Nature Notes: It’s a bee! It’s a bird! It’s a … moth?

The aptly named hummingbird moth or clearwing moth is not uncommon, but with its beautiful colors and wing patterns, it's a delight to see one hovering over flowers seeking nectar.

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Nature Notes: 'Don't worry, I come in peace!' Meet the one-of-a-kind pelecinid wasp

Of the 18,000 species of ants, bees and wasps in North America, the pelecinid wasp is among the most interesting. This insect is so unusual it shares its family (Pelecinidae) with just three other species in the world, with no others in North America. But don't worry, that 'stinger' isn't what it looks like.

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Check out that pointy abdomen!
Nature Notes: It's a sign! Giant stonefly found in downtown St. Paul

This surprise visitor to the Robert Street lift bridge is commonly found in trout streams and is considered an indicator of good water quality.

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giant stonefly 1.6 inches long
Nature Notes: Unassuming little beetle's clever (gross?) 'shield defense'

Found on sumac, these beetles have an especially interesting way of protecting their young.

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sumac flea beetle
Nature Notes: 'What’s it got in its pocketses?'

Fans of The Lord of the Rings will recognize this query of Gollum, the odd underworld creature, as he pondered the riddle of Bilbo’s pocket contents. The star character of this month’s Nature Notes is also a creature of the underworld, seldom seen above ground. And like Gollum, these animals have a lead role in the world they inhabit.

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Plains pocket gopher
Nature Notes: DNR Eagle Cam provides a close-up view of eagle family life

Each year in the Twin Cities, humans and other wildlife patiently wait for spring. Some years it arrives to stay, others it arrives only to beat a fast retreat. But over the last few years, one of the few constants in this transitional period in the metro has been the presence of bald eagles. As spring creeps back they take to the sky, hunting for prey, fighting over territory, and mating.

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An adult bald eagle feeds its babies live on camera
Nature Notes: A murder most fowl

As dusk approaches on a cold winter night, Twin Cities residents may notice an unusual number of crows flying overhead. Each winter, they show up by the thousands to roost in metro neighborhoods. While the gatherings may seem ominous to some, they serve an important purpose for these intelligent birds.

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