Helping Lesser Prairie-Chickens and the People Saving Them

In 2013, when I did my Conservation Big Year, one of the birds I was most focused on seeing was the Lesser Prairie-Chicken. I saw and heard my first ones way back in April 1996 when my sister-in-law Jeanie and I took a road trip out West. One of my destinations was Lamar, Colorado, where […]

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Brrrrrrrr! But a Lesser Yellowlegs

What a frigid morning! But if we were cold, the birds seemed even colder. We had something of a fall-out at Park Point—I’m sure our numbers for most of the songbirds are way lower than the actual numbers. We had a couple of Lesser Yellowlegs (the most we saw as a group was one, but […]

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Letters from Listeners: Odd Things Birds Eat

In the past few weeks, I’ve received a couple of letters from listeners about their backyard birds eating unusual items. Craig Magnuson of Forks, Washington, wrote that he’s seen Evening Grosbeaks, during several different summers, eating cold campfire charcoal shortly after dawn at the Lake Kachess campground in the Wenatchee National Forest. He noted that […]

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Where are the birds?

Every year I get several letters like one that came in mid-February from WXPR listener Doug Heise, who lives in Rhinelander and has been feeding birds for 30 years. He wrote about the species he’s fed over the years: “So many different varieties. chickadees, nuthatches, many types of finches, Pine Siskins, Chipping Sparrows, cardinals, Blue […]

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15,354 Days and Counting

As of today, the Ides of March 2017, I saw my first Black-capped Chickadee 15,354 days ago. I’ve seen more than one chickadee on most of those days and over 200 in a single day on a few Christmas Bird Counts. I’m sure I haven’t seen an average of 65 chickadees a day over that […]

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The decline, East to West, of the Golden-winged Warbler

The once common Golden-winged Warbler now has one of the smallest populations of any songbird not on the Endangered Species List. An estimated 400,000 breeding adults remained in 2013—a drop of 66 percent since the 1960s, based on Breeding Bird Survey numbers. This survey, which focuses on males singing on territories, began in 1966; we […]

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Heartbreaking news about lead use in our National Wildlife Refuges

I hate political, or personal, drama—it’s rather an odd thing for a Chicago woman of Irish descent, born-and-raised as a Cubs fan, but that’s just the way I am. I got all three of those traits, along with my normally low blood pressure, from my Grandpa. But today I can feel that blood pressure rising, […]

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The Pathological Moseyers Visit the Bog

I was in Colorado this month during the annual Sax-Zim Bog Birding Festival. It’s sad when even a lovely conflict makes me miss the wonderful local event, so on Saturday I headed to the bog with my little birding dog Pip and my friend Lisa. Earlier in the week, the forecast had called for snow […]

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Eurasian Tree Sparrow in Minnesota

On January 4, 2017, Two Harbors’s wonderful birding guru, Jim Lind, reported on eBird that there was a Eurasian Tree Sparrow hanging out with a flock of House Sparrows right in town. It may have been there earlier than that, because I later read an MOU listserv post by Kim Eckert saying it had first […]

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Dealing with Uncertainties

At the end of every year, I plot out the coming year using an electronic calendar and a paper one. Year after year, I’ve always enjoyed marking in birthdays of friends and family, putting in all my anticipated speaking engagements and birding trips, and thinking how tidily the new year is shaping up. There’s some […]

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