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Showing posts from March, 2017
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WINGIN’ IT By Kate Crowley photos Mike Link Typically the earliest arrivals in spring migration are waterfowl; Canada geese, followed by the myriad duck species.  We recently drove over the Moosehorn River north of Willow River and saw both geese and mallard ducks swimming about.  The rivers are opening up earlier this year which allows waterfowl to position themselves for prime territory before the lakes are ice free.  In recent years more and more people are seeing Trumpeter swans arriving with the other waterfowl. A couple weeks ago I heard one woman tell another about the swans that were out on the ice on Sturgeon Lake.  Her husband was concerned about their condition and was about to go out and check on them when they took off.  On the same day that we saw the geese and ducks on the river we spotted six Trumpeters in a stubble corn field.  It was an odd sight - not where we expect to see these large birds, but they were probably scavenging for leftover grain. The story of our Trumpe…

St Patrick's day bird thoughts

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WINGIN’ IT By Kate Crowley
Let me tell you a little bit about how my brain works and the challenge I face every two weeks when a column is due.  The week before I start thinking of possibilities.  The closer it gets, the more my brain and eyes search for possibilities. Sometimes it’s really simple because a unique bird or behavior appears; more often it’s like this; ME: The article is coming out right before St. Patrick’s Day – a most important holiday because of my ancestry – what could I write about that relates to that and birds?  St. Patrick is famous for driving the snakes (paganism) out of Ireland, not the birds; so that’s out.  What about green?  Hmmm --- the only green birds that I know of are parrots or parakeets – I have seen them in various places, not here of course, I wonder why there are so few green plumed birds in the world;   Lots of people keep these types of birds as pets……. (then wandering past the windows as I’m thinking) Wow! Look at what the sun is doing to the fe…

Sense of Place

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GOING NATURE’S WAY By Kate Crowley I am intrigued by the idea of Sense of Place; to feel completely ‘at home’ in one particular place.  I have read that people who grow up on the Great Plains feel claustrophobic when they are in forested environments and in reverse,  people who have grown up surrounded by forest find the openness of the plains unnerving, with nothing to break the view to the horizon. I grew up in the city, but the Minnehaha Creek and Parkway were just two blocks away and I spent countless hours playing and exploring there.  The city lakes were within biking distance. The Mississippi River was just blocks away from the apartment where I lived the first four years of my life.  When I was 36 I married Mike and moved to our current home and it was perfect.  When my dad first visited us in our new home, he said, “Kate must think she’s died and gone to heaven”.  This is where I am supposed to be.  Scientists who have studied the evolution of humanity have proposed that over th…

WAXWINGS

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WINGIN’ IT By Kate Crowley In a recent column I talked about the unexpected encounters with birds that add to our daily enjoyment of nature.  A week ago Mike and I were out cross-country skiing near our house when we heard a flock of birds making an unfamiliar sound.  We stopped and looked up into the top of a Jack Pine and saw them moving from branch to branch. Because it was a sunny day, it was hard to see their colors clearly because they were so strongly backlit, but we both came to the conclusion that they were Waxwings.  The question was; Cedar or Bohemian?  Neither one of us had binoculars, but Mike has better long distance vision than me and he was able to see their features better.  In order to bring them closer I started ‘pishing’.  I have talked about this technique before.  It is just as it sounds.  You purse your lips and make a ‘pishing’ sound –sort of like ‘shushing’ someone in the library, but using a ‘p’ at the front.  In more cases than not, this sound will intrigue th…