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Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron Nesting

In this week’s column, Stan Tekiela discusses the nesting habits of the Great Blue Heron. There’s a large and very common bird that people see on a regular basis, but rarely does anyone see it nesting. The bird is the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), the largest and  tallest of the North American herons. The name is often shorted to just “GBH.” It is found in every state in the nation in good numbers. Some regions see this long-legged bird all year long, while others see them in warmer weather only. This bird is a great example of how common names often don’t make any sense. Let’s break down the name. Great refers to being the largest of its kind. I can agree with that part of the name. What I have problems with is the “blue” part of the name. I have photographed this bird in all stages of its life and in more parts...

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Children reading books

Great Blue Heron Nesting

In this week’s column, Stan Tekiela discusses the nesting habits of the Great Blue Heron. There’s a large and very common bird that people see on a regular basis, but rarely does anyone see it nesting. The bird is the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), the largest and  tallest of the North American herons. The name is often shorted to just “GBH.” It is found in every state in the nation in good numbers. Some regions see this long-legged bird all year long, while others see them in warmer weather only. This bird is a great example of how common names often don’t make any sense. Let’s break down the name. Great refers to being the largest of its kind. I can agree with that part of the name. What I have problems with is the “blue” part of the name. I have photographed this bird in all stages of its life and in more parts...

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Cranes, Herons & Egrets

The Elegance of Our Tallest Birds Stan Tekiela, author of Cranes, Herons & Egrets, shares with us his love for these majestic birds. Cranes, herons, and egrets are long-legged, elegant birds that are amazing to watch. Seeing them near our homes or while out for a walk or bike ride greatly enhances our outdoor experience. Because they tend to be tall, large, colorful, and fairly obvious, we take much joy in being able to observe and identify them easily. Cranes are the royalty of the bird world. No other birds represent such beauty, stateliness, and grace. Since the dawn of time and across every nation on this planet, cranes have drawn the admiration of people. From their soul-touching call to their magnificent flight, Sandhill and Whooping Cranes adorn North America with their presence. The Splendor of Cranes If the Sandhill Crane is the main event, then the Whooping Crane has to be the highlight! The tallest bird in North America, this majestic creature was nearly driven...

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Cranes, Herons & Egrets

Cranes, Herons & Egrets

The Elegance of Our Tallest Birds Stan Tekiela, author of Cranes, Herons & Egrets, shares with us his love for these majestic birds. Cranes, herons, and egrets are long-legged, elegant birds that are amazing to watch. Seeing them near our homes or while out for a walk or bike ride greatly enhances our outdoor experience. Because they tend to be tall, large, colorful, and fairly obvious, we take much joy in being able to observe and identify them easily. Cranes are the royalty of the bird world. No other birds represent such beauty, stateliness, and grace. Since the dawn of time and across every nation on this planet, cranes have drawn the admiration of people. From their soul-touching call to their magnificent flight, Sandhill and Whooping Cranes adorn North America with their presence. The Splendor of Cranes If the Sandhill Crane is the main event, then the Whooping Crane has to be the highlight! The tallest bird in North America, this majestic creature was nearly driven...

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Maple syruping

March Chores and Maple Syrup

In this week’s column, Stan Tekiela talks to us about maple syrup, a uniquely American product. I love this time of year. March is a transition month and often heralds the beginning of spring, even here in the frozen north. Many of our backyard birds are singing their spring mating and territorial songs. Some early migrating birds, such as Bluebirds and Horned Larks, are already arriving. The male Goldfinches have molted their old, drab, gray feathers for a new coat of bright yellow feathers. It is also the time to get out and clean out your Wood Duck boxes or to put up new ones. The Wood Duck, along with the Common Goldeneye and the Hooded Merganser, is a small duck species that nests inside cavities. Providing these ducks with a safe, warm, and dry place to nest is essential. So, before the ice is off your pond, it’s always good to inspect your...

