I took this video of a Pileated Woodpecker a couple of days ago hard at work finding food. The video is slowed down to 1/2 the actual speed at which the woodpecker was working such that you may appreciate everything that is happening. Enjoy!
It has been a fun winter season of birding. In addition to my buddy Jeff from the Minneapolis area who took the “Birding with Rich” photographs, I have been privileged to bird with folks this winter from:
- Des Moines
- San Francisco
Take a look at my “about me” page where you will learn who I am, and whether you would enjoy birding with the NorthStar Nerd (my nickname). However, if you were hoping to bird with me this winter, you are out of luck. Tomorrow I head south with Molly for Tucson. I will trade my Nordic skis for a bicycle. Would love birding recommendations for the Tucson area, or anywhere in between Duluth and the SW. As a fyi, I avoid interstate highways. Here is one final northern bird photo … a yard bird.
If you wait till the sun is already up to go birding you will miss out on lots of activity. During the 30 minutes prior to sunup this morning I saw many Great Gray Owls, and lots of Ruffed Grouse. When the golden orb finally appeared with an increase in wind, the owls went to bed. Thus, I drove down to Lake Superior and found this Bald Eagle enjoying the morning sun. Over the next ten minutes I slowly inched closer to the eagle such that I would not spook it. By 60 minutes after sunrise my birding was complete!
No trips to the owling grounds this weekend. Instead it was Woodpecker Weekend! I knew the winds would be light allowing me to use my ears to locate some birds. At 8 am with the temperature at -17F (not windchill) I arrived at the Warren Nelson Bog. However, my Steger Mukluks were up to the chilly weather and I began my search. After almost two hours and only one black backed and hairy woodpecker, I decided to warm up in my car. Those two hours saw the air warm to almost zero degrees.
My next move was to drive over to McDavitt Road. The air continued calm and very soon I found a very cooperative Black Backed Woodpecker in the Boreal Bog. It was interesting to see how many folks who were slowly cruising McDavitt for owls I could entice out of their cars to hoof it into the woods to see a woodpecker. I think I had about a 50% success ratio. Major, major kudos to the guy who said “Absolutely!” and then got out of his vehicle and followed me into the woods using a cane (leg mishapen due to an accident a few years back I learned). His personal fortitude was amazing! I say well birded, sir!
After this fun morning in the Bog, I needed to drive down to the Twin Cities for some social engagements. I exited the Boreal Bog and birded an Oak Savannah this morning. It was amazing the number of red headed woodpeckers which were wintering in Minnesota. A side bonus was the air temperature at 8 am was already +1F … a heat wave for this northern Minnesota kid. Check out the Fish Lake Nature Trails! (not the Hennepin County Regional Park)
Oh yeah, even though I was not looking for owls in the Bog yesterday, I guess they were looking for me. I found this Northern Hawk Owl 800 yards in off McDavitt via the South Logging Road. Moral of the story, dress warmly and get out of your cars, folks!