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Late yellow-rumped warbler spotted in Becida hazel

We had about 1.9 inches of rain out here in the meadow this past week. What we didn't have was snow. Folks living near the Hubbard / Beltrami County line, however, saw their first snow of the season when they woke up Tuesday, Oct. 9. I heard abou...

We had about 1.9 inches of rain out here in the meadow this past week. What we didn't have was snow.

Folks living near the Hubbard / Beltrami County line, however, saw their first snow of the season when they woke up Tuesday, Oct. 9.

I heard about an inch fell in the Bemidji area, with greater amounts farther north. When I was driving to work at about 9 a.m., clumps of wet snow were visible in the grass and on vehicles around Bemidji.

See? The juncos (a.k.a. snowbirds) knew what was what when they showed up last week.

Despite recent cool temperatures, some mushrooms continue to thrive in this dampness. Two big clumps of inky cap mushrooms keep expanding in my yard. This is the mushroom that makes good drawing ink if you boil the mature caps.

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Bird news

Stan from Becida saw a yellow-rumped warbler in the hazel brush Saturday, Oct. 6. I would guess this is probably one of the last warblers passing through the area.

Stan also spotted numerous juncos and white-throated sparrows Tuesday, Oct. 9, as well as a few fox sparrows. He also saw a single robin.

During a dry spell this weekend, I was sitting on the patio when a pileated woodpecker flew about 10 feet overhead. I hear this bird frequently in the woods next to the house, but it was nice to see his pointy beak.

Moose

By now, many people have probably heard that a hunter shot a moose so large that the animal is breaking state records. According to the "Star Tribune," the moose killed near Moose Camp Lake by Jack Weix weighed about 1,200 pounds. The moose had antlers that measured 5 feet from tip to tip.

Erik Hildebrand, a student in my literature class at Bemidji State University, was on Moose Camp Lake in the BWCA the day the legendary moose met its fate. When Erik told me about his experience, he kept shaking his head in disbelief about the size of the moose. He said he could just about lie down between the antlers.

That got me thinking about the sizes and spans of different things in nature, and this is the list I came up with:

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n From nose to tail tip, a cougar can measure up to 9 feet long.

n The wingspans of a trumpeter swan and bald eagle can be 80 inches, or more than 6.5 feet.

n The wingspan of a sandhill crane is 77 inches, or slightly less than 6.5 feet.

n From nose to tail tip, a gray wolf can measure from 74 to 80 inches.

n The wingspan of a great blue heron is 72 inches, or 6 feet.

n The wingspan of a tundra swan in 66 inches, or 5.5 feet.

n The wingspan of a wild tom turkey is 64 inches.

n The span of the antlers of the record-setting moose was 60 inches, or 5 feet.

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n A raven's wingspan is 53 inches, or slightly more than 4.5 feet.

n The wingspan of a great gray owl is 52 inches, or 4.5 feet exactly.

n From nose to tail tip, a bobcat measures about 4 feet.

n By contrast, the wingspan of a ruby-throated hummingbird is 4.5 inches, and a northern short-tailed shrew measures just 4 inches from nose to tail tip.

(All the information in this list came from Stan Tekiela's "Mammals of Minnesota Field Guide" and "The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America.")

What's going on in your neck of the woods? Drop a line and tell me. When sending your reports, be sure to give your name and a little information on where you made your sighting. Send to maureeng@unitelc.com .

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