White Breasted Nuthatch Cardinal

Sunflowers

The official flower of August should be the sunflower.  In gardens throughout the Midwest, these big, bold disks of blazing yellow will lift your spirit and bring a smile to your face.  Some grow to towering heights  –  the world record is 25 feet, 5.4 inches, while others are more modest in stature but still
Read more

Millet

There is an ancient grain known to humans as millet (Panicum miliaceum).  It is a small round seed, about the size of a peppercorn.  About a third of the world’s population uses it as a staple food. It is rich in iron, B vitamins, calcium, and is naturally gluten-free.  Fiber, fat, and proteins are also
Read more

Keeping Them Clean

None of us like to eat off dirty dishes, but when it comes to our bird feeders we seldom think about the accumulation of gunk that can build up, after weeks or months of putting bird seeds out and having countless birds eating from them.  While it would be nice to think that birds are
Read more

Brown-headed Cowbird

Cowbird. What a crazy name for a creature with feathers and wings.  Their scientific name is Molothrus ater.  The first is a Greek word that means vagabond, tramp, or parasite and very well describes the bird’s lifestyle. These birds found a way to make a living by following the great hoofed herds of the western
Read more

Common Loons

A week ago I stepped out on our deck on a perfect summer morning and heard the sound that sets a Minnesotan’s heart aflutter – the sound of a loon’s laughter, officially known as the tremolo call.  This call is made both on the water and in the air as the bird flies.  I stood
Read more

Oil and Wildlife Don’t Mix

Even though I don’t live near any ocean I am distraught every time I hear about another oil spill into one.  The most recent occurred on May 20th on the California coast near Santa Barbara, the same area where in 1969 one of the worst oil spills ever occurred, when an offshore well blew and
Read more

Avian Flu

Having just made it through winter and the usual flu season, it is disturbing for most of us to learn that another form of flu has reared its ugly head and has been spreading like wildfire.  This one though is targeting birds – domestic turkeys and chickens mainly.  At the moment this is an economic
Read more