Reports

Upcoming speakers/events 2019 – 2020

May 14 – The Minnesota Audubon Society – Rob Schultz

Audubon MN director Rob Schultz will be visiting us in Duluth to talk about the work that the state office does and how they support local chapters.

May will also be Duluth Audubon’s annual meeting. Active members will vote on board members and bylaws. There will also be an opportunity to nominate anyone to join the board. Look for more details in next month’s newsletter.

Five Mondays April 27 – May 25   Birding 101 – Clinton Dexter-Nienhaus

Duluth Audubon’s own Clinton Dexter-Nienhaus will be conducting birding classes for beginners this spring at the Duluth Folk School. Sign up soon as spots are limited!

In this five-session class, you will learn everything you need to get started as a successful bird watcher!
Bird watching is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the U.S. Join local educator, naturalist, and birder, Clinton Dexter-Nienhaus, for this foray into identifying birds for beginning bird watchers. The workshop will include tips on finding birds, tips on habitat, behavior, and tricks for identification. Each week will focus on a different topic: ethics, habitat, & equipment, sparrows, warblers, waterfowl, and shorebirds.  To register visit the Duluth Folk School website.

April 9 – Hummingbirds of the Americas – Carroll Henderson

Retired DNR Nongame Wildlife program director, Carrol Henderson will be giving a presentation about the hummingbirds of the Americas.

March 12 – Bats in the Superior National Forest – Tim Catton

US Forest Service Biological Technician Tim Catton will be talking all about the different bats found in the forest and the challenges they face.

February 13, 2020 – David Grosshuesch, Wildlife Biologist
Forest Service, Superior National Forest
Gunflint Ranger District

The MAPS program: Summary of bird banding results  in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota

The Institute for Bird Population’s (IBP) Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS)
program is a continent-wide collaborative effort among public agencies, non-profits, and
individuals to assist in the conservation of birds and their habitats through demographic
monitoring (http://www.birdpop.org/pages/maps.php). There are currently over 400
cooperating bird banding stations in this network with five stations operating in northeastern
Minnesota. The Arrowhead stations include Wolf Ridge (Finland), Weiss Creek (Isabella), Hawk
Ridge (Duluth), Sugarloaf Cove (Tofte), and Hubachek Wilderness Research Center (Ely). The
purpose of this presentation will be to offer background information about the MAPS program,
but more importantly, to share preliminary results of bird populations (including trends and
demographic information) in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota.

January 9: Animal Tracks in the Snow – Larry Weber

Many critters are active here all winter. We do see some, but there are many that we do not see. Fortunately, they leave their tracks that tell of their activities. We will look at these tracks and how to know who was here and sometimes their stories in the snow.

November 14: John James Audubon – Pat Miller

Like all of us bird lovers, we keep running into the name “Audubon” everywhere. We know him as the man most responsible for the knowledge of birds in North America, and for his distinctive drawings of birds in their natural environment. But who was he as a person? How did those accomplishments come to be? What would it be like to follow him in the woods for a day? After visiting his home in Henderson, Kentucky, I bought the most highly recommended biography of Audubon and became enthralled. I’d love to share some of his story with you as a way of paying tribute to his skills and passion. Pat Miller

“When the bird and the book disagree, believe the bird.” James Audubon

November Gull Watches

Fall 2019 Report – Superior Entry Gull Watches with Clinton Dexter-Nienhaus

Here is the report from gull trips this season!

“This season, we were able to complete 3 Duluth Audubon Society Superior Entry Gull Watches! This is the third year of offering these intensive gull watching field trips. More and more folks are turning out to learn about gulls in the Duluth/Superior Area! We had a total attendance of 36 folks over the three field trips. Some folks were familiar faces, but many were newbies to gull watching on Lake Superior!

The weather this season was quite forgiving, though cold! Two of the watches were held at the Superior Entry on Wisconsin Point and our last trip was held in Canal Park in Duluth. We hold these field trips on Sundays in November and hope to continue to do so in the future! Here are how the trips went:

Week 1: The first week of our gull watch documented great diversity with a total of 12 species of bird seen. For gulls, we had nice numbers of Ring-billed Gulls, almost outnumbering Herring Gulls! For our area, Ring-billed Gulls start migrating when the weather starts to turn cold (as you will see from the Week 2 report!). Interestingly, we were able to find a bird that was banded in the Twin Ports area, which is exciting! We were able to document three species of gull with our group: Herring Gull, Ring-billed Gull, and Iceland Gull (Thayer’s). After everyone had left for the day, I picked out a nice 2nd cycle CALIFORNIA GULL! This is a rarity for our region, with one popping up every so often. A great find and one of the reasons we continue to do these gull watches: to find some cool gulls! Other non-gull birds of note were 3 Red Crossbills, nice Canada Goose migration, and Snow Buntings.

Week 2: As I alluded to, each week can be different! We had only 3(!) Ring-billed Gulls in Week 2 compared to the 119 birds in Week 1! One week makes a huge difference in Herring Gull numbers as well: We tallied 197 Herring Gulls in Week 1, with 422 Herring Gulls in Week 2! Iceland Gull (Thayer’s) also increased from 4 in Week 1 to 11 in Week 2! The later the season gets, we also start getting excited about rarer species, which we were able to find on this trip! Kristina’s keen eyes picked out a first cycle LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, which had been hanging around for the week prior, but was not able to be found by our group until Week 2. These sleek gulls typically do show up every fall in the Twin Ports, but don’t often linger in to November. This week, we were able to document four species of gull: Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Iceland Gull (Thayer’s), and Lesser Black-backed Gull. Non-gull goodies this week were a few raptor migrants including a nice Adult Golden Eagle and a trio of Rough-legged Hawks, with two being dark morphs!

Week 3: Due to the lack of gulls at Superior Entry, our location for the first two weeks, we moved to Canal Park to find a few gulls. Numbers are usually much lower in Canal Park than at Superior Entry, so we were looking for some nice quality birds. Nothing exciting was found during this week, and we were able to see three species of gull: Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, and Iceland Gull (Thayer’s). We just missed the young Glaucous Gull that had been hanging around in Canal Park prior to our group’s visit.

Thank you to everyone who attended our Superior Entry Gull Watches! I am very excited to get the chance to lead these trips each fall and am glad that Kristina can help me out, as interest in these trips increase.

The full species list from our trips can be seen below! We hope to see you next year for our DAS Superior Entry Gull Watches!

— Clinton Dexter-Nienhaus, Education and Field Trip Committee Chair

Bird List for DAS Superior Entry Gull Watches

Canada Goose
Common Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser

Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Iceland Gull (Thayer’s)
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL
CALIFORNIA GULL

Golden Eagle
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk

Rock Pigeon

American Crow
Common Raven

Red Crossbill

Snow Bunting