Grand Portage-based photographer Travis Notvitsky captured this ruffed grouse performing a drum solo atop a log. Drumming is the male grouse’s way of saying: “Yo, this is my territory and I’m ready to mate if anyone is interested.”
We were curious what was lighting up our radar screen this morning, turns out a lot of seagulls or lake gulls are flying south across the head of Lake Superior this morning. #mnwx #wiwx #lakesuperior pic.twitter.com/tribeDe2wp
— NWS Duluth (@NWSduluth) June 11, 2019
NWS Duluth also tweeted: “The bird density was about 3-6 birds at a time onscreen all going south. Radar returns are based on the diameter of the scatterer to the 6th power. So the birds look like large hail stones, they really light up the display even though there aren’t as many as you’d think.”
Duluth birder Richard Hoeg captured this video of twin great horned owls in the Lester Park area. On his 365 Days of Birds blog, Hoeg named the parent owls Les and Amy, after Lester River and Amity Creek. Hoeg wrote that the happy owl couple started dating last fall and would often sing back and forth, sometimes in his yard. “Over the course of the winter the relationship grew stronger,” according to Hoeg, “and the couple cemented the bond in early March!”
Clinton Nienhaus, head naturalist for the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog and education director for Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory narrates this video about how Great Gray Owls hunt for voles in winter. Video by Sparky Stensaas.
Richard Hoeg spotted a snowy owl on Duluth Harbor ice this morning and at first didn’t think it was out of the ordinary. Returning a few hours later, he noticed the owl had only moved a few feet and didn’t flush when a pair of dogs were checking it out. So with the help of a fish net, wood and duct tape, he pulled the owl in and passed it along to Wildwoods Rehabilitation. Hoeg tells the full story on his 365 Days of Birds blog.
In the West Duluth area we get two choruses — a din of birds sing-talking. It’s annoying. It happens at dawn and also dusk. I am wondering if there is an expert who could tell me what type of bird this might be. I don’t have a recording, but it usually goes something like wa-oh wa-oh wa-oh twitter spike. The song is really varied with each “sentence” or “question.” It happens before the crows start their cawing craziness and the seagulls start piping up.
When my boys were young, they found a baby robin in our backyard. That little bird ruled our world for a few days, but more remarkably, it brought me to my spiritual knees. My place in things — motherhood, nature, humanness — all came into question. A decade later, I am still pirouetting with the lessons, the most resonant being my wonderment at the place I hold among animals, which I find to be rather startling. The writer Wendell Berry said in one of my favorite poems, “I come into the peace of wild things.” What I learned was not — and is still not — entirely peaceful. But in being gobsmacked by a few ounces of feathers, I have been able to see the elegance and intelligence of things I didn’t see before. The skills and abilities we are given for our particular deed. It just comes to us. We are so lucky, so blessed, so capable — even while we find the limits of our own animalness.
The robin my boys found was clearly too young to be on her own. She had enough wing feathers to get herself safely out of a tree without a deadly landing, but her landing strip was a backyard ruled by boys and curious dogs. Her appearance at ground level was, of course, a breathless, wide-eyed event for my elementary-aged boys, who instantly and frantically began saving her. I was swearing silently while directing an evacuation of the backyard, contending with that horrible gut heaviness that comes when you know your heart is about to be split open. I peered hopefully out the window with the boys many times before dinner, watching to see if the robin parents would somehow come for her. That was my irrational hope.