribou, and explored much of the state.
Emily M. Stone is a naturalist by birth, training, profession, and passion. Her childhood spent as a “mud and water daughter” in northeast Iowa led to a degree in outdoor education from Northland College and a Field Naturalist Masters from the University of Vermont. Her vocation has been teaching kids of all ages about nature in beautiful places. As the Naturalist/Education Director at the Cable Natural History Museum in Cable, Wisconsin, Emily writes a weekly “Natural Connections” column published in more than a dozen local and regional newspapers, including the Duluth Reader Weekly. Her first book—Natural Connections: Exploring the Northwoods through Science and Your Senses—is a compilation of her favorite articles, and a second book will be out in March 2019. During the summer of 2018, Emily spent four months on sabbatical in Alaska. She explored it’s natural history and volunteered on several research projects.

2018 Christmas Bird Count Review and Event Discussion

January 10, 2019 – Jim Lind, Presenter

Jim Lind, local event organizer, will share the results of the Christmas Bird Count and explain how the count is done and what the results are used for.


Past Events/Speakers 2018

Christmas Bird Count

When: Saturday Dec. 15, 2018

This year will be the 119th National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count, the largest and longest running Citizen Science project in the world. Minnesota’s Christmas Bird Counts are looking for
help. There are some 80 counts across the state running on a date from December 14th through January 5th.  About two thirds of the counts have posted their dates at this time.

This is a great opportunity to find some of the hidden birding spots in your area, learn more about our winter species, bird with some of the top birders in the state, and contribute to a large data collection.

To find out about a count near you by map, go to:

by date, go to:

Gull Watches

When: Sunday mornings November 11, 18, 25, 2018 @ 10am

Where: Superior entry breakwall (very end of Wisconsin Point)

Contact: Clinton Nienhaus –


If you have ever wanted a chance to spend time in the field to learn gulls, this event might be for you! Join obsessive gull watcher Clinton Nienhaus on this joint MOU/DAS Superior Entry Gull Watch. This field trip has the intention to view and learn about gull identification in the field, less about listing.

Gulls can be a difficult group of birds to identify, but this field experience will work to help attendees better understand the more common gulls in Minnesota, as well as give pointers on how to spot the more uncommon species of gull that make their way to the state every fall and winter.

Targets for this trip would include Iceland gull (Thayer’s and Kumlein’s), Glaucous Gull, Great Black Backed Gull, and maybe even a shot at a 7 gull species day with something rare mixed in!

Meet at the Superior entry Breakwall (very end of Wisconsin Point) at 10:00 AM. The gulling
could last between 2-4 hours, depending on the gulls. Bring cameras, binoculars, and spotting scopes. If possible, bring one loaf of bread or more (for the gulls!). Dress according to the weather. This is a stationary event that will not have any bathroom breaks or lunch stops, so bring snacks and water as needed. RSVP required: RSVP to Clinton Nienhaus at

Report from November 11,2018: Superior Entry Gull Watch:

This is my 3rd year doing stationary gull watches at Superior Entry. The intention of this event (which is ongoing) is to spend time with and learn gulls. With nearly 350 gulls present on the 11th, there was plenty of learning to be done! Somewhat disappointing was species diversity, with only one adult Thayer’s Iceland Gull (photo below) and 8 Ring-billed gulls to break up the Herring Gull party. Nonetheless, we were able to learn and check out a representative or two of every age class of both Herring and Ring-billed Gulls! The biggest surprise of this trip was the sheer number of Bald Eagles present, which really can make gulling tough. There were no less than 20 Bald Eagles loafing around and chasing gulls during our time at Superior Entry! The other significant species most of the group got to see was a pretty strong showing of… Sea Ducks! We had a total of 13 White-winged Scoters and 1 Black Scoter fly by the entry while we were watching gulls. A nice treat for the group, even if they were a little distant. As I said, these Gull Watches continue on November 18 and 25, starting a 10 am. If you are interested, send me an email at

North Shore Sea Duck Field Trip

Report from November 10, 2018 North Shore Sea Duck Trip:

This was the 4th trip I have lead searching for ducks along the North Shore and it was arguably the best one yet! For the first time ever we had a scoter slam… and nearly a sea duck slam (all 3 scoters, Long-tailed Duck, and Harlequin Duck), as the group narrowly missed Harlequin Duck. Non-duck highlights for this trip included a total of 41 species, with a late Savannah Sparrow in Two Harbors, nearly 20 Rough-legged Hawks between Iona’s Beach and Grand Marais with 4 total dark morphs, and lots of Snow Buntings along the roadside. Sea duck totals include: 5 White-winged Scoters (Taconite Harbor, Grand Marais Harbor), 2 Black Scoters (Taconite Harbor, Grand Marais Harbor), 1 Surf Scoter (Grand Marais Harbor to complete the slam!), 148 Long-tailed Ducks (139 at Good Harbor Bay), and almost a Harlequin Duck at Grand Marais Harbor, seen earlier in the day by Ise et al and briefly by Aaron during our visit, but we couldn’t refind it. All in all, a long day, but super productive considering the distance covered!

Birding by Hindsight: A Second Look at Identification

November 8, 2018 – Presented by Kim Eckert

For over 30 years local birding legend Kim Eckert has led birding tours in Minnesota as well as  throughout North America.  The author of A Birder’s Guide to Minnesota, Eckert is a well-known Duluth naturalist. He will guide us through stories and memories from his years of birding  and give us a preview of his newest book, Birding by Hind Sight, a Second Look at Identification.  This book will be available for purchase with proceeds going to the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog.

The Common Nighthawk in northern Minnesota

September 13, 2018 – Presented by Steve Kolbe

The Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor), like other species in the nightjar family, is a low-density breeder in the boreal forest and is not adequately surveyed by point counts due to its secretive nature and crepuscular activity.

However, large numbers of this species occur each autumn along the north shore of Lake Superior. With average annual counts of nearly 19,500 individuals, the autumn migration of Common Nighthawks is the largest known concentration of this species in the world.

While the precise geographic origin of these migrant birds is unknown, many arrive from the Canadian boreal forest, where this species has undergone a significant decline and is listed as threatened. Trend analysis from autumn migration counts does not show such a decline.

The annual autumn count of migrating Common Nighthawks along the north shore of Lake Superior is likely the best and most cost-effective way to census the boreal forest breeding common nighthawks and determine population trends for this declining aerial insectivore.