Northern Fen

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods


  • Province: Laurentian Mixed Forest
    • Section: Northern Superior Uplands
      • Subsection: Border Lakes
  • System: Fire Dependent Woodland


  • The Alder/Willow Wetland, about 2.5% of the BWCAW by surface area
  • Slow moving subsurface water with dense, nearly impenetrable cover of tall shrubs
  • Signature Species





Ground Cover

  • Sphagnum Moss, Sphagnum spp 

Landform & Topography:

Soils & Hydrology:


  • The Sphagnum/Black Spruce Bog, about 2% of the BWCAW by surface area
  • Shallow open water, floating mats of vegetation, and waterlogged peat
  • Species which reach their highest density in the bog:

    • Spruce Grouse, Dendragapus canadensis
    • Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Empidonax flaviventris
    • Palm Warbler, Dendroica palmarum
    • Connecticut Warbler, Oporonis agilis
    • Northern Waterthrush, Seiurus noveboracensis
    • Lincoln's sparrow, Melospiza lincolnii

    Species common to the bog:

    • Snowy Owl, Nyctea scandiaca
    • Northern Hawk Owl, Surnia ulula
    • Great Grey Owl, Strix nebulosa
    • Olive-sided Flycatcher, Contopus borealis
    • Nashville Warbler, Vermivora ruficapilla
    • Rusty Blackbird, Euphagus carolinus
    • Three-toed Woodpecker, Picoides tridactylus
    • Black-backed Woodpecker, Picoides arcticus
    • Gray Jay, Perisoreus canadensis
    • Golden-crowned Kinglet, Regulus satrapa
    • Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
    • Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
    • Boreal Chickadee, Parus hudsonicus
    • Hermit Thrush, Catharus guttatus
    • Swainson's Thrush, Catharus ustulatus
    • Solitary Vireo, Vireo solitarius
    • Red-eyed Vireo, Vireo olivaceus
    • Black-and-White Warbler, Mniotilta varia
    • Cape May Warbler, Dendroica tigrina
    • Yellow Rumped Warbler, Dendroica coronata
    • Blackburnian Warbler, Dendroica fusca
    • Bay Breasted Warbler, Dendroica castanea
    • Common Yellowthroat, Geothlypis trichas
    • Evening Grosbeak, Coccothrastes vespertinus
    • Dark Eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis
    • Chipping Sparrow, Spizella passerina
    • White Throated Sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis
    • Swamp Sparrow, Melospiza georgiana
    On bogs dominated by tamarack, birds that use shrubby habitats are present. Great gray owl (Strix nebulosa) use tamarack bogs as a major portion of their habitat.
  • Common Porcupine, Erethizon dorsatum
  • Moose, Alces alces
  • White Tail Deer, Odocoileus virginiana
  • Black Bear, Ursus americana
  • Timber Wolf, Canis lupus
  • Woodland Caribou, Rangifer tarandus caribou
  • Southern Bog Lemming, Synaptopmys cooperi
  • Northern Bog Lemming, Synaptopmys borealis
  • Masked Shrew, Sorex cinereus
  • Water Shrew, Sorex palustris
  • Pygmy Shrew,  Microsorex hoyi
  • Meadow Jumping Mouse, Zapus hudsonius
  • White Foot Mouse, Peromyscus leucopus
  • Southern Red Back Vole, Clethrionomys gapperi
  • Natural

    • History


    Lowland Plant Communities Upland Plant Communities

    Boreal border

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    Last updated on 30 June, 2004