Phenology

Phenology
Snapping turtle hatchlings protected from predators

Our wildlife cameras caught baby snapping turtles hatching in peace thanks to our new wildlife nest enclosure at Spring Lake Islands Wildlife Management Area. >>

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Baby snapping turtle
Nature notes: Turtles on the go under the ice

For reasons not yet understood, many turtles stay active under the winter ice. Learn more about their mysterious habits and about a local FMR turtle protection project in this month's Nature Notes. >>

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Swimming turtle
Nature notes: Who goes there?

What animals traveled through our yards and landscapes under the cover of night or even right under our noses? A primer on reading tracks in the snow.  >>

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Tracks
Nature Notes: Snowshoeing grouse?

In this month's Nature Notes:  Oh, the surprising things that ruffed grouse have in common with snowshoe hares and aspen trees. >>

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grouse foot showing pectination
Let's talk turkeys

Once on the brink of extinction in Minnesota and beyond, wild turkeys are now a common sight for Twin Cities and greater Minnesota residents alike. This November, take a minute to learn about this wild animal with an interesting history. >>

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A wild turkey displaying its feathers
Nature Notes: Fall is for the squirrels

Each year, the cool fall weather is accompanied by a flurry of wildlife activity. Most species are busy preparing for the winter — gathering and storing food, prepping their nests and burrows, and putting on a few extra pounds. In the Twin Cities, no animal is a better example of this than the gray squirrel.

While many residents consider them a bit of a nuisance — chattering from the trees, darting across streets, and leaving piles of chewed food on decks and sidewalks — these smart little critters have an interesting history and impressive adaptations that allow them to flourish in our human-dominated landscape. >>

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Gray squirrel feeding on a tree branch
Nature Notes: Beautiful berries 'ecological traps' for birds

Each fall, two common invasive plants produce starkly colored berries: European buckthorn bears shiny jet-black fruit while bush honeysuckle produces brilliant red to yellow berries. Unfortunately, birds that dine on the fruit not only spread the invasives' seed but are negatively impacted by the berries themselves — they can even disrupt some birds' mating patterns! >>

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The paired, bright red berries of bush honeysuckles are easy to spot in the fall.

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