Warbler Wave

warbler, blackpoll

Blackpoll Warbler

warbler, blackpoll

Blackpoll Warbler

I’m not a Black-capped Chickadee!

warbler, blackpoll

Blackpoll Warbler

I only migrate through Minnesota on my way to my breeding grounds in Canada. Look at my pretty bright orange feet and legs – that’s a distinctive field mark in the spring. Next fall I will look completely different…

Blackpoll Warbler in basic plumage

You can still see my feet are a orangey color even though they have faded.

Blackpoll Warbler

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

returning migrants

The songbirds are coming back in droves now! The White-throated Sparrows showed up yesterday, and this morning, the air is filled with their beautiful song.

sparrow, white-throated

White-throated Sparrow

I like to say that this bird is ubiquitous to Crane Lake – they are everywhere around Crane Lake and Voyageurs National Park. Next time you’re up here, listen for their song – it goes something like this: Poor Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The first Flycatcher

Eastern Phoebe

The Eastern Phoebe is the first “flycatcher” to arrive at Crane Lake. The flycatcher family is a large one and as their name indicates, they mainly eat insects.

Phoebes are pretty common at Crane Lake and they stay for the summer to raise their young ones. Some cabin owners along the lake will have Phoebes nest under the eaves of their cabins and boathouses. Many birds return to the same nest year after year. They will repair the nests and then raise a couple broods. If you are lucky to have one of these birds nest at your cabin, respect their privacy and they will reward you with nature’s brand of  bug control!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Another Sparrow arrives

Right behind the Fox Sparrows and Juncos, the Song Sparrow makes an appearance.

Song Sparrow

They have a pretty little song, and in my opinion, a good name! The Song Sparrow has a highly variable song that depends on their location – they have different dialects, just like people. A Song Sparrow who makes it’s home in southern Minnesota sounds completely different than the ones up here in Crane Lake. One sure thing is though, the song always starts with 3 leading notes. It then goes into a jumble that sounds somewhat like: maids, maids, maids, put on your tea kettle, lettle, lettle!

Song Sparrows are common in Crane Lake in the summer. They stay here to nest and they can have up to 3 broods per summer. These vocal little Sparrows can be found along the shoreline throughout Voyageurs National Park.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fox Sparrow

The Fox Sparrow is a rather large Sparrow and unfortunately, this bird only visits Crane Lake on its’ way to Canada for the summer.

sparrow,fox

Fox Sparrow

This bird is a beautiful reddish brown, like a Red Fox, and they also have a very lovely song.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New little birds

Juncos have moved into the neighborhood.

Junco

Most Juncos will move through the area on their way to their breeding grounds in Canada.

Dark-eyed Junco

A few Juncos do stay to nest here, they can be found out in the boreal forest near to the Canadian border.

Junco

Junco, slate-colored

There are 6 sub-species of Junco in the United States. The one most likely to be encountered in Minnesota is the Slate-colored Junco. The others occur in the western part of the country.

female snowbird

female Junco

Junco carrying nesting material

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ospreys are back!

osprey nest

Osprey nest

The pair that nests at the Voyageur statue pond have returned from their southern wintering grounds. They are late this year – usually they have returned by April 15th. They will have to get busy!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Waterfowl return

Many waterfowl are anxiously awaiting open water. One bird that can’t wait for open water is the Trumpeter Swan.

Trumpeter Swan Nest

Trumpeter Swan Nest

The Trumpeters will return to defend their nesting site. Often times the water will still be frozen ice and the mated pair will rest and sleep on the ice.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

more Blackbirds (family Icteridae)

grackle, common

Common Grackle

Another early arriver is the Common Grackle. Their raucous behavior is exemplified in the Spring when love is in the air.

grackle, common

Common Grackle

Their iridescent feathers stand out in the right lighting conditions.

An interesting tidbit about the Common Grackle is that the males fly holding their long tails diagonally during the spring breeding season only – other times during the year they hold their tail normally.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blackbirds are coming

blackbird,red-winged

Red-winged Blackbird

One of the first songbirds to return to the north is the Red-winged Blackbird. Many will come in to feeders when they first get back.

This year, not many insects have hatched out and many of their ponds and sloughs are still frozen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment