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  • Paul Schutte

The Return of Spring

Apologies to the Author: The webmaster received this article from Paul Schutte on April 13, 2018, but failed to post it until June 20 - when summer is now finally underway. Perhaps this inadvertent delay was helpful for those that were distraught by those heavy snows in mid April.

For some reason this year the calendar says spring, but looking outside old man winter just does not want to let go this year. Many migratory bird species will be returning and mating rituals will take place. They will raise their young and then make their long journey back to a warmer climate this fall.

The timing of spring migration seems to be controlled primary by changes in day’s length. Sometimes this can result in death to some species, if a long cold front and or snow hits the landscape. As of March 31st many woodcock have begun migrating thru the area. Their main diet consists of earth worms. With the late snow and cold we received, it could be hard for the survival on some of these birds. As for the Bluebird, they may have a better chance of survival if it can find some lasting fruits such as Highbush Cranberry, bittersweet, Hackberry, etc. One of our beautiful species of waterfowl, the Wood Duck, always arrives around the 1st of April. This year was no different as they were seen sailing thru the trees. I suspect they are spending time on the river.

MN Bobwhite Tracks in the Snow (April 2018)

Purple Martins diet consists of insects. When the temperature gets below 50 degrees most insects are not capable of flying. So if the cold front last more than a few days the Purple Martin could starve. Adult Purple Martins usually begin to return around April 6th.

Our favorites, the Bobwhite Quail and Pheasants, are also beginning to whistle and crow. After the surviving the long winter, they too are awaiting warmer weather so nesting season can begin.

Sometimes nature has its own way of controlling certain species and we must accept that. So sit back and enjoy the best of nature when many migratory species finally arrive. It should be quite a show when they do…… Welcome Back!!!

Additional Note from the Webmaster: The adjacent photo was taken by the author, Paul Schutte, near the time this article was written. These are bobwhite quail tracks, in the snow! His wild bobwhite successfully survived a Minnesota winter and we able to do so as a result of his habitat work, focus on food availability and a little luck, as this winter was not terribly harsh. But, to be clear, these ARE wild bobwhite tracks in Minnesota! This picture should be exciting for all that cherish the presence of wild bobwhite in Minnesota; and, should be incredibly rewarding for all those that work hard to ensure bobwhite can live and thrive in Minnesota.

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