Bright colors returning to overwintering NW MN birds
Spring is coming, judging by the lengthening days and the return of bright color to the overwintering birds. American goldfinches are starting to show a little yellow, and European Starlings are beginning to lose the "tweed jacket" of winter. Now we are on the lookout for returning early migrants, soon to start arriving. With March soon upon us, we may also expect snow and storms so stay tuned.
Ron Erpelding was birding on February 8 in Douglas County , where he found six pine grosbeaks 1.5 miles north of Nelson along CR 9. This is about 5 miles east of Alexandria. Also in Douglas County, he saw two rough-legged hawks, and some common redpolls.
In Otter Tail County on February 8, Ron also found six pine grosbeaks about four miles east of Battle Lake; other species seen in the county included American robin, Bohemian waxwing, and about 50 common redpolls.
Connie Norheim observed a red-bellied woodpecker along Clay County Road 106 on February 7, and snow buntings along CR 108.
Shelley Steva found a great horned owl at Oklee Park in Red Lake County on February 12. On the 13th, she saw 24 sharp-tailed grouse along CR 1 six miles east of Plummer, and three flocks of snow buntings.
Shelley also reported snow buntings in Pennington County on February 13. Anita Vettleson spotted a flock of about 15 gray partridge along US 59 about a mile south of CR 3. Just north of CR 3, she saw several sharp-tailed grouse.
Gary Tischer reported from Agassiz NWR in Marshall County on February 14. Ten pine grosbeaks have been visiting the headquarters feeder for the past few days, along with 20 common redpolls. A northern shrike has been working the feeders lately, but no one has seen him take any birds. Lynda Knutsen saw an adult bald eagle near the Parker Pool nest, and sharp-tailed grouse have been seen along CR 7 between the end of the Lost Bay Habitat Drive and the Airport Road east of the office.
Milton Blomberg saw two northern shrikes north of Bemidji in Beltrami County on February 9, and found 200 Bohemian waxwings in the town of Blackduck, feeding in some crabapple trees.
Jeff Dittrich and Ted Dick observed a short-eared owl northwest of Warroad in Roseau County on February 8.
Larry Wilebski reported a hoary redpoll at his feeders on February 10.
Please report bird sightings to Jeanie Joppru by email, no later than Thursday each week, at firstname.lastname@example.org OR call the Detroit Lakes Chamber's toll free number: 1-800-542-3992. Detroit Lakes area birders please call 847-9202. Please include the county where the sighting took place.