Jake Pfeifer is a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, which encompasses the Hastings Star Gazette, Farmington-Rosemount Independent Town Pages, South Washington County Bulletin and Woodbury Bulletin. He previously worked as a sports reporter and outdoors editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and as a multimedia artist/editor for Detroit Lakes Newspapers.
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The Mississippi River is a bustling place this time of year. However, it's not marine traffic that fills up the water, but over 300 species of migrating birds. "The Mississippi River is important as a migration corridor because of its north-south orientation," said Tim Schlagenhaft, Upper Mississippi River Program Manager for the Audubon Society. "The river has a lot of diversity of habitats. It offers a lot of diversity and meets the needs of a lot of different bird species."
Minnesota and Wisconsin are home to the largest population of nesting eagles in the United States outside of Alaska. That is why, if you take a stroll along the Mississippi River near Red Wing, you are bound to see the national bird. "The state of Minnesota alone has about 700 breeding areas," Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Brittany Hauser said. "A lot of those areas are along the Mississippi River valley which serves as a migration corridor for them."
In the depths of winter, the cold can be unforgiving to an outdoorsman. One group of local outdoor enthusiasts annually takes up the challenge, however, by building wood duck houses. Once built, the waterfowl boxes make their way to the Mississippi River backwaters near Bay City for the leisurely use of the waterway's native species.
The daily band lineups have been announced for the fourth annual Northern Invasion, Saturday and Sunday, May 12-13, at Somerset Amphitheater. Northern Invasion 2018 will be bigger and better than ever with over 12 hours of music per day on three stages — headlined by Tool and Avenged Sevenfold — as well as a top tier camping experience. The Northern Invasion Good Eats area includes food offerings from top regional and national restaurants and vendors. The daily band lineup (subject to change) for Northern Invasion is as follows:
Evergreen trees are usually the only thing green in our winter landscape. But when plagued by harsh weather or infestation in winter, the trees can be more brown than green. While this can be an eyesore, it isn't normal and could be a serious problem. But does it mean the tree is dying from the top down? Or is the tree just in need of some TLC? Four reasons why your evergreen is turning brown
If you are looking for a way to kick off the holidays and get in the spirit, look no further than SimpleGifts. Chilling three-part female harmonies and solos — including the Lutheran favorite "Beautiful Savior," sung in Norwegian. Modern arrangements of traditional — and original — Christmas treasures on Celtic bagpipes, concertina and stringed instruments, including tin whistle, piano, guitar, fiddle, bass and percussion played by some of the most accomplished musicians and singers Minnesota has to offer.
An undeserving reputation has surrounded Midwestern bats thanks to their tropical cousins that feed on the blood of livestock and wildlife. Of course, the bats of Minnesota and Wisconsin don't share that trait, but that doesn't mean the average person enjoys their company.
Minnesota's state bird, the common loon, is considered a symbol of wilderness. Its unique call, heard day or night, signals the return of summer to the north woods and one of the region's most iconic birds. More at home in the water than on land, loons swim underwater in search of prey. At 8 to 12 pounds, the loon is larger than a duck but smaller than a goose. The bird can be easily identified with its thick neck, long black bill, red eyes, and spotty black and white summer coat. Its legs are set far back on its body, making walking on land an awkward experience.
Walking down your front steps is an uneventful activity, but when a rattlesnake impedes the path, that quickly changes. That was the case for one Red Wing family when members discovered a timber rattlesnake coiled up on their front steps June 22. It took a call to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Brittany Hauser to send the snake on its way. "It was located right in the middle of town," Hauser said. "Obviously not a common place for a rattlesnake." She speculated that the snake hitched a ride with a harvest or grain truck.
A herd of bison stampeded onto the prairie during Belwin Conservancy's bison release Saturday, May 20. The annual event is in its ninth year and has gained popularity over time according to Belwin's executive director, Nancy Kafka. "Around 250 people came the first year," she said. "Last year we were over 1,000." Kafka said one of the main draws to the event is its length. Being such a short event, people can stop by and see the bison get released and then come back later to see them again when the weather is optimal.