Welcome Winter Storm Wesley!

Purple Finch

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Slowly but surely

It’s been a long time coming, but spring is teasing us with warmer temperatures. Some of the early arrivers include:

Common Grackle

grackle, common

Common Grackle

Ever notice how the Grackle flies with their tail held diagonally? That is a breeding display and the males only do this in the spring. The rest of the year they hold their tail normally.


Red-winged Blackbird

The familiar call “konk-a-dee” can be heard early in the spring. The Red-winged Blackbird comes north very early – even before their ponds and sloughs have open water. This time of year they will come into feeders and eat sunflower seeds.

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Lots going on

Spring is just starting to show itself in Crane Lake. First of Year birds that have arrived include Herring Gulls, and Trumpeter Swans.


Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vultures also come back really early. Not a handsome bird, but one vital to keeping the roadsides clean!

There is a lot going on in Minnesota right now, if you can’t make it to Crane Lake just yet, check out the many activities going on in greater Minnesota here:



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Spring Arrivals


Fox Sparrow

If you have an old moose antler in your garden, you might capture a photo like the one above! I got this photo a few years ago. The Fox Sparrow is an early migrant as they make their way back to their Canadian breeding grounds. This sparrow has a beautiful song.

owl, saw-whet

Saw-whet Owl

Another early arriving bird is the Northern Saw-whet Owl. They are very vocal in the spring as they set up territories and call for mates. I took the above photo in southern AZ, but they are pretty easy to find and see up here right now. Here is a link to their tooting call: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Saw-whet_Owl/sounds



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Pine Grosbeaks are still here

Pine Grosbeak

Some of the other birds that are around now.

Black-capped Chickadee

Spruce Grouse

White-throated Sparrow

Yellow-rumped Warbler

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Pine Grosbeaks

Pine Grosbeak

Last weekend at the Sax-Zim Bog Birding Festival, there was a Pine Grosbeak that was said to be “xanthocromic”. That term means there are yellow feathers. This Grosbeak has that orangey-yellow feature. The next photo is a normally pigmented male Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak, male

female Pine Grosbeak?

I question this being a female as there are “Bronze” Pine Grosbeak and this may be a young male transitioning into his adult plumage. This time of year before the Pine Grosbeak return north to Canada, they are molting into their adult plumage. It is interesting watching the different shades as they change.

Grosbeak, pine

Pine Grosbeak


Female Pine Grosbeaks


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Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl, male

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The Magpie is back this winter

Black-billed Magpie

This beautiful bird has been coming into my feeders this winter.



beautiful iridcence on the Magpie

Magpie portrait

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Blueberry picking in Voyageur Country

Check out this brochure for information about Blueberries and where to find them.

Oak_Blueberry Brochure


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Northern Shrike

butcher bird

Northern Shrike, aka Butcher Bird

I was wondering why all the birds took off from the feeders in a flurry, then I looked around outside the window and saw a Northern Shrike. This bird is also known as the Butcher Bird because of their habit of impaling their prey on thorns.

This bird is classified as a songbird, but his beak says different. Look at the hook on its’ bill, that’s used to tear flesh. The Northern Shrike mainly hunts small rodents, but they will take other birds. Even birds as large as Pine Grosbeaks.

Here is a link to an interesting article about how birds stay warm in the winter.


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