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Northern Ecology

Boreal Birding Workshop

Course Overview

Spring in northeastern Minnesota is truly alive with life. After a winter of cold and white, there is a veritable explosion of all things feathered. The Boreal Birding Workshop is field focused, offering students a rare opportunity to immerse in this world and develop an appreciation for the wide range of bird species that thrive in the region’s range of habitats. Utilizing shared van transportation that allows discussion between stops, students will explore many of the area’s classic destinations (i.e. multiple state parks, the Susie Island overlook, High Falls, Oberg Mtn) and will emphasize both visual and voice identification skills. Typically 10-15 species of warblers, including Blackburnian and Black-Throated Blue Warblers, are recorded.  Boxed lunches (included in materials fee) will also be provided on Days 1 and 2 to maximize flexibility in the field. This year, the workshop has expanded by a day to include time to explore several new local destinations in search of Spruce Grouse, Boreal Chickadee, Gray Jay, Black-backed Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Purple Finch, Red Crossbill, and White-winged Crossbill.

The workshop will be led by instructors Josh Watson, a Cook County local and accomplished birder, and his mentor Bob Janssen, who has been an active Minnesota birder for almost 60 years. As time and weather allow, classroom sessions on northeastern Minnesota birds may be included. This course is part of the annual Northern Landscapes Festival.

Due to the early start of this class, please plan to check-in at North House on the day preceding at 5pm for a brief introductory session.


Fri, May 31st, 2019  –  Sat, Jun 1st, 2019

Course Details

Length: 2.5 Days
Skill Levels: Beginner to Advanced
Hours: 7am - 4pm
Intergenerational age: 14+
Tuition: $275.00
Materials fee: $75.00
Additional materials fee paid to instructor when class starts: (includes van transport and two lunches)


You will need the following tools for this class:

  • field notebook
  • your favorite birding field guide (available for purchase @ North House School Store)Binoculars
  • Layered, warm, light colored clothing (sweatshirts, jackets, long pants)
  • Hat
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Rain Gear
  • Sturdy footwear for hiking (trails may be wet from dew and rain)
  • Insect repellant, and/or insect head net
  • Sunglasses for bright outdoor sun
  • Sun-block
  • Water bottles
  • Small backpack to hold the above

Optional Tools

  • Spotting Scope and Tripod
  • Camera

More Information

Once registered, students will receive a confirmation email with further class information. Please call us if you haven't received it within 24 hours.

Meet the Instructor

North House Folk School photo of instructor, Bob Janssen
Bob Janssen
Golden Valley, MN

Meet the Instructor

North House Folk School photo of instructor, Joshua Watson
Joshua Watson
Grand Marais, MN

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Boreal Birding Workshop - 5/31/2019