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Fourth Annual Bluff Country Bird Festival


Fri, May 23rd, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Have you ever wished for the excitement of seeing something again for the first time? That's how I feel about the migrating warblers, small colorful songbirds that flit about in the trees eating insects. A friend of mine calls them "flying works of art."

On the weekend of May 16-18, the fourth annual Bluff Country Bird Festival gave me the opportunity to watch novice birdwatchers discovering warblers for the first time. The American redstart, glossy black, with bright orange patches on its sides, wings and tail, was the most plentiful warbler we observed. It was fun to see expressions of wonder on the faces of people who had not known that warblers even existed and their amazement when they learned that there are about 35 species of this family that migrate through our region each spring and fall.

The headquarters for this year's bird festival was the Houston Community Center. The kickoff event on Friday evening was a presentation by me on the many ways to learn about birds--by studying appearances, vocalizations, classification, habitat, behavior, range and migration routes, birds that come to feeders, nests, eggs and biology.

On Saturday and Sunday, field trips led by Chuck Juhnke of Stewartville, Fred Lesher of LaCrosse, Scott Mehus of Buffalo City, WI, and Jeff Dankert of Winona, took place at Houston's South Park; Mound Prairie Marsh Wildlife Management Area; Money Creek Woods/Vinegar Ridge; and Beaver Creek State Park.

Among other birds, visitors to the marsh saw nesting sandhill cranes. They also watched the displays and heard the primitive territorial calls of yellow-headed blackbirds.

Beaver Creek treated birders to a pair of tiny blue-gray gnatcatchers building their nest of plant down, fibers and catkins, held together by spider silk and decorated with bits of lichen. The park also yielded views of its signature birds, the Cerulean Warbler and the Louisiana Waterthrush, both of which are threatened.

At Money Creek Woods/ Vinegar Ridge, novice birders had ample time to study a scarlet tanager at close range. The tanager seems new each year even to seasoned birders; memory cannot do justice to this glowing red bird with black wings that looks like it belongs in a jungle instead of a forest in Minnesota. The group also saw and heard singing eastern towhees, which are large sparrows with black upperparts and rufous .....
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Another View: Farmers need to be active in 'Wall Street' government

Fri, May 23rd, 2003
Posted in Columnists

In today's economy, farmers need to be involved in two governments: our regular, civic government; and a second "economic or Wall Street" government.

For generations, farmers have looked to the government to help solve their in ..... 
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Journal Writing Project: Kyle Anderson

Fri, May 16th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

By Kyle Anderson  Whatever happened this year,   Is now in the past,   Fond, happy memories,   That hopefully will last.

The su ..... 
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The Commute: Crossing the finishing line

Fri, May 16th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

At a faculty meeting last week, one of our senior department members announced a small bit of good news regarding the budget. Maybe it was the end-of-semester stress, but for whatever reason, the rest of us responded by applauding him enthusiasticall ..... 
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Township Roads- Tractor Driving Lessons

Fri, May 16th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

I was out having fun with the tractor today. My son, Ted, and I had a load of firewood to throw on the neighbor’s wagon. The most fun for me is watching Ted start and drive the old Farmall H. We have a driving lesson every time we take it out of the ..... 
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Journal Writing Project: Matt Ruen

Fri, May 9th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Thanks to all of you out there,  Who’ve read this column o’mine.  I’ve enjoyed writing it through the year,  The experience has been fine.  This is my ..... 
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Of People, Places and Things: Please leave guns at the door

Fri, May 9th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Is that a pistol in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?   Mae West

Please leave guns at the door.   That sign was on the front entrance of a pizza joint I frequented in ..... 
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