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Children reading books

March Chores and Maple Syrup

In this week’s column, Stan Tekiela talks to us about maple syrup, a uniquely American product. I love this time of year. March is a transition month and often heralds the beginning of spring, even here in the frozen north. Many of our backyard birds are singing their spring mating and territorial songs. Some early migrating birds, such as Bluebirds and Horned Larks, are already arriving. The male Goldfinches have molted their old, drab, gray feathers for a new coat of bright yellow feathers. It is also the time to get out and clean out your Wood Duck boxes or to put up new ones. The Wood Duck, along with the Common Goldeneye and the Hooded Merganser, is a small duck species that nests inside cavities. Providing these ducks with a safe, warm, and dry place to nest is essential. So, before the ice is off your pond, it’s always good to inspect...

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The Chicken Mushroom Announces Its Presence Loudly

Today, Teresa Marronne and Walt Sturgeon share with us some fascinating facts about the colorful Chicken Mushroom. Unlike other edible mushrooms that seem to use natural camouflage to hide from the eager forager, the Chicken Mushroom (Laetiporus) announces its presence loudly. Its bright colors, large size, and frequently elevated location make it easy to spot from a fair distance. The mushrooms are found in association with live, dead, or dying trees. The appearance of Chicken Mushrooms on a living tree is a signal that the tree has been attacked by the mushroom’s parasitic mycelium (thread-like fungal roots), which can sometimes be seen as whitish fibers in cracks in the wood. The fungus causes heart rot of the host tree. Three different species are found in our area. All grow as a grouping of thick, stemless, fan-shaped caps; individual caps may be up to 12 inches wide but are generally smaller. Caps are some shade of orange to yellow-orange, with a fair amount of variation among different groupings...

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Monsters of the Midwest

The Chicken Mushroom Announces its Presence Loudly

Today, Teresa Marronne and Walt Sturgeon share with us some fascinating facts about the colorful Chicken Mushroom. Unlike other edible mushrooms that seem to use natural camouflage to hide from the eager forager, the Chicken Mushroom (Laetiporus) announces its presence loudly. Its bright colors, large size, and frequently elevated location make it easy to spot from a fair distance. The mushrooms are found in association with live, dead, or dying trees. The appearance of Chicken Mushrooms on a living tree is a signal that the tree has been attacked by the mushroom’s parasitic mycelium (thread-like fungal roots), which can sometimes be seen as whitish fibers in cracks in the wood. The fungus causes heart rot of the host tree. Three different species are found in our area. All grow as a grouping of thick, stemless, fan-shaped caps; individual caps may be up to 12 inches wide but are generally smaller. Caps are some shade of orange to yellow-orange, with a fair amount of variation among different groupings...

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Grandmother with kids

LARK Toy Store

In their book Grandparents Minnesota Style, Mike Link and Kate Crowley provide opportunities for adults and children to spend more time discovering Minnesota together. The book is designed for today’s grandparents who want to use the time together with their grandchildren to laugh, have fun, create memories, and grow. LARK Toy Store should come with a warning: Be prepared for an imagination overload! Your grandchild won’t be the only one who is overwhelmed. LARK Toy Store is the place for people of all ages to let go of their inhibitions, where play is king, where design and art meld, where shopping and games come together. Who would imagine such a place exists just outside the quiet river town of Kellogg, south of Wabasha? This grandchild’s paradise has it all: an outdoor miniature golf course, an indoor carousel, a bookstore, a candy store, a woodcraft workshop and—oh, yes—a toy store! Original owners Sarah and Donn Kreofsky...

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LARK Toy Store

In their book Grandparents Minnesota Style, Mike Link and Kate Crowley provide opportunities for adults and children to spend more time discovering Minnesota together. The book is designed for today’s grandparents who want to use the time together with their grandchildren to laugh, have fun, create memories, and grow. LARK Toy Store should come with a warning: Be prepared for an imagination overload! Your grandchild won’t be the only one who is overwhelmed. LARK Toy Store is the place for people of all ages to let go of their inhibitions, where play is king, where design and art meld, where shopping and games come together. Who would imagine such a place exists just outside the quiet river town of Kellogg, south of Wabasha? This grandchild’s paradise has it all: an outdoor miniature golf course, an indoor carousel, a bookstore, a candy store, a woodcraft workshop and—oh, yes—a toy store! Original owners Sarah and Donn Kreofsky...

Read More