News and notes from the outdoors

A few odds and ends for this Wednesday in early January:

The federal Bureau of Land Management recently released a policy document showing migratory bird deaths at oil and gas operation waste pits have been reduced by 50 percent to 75 percent in the past 15 years, saving 1 million to 1½ million birds. According to the BLM, about 2 million birds died in 1997 by landing in chemical-laden wastewater pits associated with oil and gas operations. Today, 500,000 to 1 million birds die in the pits.
“Seeing this downward trend in bird mortality is great news. Enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by dedicated staff of the Fish and Wildlife Service and implementation of Best Management Practices by BLM is obviously making a difference. And the willingness of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute offenses clearly provides the needed incentive to make sure that the industry shows diligence in following the law,” Dr. George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy, one of the nation’s leading bird conservation organizations, said  in a statement.
“I have every reason to believe that with continued persistence by the feds, that this downward trend in the oil and gas industry will continue. In the meantime ABC is still deeply concerned about birds killed by the fast-growing wind power industry, as it continues to rely on unenforceable voluntary guidelines for its operations.”

The Min-Dak Border Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association collected 279 deer hides during the 2012 deer season as part of its annual Hides for Habitat program drive. According to Loren Abel, chapter president, that’s down from 385 hides in 2011.

Bill Lindner has been inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame as a “Legendary Communicator” for his contributions to fishing. A renowned fishing, hunting and food photographer, he joins his dad, Ron Lindner, and uncle, Al Lindner, as Hall of Fame inductees. During his 36-year career, Lindner’s photos have graced numerous covers of national sportfishing magazines, print ads, tackle and marine commercials and the Internet.

 

 

 

 

Christmas Bird Count season at hand

The season for Christmas bird counts is at hand, and there are several opportunities for birdwatchers in the region to participate throughout the holiday season.

The Christmas Bird Count season officially begins Friday and continues through Jan. 5.

Dave Lambeth of the Grand Cities Bird Club photographed this Bohemian waxwing in December 2010 in Grand Forks. Bohemian waxwings are among the species birdwatchers in the region can expect to encounter during the Christmas Bird Count season that begins Friday and continues through Jan. 5.

This year’s Christmas Bird Count will be the 113th annual. The National Audubon Society coordinates the program and uses the information to track long-term changes in bird populations. According to Audubon, the Christmas Bird Count is the longest-running citizen science survey in the world. It’s also an opportunity for tens of thousands of birdwatchers to get together and record the type and number of birds they see in their respective 15-mile count circles.

In Grand Forks, for example, the center of the count circle is on U.S. Highway 2 about a mile east of the airport and includes Kellys Slough and parts of the Red and Turtle rivers. This will be the 52nd year of the Grand Forks count, which is set for Sunday. Participants should meet at 7 a.m. at the Northside Cafe on Gateway Drive. For more information, contact Dave Lambeth of the Grand Cities Bird Club at (701) 772-4560 or by email at davidlambeth58201@yahoo.com.

Here’s a listing of other Christmas Bird Counts in the region:

Saturday: Crookston. Meet at 7 a.m. at RBJ’s Restaurant, 1601 University Ave.; count will start at 8 a.m. Info: Tom Feiro, (218) 281-5515 (home), (218) 521-0223 (cell) or (218) 281-8300 (work).

Saturday: Lake Bemidji State Park, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Bring your binoculars and field guides and meet at the Visitor Center. Info: John Fylpaa, (218) 308-2300.

Saturday: Warren, Minn. Count begins at 9 a.m. Maps and routes will be handed out at a pre-count meeting (time and location tba). Meet at noon at Melody’s Cafe in Warren. Tally rally 4 p.m., location tba. Info: Heidi Hughes, AgassizAudubon@gmail.com.

Tuesday: Icelandic State Park near Cavalier, N.D. Meet at 7:30 a.m. at park headquarters or at 12:30 p.m. at the Highway 32 Diner in Walhalla, N.D. Tally rally at 5 p.m. at park headquarters. Info: Mike Jacobs, mjacobs@gfherald.com.

Tuesday: Bemidji. Meet at 7 a.m. at Minnesota Nice Cafe, 414 Beltrami Ave. NW. Tally Rally at 5:30 p.m., Brigid’s Cross Irish Pub, 317 Beltrami Ave., Bemidji. Info: Kelly Larson, northernflightsfarm@gmail.com.

Sunday: 18th annual Itasca winter bird count, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Itasca State Park. Meet at the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center at 8 a.m. for assignment of count areas. Dress warmly for outdoor winter conditions and bring lunch if staying for the entire day. Info: (218) 699-7259 or itasca.statepark@state.mn.us.

Dec. 29: Roseau, Minn. Meet at 7 a.m. at the Roseau Diner. Info: Pat Roth, (218) 463-3070.

For more information on the Christmas Bird Count program, including results from previous counts, click here:

 

Kestrel chicks to be banded Thursday

Five kestrels have hatched in a nesting box at the Agassiz Valley Water Resources Management Project near Warren, Minn. PKM Electric Cooperative installed 10 of the nesting boxes this spring.

Aaron Wall, a sixth-grade teacher at Warren-Alvarado-Oslo school, photographed these newly hatched kestrel chicks Monday. The chicks are scheduled to be banded Thursday.

Heidi Hughes, manager of the adjacent Audubon Center of the Red River Valley, said this morning in an email that the kestrel chicks will be banded at 11 a.m. Thursday. Tim Driscoll, director of the Urban Raptor Research Project, will be banding the chicks. Driscoll recently banded the three peregrine falcon chicks that hatched on the UND water tower and also has banded numerous Cooper’s hawks in Grand Forks.

Hughes said students from the Warren-Alvarado-Oslo school also will be on hand to witness Thursday’s banding. It should be a great opportunity for the students to get a first-hand look at the process and the newly hatched chicks.

And if you’ve never been to the Audubon Center near Warren, put it on your list. For more information, contact Hughes at (218) 745-5663 or click here: