Manitoba during winter may not sound much like a birding destination, but it is one of Canada’s best-kept birding secrets. Every winter, sought-after northern owls – Snowy, Great Grey, Northern Hawk and Boreal Owls, emerge from their usual haunts in the depths of the woods to hunt along forest edges, roadsides and agricultural fields only a short distance from the capital city of Winnipeg. Manitoba’s location in the north means that every winter provides chances to see these birds, and in some years their numbers can be astronomical! Add this to a backdrop of flocks of colourful winter finches and a suite of boreal specialty birds and it becomes a fantastic winter escape!
Our Manitoba tour takes us through open agricultural land where we will search for Snowy Owls in addition to Snow Bunting, Lapland Longspur, Grey Partridge, Sharp-tailed Grouse and others, and seek species such as Eastern Screech Owl and Bohemian Waxwing in suburban parkland, and Bald and Golden Eagles and Northern Goshawk overhead. We will work our way northwards to the vast expanse of boreal forest, where we will look for Northern Hawk, Great Grey and Boreal Owl as well as Red and White-winged Crossbills, Common and Hoary Redpolls, Pine and Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Siskin, Spruce Grouse, Boreal Chickadee, Canada Jay and others.
We visit two boreal forest parks – Riding Mountain National Park and Hecla-Grindstone Provincial Park, which offer unparalleled access into this landscape and its birds, as well as some excellent chances for elusive mammals – most notably Canada Lynx, as well as American Marten, North American Otter, Long-tailed Weasel, Gray Wolf, Red Fox, Moose and White-tailed Deer.
We have many chances to find our targets in a variety of locations, and we will be at the start of the breeding season for many of these birds, which will be singing and easier to find.
Snowy, Great Grey, Northern Hawk, Boreal, Eastern Screech, Great Horned, Northern Saw-whet and Long-eared Owls. Snow Bunting, Lapland Longspur, Grey Partridge, Sharp-tailed & Spruce Grouse, Northern Harrier, Bald & Golden Eagles, Black-backed & American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Bohemian Waxwing, Red & White-winged Crossbills, Common & Hoary Redpolls, Pine & Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Siskin, Boreal Chickadee, Canada Jay.
Canada Lynx, Gray Wolf, American Marten, North American Otter, North American Porcupine, Moose, White-tailed Deer, Long-tailed Weasel, Red Fox
boreal forest, agricultural fields and park land
temperatures are likely to be close to, or below 0℃ (32℉)
relaxed, days are short, and we are likely be back at our accommodation by 17:00 most evenings. Optional owling after dark