Baby loons, fawns born into world

The first baby loon report came in June 6. Mel from Lake Emma Township reported seeing a gray baby riding on the back of one of its parents. Other babies have shown up this week, too. I saw a dead fawn on the side of the road June 4, but the morn...

The first baby loon report came in June 6. Mel from Lake Emma Township reported seeing a gray baby riding on the back of one of its parents.

Other babies have shown up this week, too. I saw a dead fawn on the side of the road June 4, but the morning of June 8 I saw a healthy baby bounding after its mother.

Speaking of road kill, painted turtles and snappers are starting to cross roads to lay eggs, and not all of them make it safely to a sunny slope. Driving to and from Bemidji June 6, my husband and I saw at least eight turtles, and some were already crushed.

If you decide it's safe to stop and help a turtle cross a road, it's important to take John Moriarty's advice in "Turtles and Turtle Watching for the North Central States" - move the turtle in the direction it was heading. Painted turtles seek southern facing slopes to lay their eggs, and nothing else will do.

Bird stories


  • Cindy Sarkela sent me a neat photograph of two turkey vultures perched on both ends of her barn roof, just east of Sebeka. The breasts and undersides of the vultures' wings made a distinctive dark Y. Turkey vulture heads always look small because they are featherless, and that's another way to distinguish them at a distance.
  • Evidently swimming eagles aren't that uncommon. Before last week's column even came out, Judy Novak from 8th Crow Wing saw a mature eagle swimming June 2. The bird swam with its catch to shore, where another eagle joined it for the feast.
  • Edric Clarke of Park Rapids reported seeing a skein of 80 to 90 geese pass overhead June 1 or 2. "I wondered why they were so late," he wrote. "Could it be they were members of the Avian Procrastination Society?"

The answer is yes, in a way these geese are procrastinators, but it's for a good reason: They are either too young to breed, or have already lost their brood, so they don't have to worry about raising young. Consequently, they come north to go through a summer molt. They will be flightless for about two weeks after shedding their wing flight feathers.

  • Peggy from Two Inlets has only three hummingbirds this year and is using just one of her three nectar feeders. I, however, have counted at least 10-12 hummingbirds here in the meadow, which is normal to high.

Window crashers
A reader named Don wrote to me about robins flying into the lakeside windows on his house. For the past three weeks, robins have been crashing into the glass.

My guess is that the rapidly changing angle of the sun has confused the robins. As we approach the summer solstice, sunlight hits windows at a different angle, apparently making the glass look like open air.

Pulling the blinds or adding window decals or shiny scare strip ribbons will help birds "see" the glass as the season changes.

Black, red

We haven't seen any bears or bear handiwork since May 27, but Peggy from Two Inlets had a big black bear visit June 2. The bear did not pay any attention to Peggy until she "shook a plastic bag full of empty aluminum cans at him. That sent him galloping off into the woods."

We have a very spendy red squirrel living here in the meadow. This time it took $90 to repair the wires "Red" chewed up in our truck. She had a mossy little nest built under the hood.

Bog down


Last week Stan from Becida wrote to say that Labrador tea was in bloom. "I drive by two bogs between home and Bemidji," he said. "It was nice to see so much beauty in otherwise dull spots."

Stan then went on to ask two questions about the bogs. "Do you think there is a chance that insect eating plants could be found in these bogs? As kids, the locals in Fern Township were warned to stay away, because they would sink into it. Is that true?"

Answer #1: Sundew and pitcher plants can be found in the bogs at Itasca and other state parks, so I'm going to say yes, "insect eaters" probably do exist in the bogs Stan passes on his travels.

Answer #2: Yes, you can sink down into a bog. Since bogs get their water supply from the bottom up and fill in with vegetation from the sides, what might appear to be ground could actually be a mat of sphagnum moss floating on water. If you step on that, you probably will sink down.

To learn more about bogs and their flowers, take a look at "Wildflowers of the BWCA and the North Shore" by Sparky Stensaas and Rick Kollath.

Thank you to all who wrote with news. When sending your reports, be sure to give your name and a little information on where you made your sighting. Send to maureeng@ no later than 8 a.m. Thursdays. If it's easier, feel free to drop a letter by the office, or in the mail.

This column is brought to you by Park Ace Hardware.

How is your garden coming? Remember Ace carries fertilizers, garden tools, hoses and more.


Open seven days a week, Ace is located on Highway 71 So., Park Rapids. 732-4315. Ace is the place with the helpful hardware folks.

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