The nice weather can not last forever though. Sooner or later the air will get colder and the snow will come. It is November after all and in Minnesota that usually means the beginning of winter. Even though it can some times get quite unpleasant here in Minnesota in the winter time, unless you enjoy temps below zero and wind chills that can almost freeze the air inside your lungs, it is actually a great place to do some winter birding.One of the premiere winter birding location in Minnesota is the Sax Zim Bog. The bog is an area located around the very small towns of Sax and Zim. This area is a magnet for species that come down from Canada in search of food. One species that is usually pretty easy to find in the bog during the winter is the gray jay.
Gray jays are not commonly found in the lower 48 states except in northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the north east coastal states and in the Rocky Mountains. We usually only see them during the winter time in the northern part of the state especially in Sax Zim. One reason for this may be because these birds often cache food the in nooks and crannies of trees using their saliva to help it stick. They are omnivores so caching food in colder climates help to preserve food that might go bad.
Gray jays are members of the Corvidae family which includes jays, crows and ravens. Birds in this family typically have a higher intelligence then many other types of birds. The gray jay is no exception, they are very curious and are often referred to as a camp robber because of their habit of relieving campers of excess food and other items. Sometimes you find a cousin or two hanging around trying to look cool, like this blue jay.
If you are interested in seeing gray jays then you should consider the Sax Zim Bog Winter Birding Festival which will be held in February. I have been to the festival for the past two years, it is only two years old, and have come away with some marvelous pics. You can see some in the current slide show located in the side bar. You can also find a link to more information on the festival right below the slide show in the side bar.