Winter is on its way to the Northern Hemisphere and as a resident of Rochester, NY I’m pretty scared. However, I’d be a lot more terrified if I lived in Rochester, MN! Winter weather can be a killer in Minnesota — literally. Minnesotans annually endure crippling blizzards, crushing lake effect snow, damaging ice storms, and temperatures so low that vehicles literally shut down as inferior batteries succumb to soul-chilling cold. Why do they do it? For that matter, why I am I hopeful that I too might experience the North Star State in winter? It must be the birds!

Winter is when Minnesota birding really seems to heat up. Owls swoop down en masse out of the Great Boreal Forest so locals look out for rarities like Snowy, Great Gray, Boreal, and Northern Hawk. Based on irruption patterns, winter finch counts can flourish; redpolls, crossbills, siskins, Bohemian Waxwings, and Evening and Pine Grosbeaks are just some of the species that might turn up. And that doesn’t even include the raptors, gulls, and waterfowl around Lake Superior.

With birds that remarkable, it’s no wonder Minnesota has such a thriving birding community or so many tremendous bird bloggers.  I won’t name names for fear of leaving someone special out but as a group, Minnesotans really represent in the legions of American bird bloggers. A prime example of the level of naturalist acumen, writing finesse, and photographic talent coming out of the Land of 10,000 Lakes is the ever-engaging Ecobirder.  One of the slickest nature bloggers in the Twin Cities region, Ecobirder makes his triumphant second appearance as the host of I and the Bird. His first effort was a virtual sping migration trip. For his Halloween extravaganza, check out I and the Bird #87.

Whether you’re looking at a wretched winter or a warm one, it’s time to come in out of the cold and join the party; the I and the Bird audience is always hot for superior blogging about birding and wild birds. And speaking of hot, IATB is headed down to the deserts of Arizona as the most estimable Rick Wright of Aimophila Adventures takes the helm. Send your links and summaries to me or Rick ([email protected]) by 11/11 for the November 13 edition.

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Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.