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It's a Disaster!


Fri, Nov 9th, 2001
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Monday, October 29, 2001

We see the birds flying in V's overhead with their long white necks stretched to their full lengths. We are close to our destination--Rieck's Lake, three miles north of Alma, Wisconsin along the Mississippi River. We roll down our windows and hear a cacophony of hi-pitched whooping mixed with a few quacks. It's a wild sound that touches something deep within us, something very old.

When we reach the lake, we see a flock of swans coming in for a landing. Each swan cups its wings downwards, drops its landing gear in the form of black feet and floats in a rocking motion to the lake. At the same time, other swans are taking off. To achieve flight, they face into the wind then run along the surface of the lake flapping their wings and beating the water with their feet until they gain enough speed to fly.

It is the second week in November 2000. My husband and I are on our annual pilgrimage to see the tundra swan migration at Rieck's Lake. We aren't the only ones here today. People of all ages, some with binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras, line the shores and mill about on the observation deck. We smile and nod to complete strangers who don't seem like strangers today. Our common bond is our desire to experience the swans.

Every fall, large concentrations of tundra swans, formerly called whistling swans, arrive at Rieck's Lake and other places along the Mississippi River including Weaver Bottoms on the Minnesota side. The birds begin arriving from their nesting grounds in the Alaskan or Canadian tundra in mid-October and will stay until late November or freeze-up. They will then move on, flying at speeds up to 100 miles an hour, to their wintering grounds along the East Coast near Chesapeake Bay and in the marshes of Virginia and North Carolina.

Swans mate for life. Only if one partner dies, will the other seek a new mate. Courtship includes bowing, calling and the male's high-stepping walk with arched neck and outstretched wings. The male, or "cob," chooses the nest site and helps build the nest. The female, or "pen," lays 2 to 8 eggs, which hatch in about 32 days. During incubation, the female cares for the eggs while the male stands guard nearby. The young, or "cygnets," hatch in late June and will stay with their parents for about one year.

Adult tundras are all white except for black bills and feet and, sometimes, single yellow spots in front of their eyes. Immature birds are b .....
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Return of the Eagles

Fri, Nov 9th, 2001
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By John LevellMonday, November 12, 2001

Despite the unseasonably warm temperatures of early November 2001, Bald Eagles can again be seen soaring over the Root River Bluffs of the Lanesboro region. Their arrival, as much a ..... 
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Berries for Winter Birds

Fri, Nov 9th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, November 12, 2001

More than just winter interest, you can add color to your landscape and feed the birds by planning ahead and incorporating berries into your garden plan.

There are lots of plants that have grea ..... 
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Take Your Time

Fri, Nov 9th, 2001
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Monday, Octovber 22, 2001

Iím all goofed up again. Daylight savings time, or lack of it, is the culprit. Just when a guy is getting used to it then we spring ahead or fall back. It makes sense in my mind, but my body just doesnít buy the reali ..... 
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The other battle in Afghanistan is for food

Fri, Nov 9th, 2001
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Monday, November 12, 2001

While the United States attacks Taliban-held positions in Afghanistan, there is another critical battle underway in the central Asian country: how to feed the millions of people without food.

We havenít been ..... 
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Fri, Nov 9th, 2001
Posted in

Fri, Nov 9th, 2001
Posted in

Fri, Nov 9th, 2001
Posted in

Fri, Nov 9th, 2001
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To the editor,

We are thankful for the courageous leadership of our government officials in this difficult time, and for the restraint they showed, not responding with a knee-jerk reaction, but working to build a wide coalition of nations.
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