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Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas


Fri, Apr 10th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



On March 19, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar released the first ever comprehensive report on bird populations in the United States, showing that nearly a third of the nation's 800 bird species are endangered, threatened or in significant decline due to habitat loss, invasive species and other threats.

"Just as they were when Rachel Carson published 'Silent Spring'

nearly 50 years ago, birds today are a bellwether of the health of land, water and ecosystems," Salazar said. "We must work together now to ensure we never hear the deafening silence in our forests, fields and backyards that Rachel Carson warned us about."

One important bird conservation project, the creation of a Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas (MNBBA), has just begun and will continue for the next five years. The work is overdue since we are one of only seven states that has not developed an atlas.The project seeks to identify every species that breeds in our state and the areas in which it breeds. To accomplish these goals, hundreds of volunteers will conduct surveys and document any breeding behavior they observe. The data will then be used to create maps that show the occurrence and breeding status of all species in the state and provide base-line information for monitoring future changes to bird populations. This information will lend support to conservation planning.

Because the MNBBA depends on the participation of citizen scientists, it provides opportunities for birdwatchers throughout the state to contribute. Atlas Surveyors sign up for one or more Priority Blocks, which are the northeast quadrant of every township. Surveyors need to be familiar with birds in their area, but do not need to be experts. They must locate and find access to each habitat type in their blocks, then go out and record breeding behavior, which will require about 25 hours of active surveying from roughly early April through early August. A surveyor's handbook provides instructions and forms to complete.

For anyone with a more casual interest in birds, becoming a Field Observer is a good way to participate. Field Observers may contribute incidental observations from anywhere in the state, from parks, backyards or favorite hiking trails.

Fillmore County residents could find participation in the MNBBA significantly rewarding. According to the Minnesota County Biological Survey, Fillmore is the most biologically diverse county in the state and is rich in .....
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One moment, please...

Fri, Apr 3rd, 2009
Posted in Commentary

There were lots of interesting things going on in the news this past week.

Impeached former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (careful how you say that - your kids might be within earshot), and his plentiful head of hair, were indicted on 16 ..... 
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Duel: France and America, scalpels at 10 paces

Fri, Apr 3rd, 2009
Posted in Commentary

I picked France because it is the poster child of indulgent laziness and "nanny statism" for all those rugged individualists who live by the code "I made mine all by myself without help from anyone, now you get yours without help from me."

..... 
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Spring will come

Sat, Mar 28th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Maybe what we all need is a little pep talk. The news these days is heavily burdened with bad economic information and we at the same time are finally putting a long winter behind us. The grass will soon be turning green and those hardy Crocus and D ..... 
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Is Congress up to the task before it?

Sat, Mar 28th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

I arrived in Congress in 1965, just as President Lyndon Johnson's transformation of the U.S. government was getting under way. It was an extraordinary time, as LBJ sent up to Capitol Hill his proposals for Medicare, Medicaid, aid to elementary and s ..... 
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One moment, please...

Sat, Mar 28th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

This past week has definitely been positively enlightening.

First, I need to thank all of our readers, in print and online, for giving me your feedback on our new features.

More and more people are replacing their time in front of th ..... 
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One moment, please...

Fri, Mar 20th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

As you read YOUR newspaper today, I hope you enjoy some new elements we have introduced in an effort to stimulate further interactivity with readers in print and online.

Beginning with the March 9 issue of the Fillmore County Journal, we ini ..... 
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Queen for a day wins her Hysterectomy

Fri, Mar 13th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Have you seen the commercial for Colonoscopy Sweepstakes? Saturday Night Live would have been proud to have written that one but, alas, it was real. For those of you who wonder about the direction of health care, ponder no more. It is the purest of ..... 
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One moment, please... Homer Simpson moments

Fri, Feb 27th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



For those of you who didn't catch it in last Monday's Fillmore County Journal, to the lower left of my column is a reference point for which I feel an obligation to share with readers.

We made a mistake. We noted the author of the Jo ..... 
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