Bird droppings

Bits and pieces from here and there:

  • There seems to be a near consensus that last week’s mystery bird, shared with us by Tony Mitchell, was a green heron. Some of us gave some early votes to some sort of grebe. So for comparison’s sake, Tom Carlson found this picture of a red-necked grebe:

They are red-necked, but they aren’t from Texas, Tom says.

  • These pictures, presented in greeting-card style, are offered by Bernie St. John and were taken on Lake Beauregard in the Solon Springs, Wis., area:

Goslings on their own, at least temporarily.

Duck, duck …

… eagle.

  • Super Robin: Dan Moller of Poplar, Wis., was mowing his lawn on Monday when he watched a robin snatch a little (about 6 inches) copper-belly snake. Man, that’s some robin.
  •  The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a web page devoted to the effect of the oil spill on birds in the Gulf Coast. Here’s the link:

Your birding stories and pictures welcome:

More from Sam’s Club

Thanks for your suggestions on Tony Mitchell’s mystery bird at Sam’s Club. A couple of people have gone with grebe; others have gone with green heron, aka green-backed heron. My first thought was some kind of grebe because of the punk haircut. But I went to the green heron camp when I read this sentence in the bird book: "Looks more blue than green."

Not that my opinion is the last word, by any means.

Anyway, here are a couple of more from Tony at Sam’s Club:

Killdeer. I love the double necklace.

A Lapland longspur. Tony said he has some doubts about this because it seems to be wearing its fall colors and this was taken on May 19.

Tony said his goal is to see 125 species of birds this year. The green heron, if that’s what it is, would be his 80th so far.

You can write to me and send pictures to


Mystery bird

Tony Mitchell spotted this water bird at, of all places, the Hermantown Sam’s Club.

I have no idea what it is, but it sure is cool-looking. Tony provides several views. Can you identify it?

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All of that oil

Kurt Kuehn sent along this link. Among other things, you can show how much territory the oil spill would take up if the center were in your hometown. It’s interesting, in a chilling, unsettling sort of way. If the center were in Duluth, the spill would include all of the Boundary Waters, for starters.

Here’s the link:

Birds at the Dells

I hear quite a few people like to visit the Wisconsin Dells.

No doubt that’s because of good bird-watching.

Here are a few pictures Kurt Kuehn took on a trip there:

A great blue heron at a fishing hole.

Grooming time for mallards.

An oriole being secretive … but it’s hard to hide that shade of orange.

Your pictures and stories welcome at


For the greater good, here are a couple of Web links I’ve run across recently.

The first is from Jim Erickson of Clifford, N.D., who shares the blog his wife, Nancy Drew, co-authors with her sister Mary of Billings, Mont. They write about matters of general interest, and one of the things they are generally interested in is birds. Check out the pictures of an oriole gathering nesting material in one of the more recent posts. Here’s the link:

The other one will take you to a New York Times article about bar-tailed godwits, the little "flying softballs" that have been known to travel as far as 7,100 miles in nine days — nonstop. It brings new meaning to the concept of frequent-flier miles. You can read about it here:

Much closer to home, I spent some time this morning at the Hillside Public Orchard, where volunteers planted 18 fruit trees and six grapevines. They’re also growing blueberries, black currants and kiwi. When the orchard, at Sixth Avenue East and 10th Street in Duluth, produces fruit, it will be free for the taking.

It’s a great community project. But the birds will think it’s just for them.

You’ll be able to see Clint Austin’s pictures and my story in Sunday’s News Tribune and online at

You can contact me at Bird pictures and stories are always welcome.

Big family

Oh, the mouths to feed …

Lyle Anderson, who lives on Park Point, took these pictures of Canada geese in the bay. He notes that the goslings have been growing quickly.

Your pictures and stories welcome at: jlundy@duluthnewscom

Birds at work and play

Here’s a wonderful set of recent bird photos from Lyle Anderson of Park Point:

A couple of mourning doves.

A ruby-throated hummingbird in a rare moment of repose.

A wren on a home-improvement kick.

Tree swallows in love.

Yours truly traveled to northwest Iowa to visit Mom and Dad over the past few days. We went on an enjoyable but unsuccessful search for bluebirds on Memorial Day. But we did find a Western meadowlark in a small prairie. That was better, in a way. I might see bluebirds around here, but I won’t see a meadowlark.

On the way home, I saw a sharp-shinned hawk perched on a highway sign. It was about 107 miles south of Duluth on Interstate 35. I can’t give you the exact mileage, because I wasn’t paying much attention to what the sign said.

I’m not absolutely sure it was a sharp-shinned hawk, but the size seemed right. It’s a bit difficult to tell at 70 mph.

Your bird pictures and stories welcomed fervently at: