raptor tales

Julie Ponder, executive director of the U of M Raptor Center, talks about large Raptors and small pets.


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Rare “regular” Bird visits the area

Black-billed Magpie

Magpie portrait

beautiful iridcence on the Magpie




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Moose vs Wolf


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Another Red Crossbill recording


Type 10 Sitka Spruce Red Crossbill


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Signs of Spring

Believe it or not, the birds are starting to show signs of a changing season.



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Here in northern Minnesota there are 2 species of Crossbill. The White-winged Crossbill and the Red Crossbill

White-winged Crossbill

Red Crossbill

The male in both species is colored red. The White-winged is more of a rosy red while the Red Crossbill is more of a brick red. Both species have the distinctive crossed bill which they use to extract seeds from the cones of conifer trees.

The females are not red, but are mostly a rusty greenish, yellow color. There are many variations in the females and first year males.

female White-winged Crossbill


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Red Crossbills

Did you know there are 10 types of Red Crossbill in North America?

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is studying the different types and they asked for people to send in recordings of the birds calls. I was lucky enough the other day to find a flock of Red Crossbills when I was on the Crane Lake Road driving to town, I used the video on my phone to make the recording. It came out pretty good. Ignore the Blue Jay that is calling in the background.


This recording is a Type 5 or Lodgepole Pine sub-species. And according to researcher, Tim Spahr of Cornell, this type has been only the second time that it has been reported from Minnesota.


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Woodpeckers pecking on your house?


check out the above link from the Minneapolis Star Tribune about Woodpeckers drumming on your siding and suggestions for what you can do about it.


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Great Gray Owl

Owl, great gray

Great Gray Owl

Maybe you have heard about the Snowy Owl irruption that is going on this winter in Minnesota and other places in the lower 48, but there is also a bigger number of other northern Owls moving into northern Minnesota.

Great Gray Owls, like the one in the above photo, are in greater numbers this winter than in recent winters. The Christmas Bird Count in the famous Sax-Zim bog yielded 11 Great Grays.

The Northern Hawk Owl has also shown bigger numbers this year.

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Northern Hawk Owl

Northern Hawk Owl

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