Ecological Impact of White-tailed Deer on Our Forests

White-tailed deer are one of Minnesota’s most socially, economically and ecologically important critters. Their importance stems from their beauty, popularity as a prized big game animal, nutritious venison, useful hides, impressive antlers, and ability to create fun family hunting memories and boost revenue for local businesses and outdoor industries. However, deer also collide with vehicles, can damage gardens, crops and […]

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Changing Ash Habitats and the Wildlife Impact

Fraxinus Fuss A little green bug has potential to cause quite a bother in Minnesota when it comes to our trees in the genus Fraxinus, or ash trees. This pest, the emerald ash borer (EAB), is an invasive insect from Asia. First discovered in Michigan in 2002, it has caused the death of millions of ash trees in the eastern […]

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Four-toed Salamander: Tougher than a Dinosaur

The four-toed salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum) is one of eight salamander species inhabiting Minnesota. It is unique in multiple ways. The first is the four toes on its hind feet. Most other Minnesota salamanders have five toes in back. All have four toes in front. It is 3-5 inches long, red-brown with dark flecks on its sides, has a bright white […]

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Pileated Woodpecker – Dapper Drummer

An increase in woodpecker calls and drumming will soon mark the advance of spring. One of those noise makers will be the pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), one of our largest, most dapper forest birds. A native, year-round resident, it’s mostly black with bold white stripes, a triangular flaming red crest, long chisel-like bill, body up to 19 inches long, and […]

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Our Minnesota Forest Gems

What’s an expansive way to provide quality wildlife habitat in Minnesota’s forests? Encourage landowners and businesses to use sustainable, responsible management and procurement practices on, or “certify”, nearly 8.4 million acres of public and private forests. Then identify the most outstanding and critical of those acres for management of their high conservation values. Voila! Quality forest management equals healthy, diverse […]

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Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) – The Tree Fox

Gray Fox

Cat or Dog?   The gray fox is a member of the dog family, Canidae, like red fox, coyotes and wolves.  But it behaves more like a member of the cat family with its unusual and useful tree climbing skill to escape predators, find safe resting spots and obtain food.  They have been observed 32 feet high!  Extremely sharp, curved, semi-retractable […]

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Elk in Minnesota – A Balanced, Restoration Success

two bull elk from Grygla herd during aerial survey by Marshall Deter MN DNR

It was a perfect fall day near the Canadian border on Caribou Wildlife Management Area. While posting boundary in the golden aspen parklands landscape, suddenly there they were – a cow and calf elk. This encounter was my first with elk and a magnificent moment to recall. These stately, native creatures were once common on our prairies and in our […]

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Eastern Bluebird: Happiness on Wings

Eastern bluebirds are a symbol of summer happiness and likely one of Minnesotans’ most beloved birds, up there with chickadees and loons. When enjoying a spring or summer day on our hobby farm, I can’t help but pause to take in this small thrush’s sweet, warbling song and brilliant colors. They have been cheerful company on many days of garden, […]

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Feeling the Heat: Helping Our Forests & Creatures Keep Up with Change

In recent months, we couldn’t help but hear about climate change, from Pope Francis to President Obama to world leaders gathered in Paris. What does it mean to our Minnesota forests and their creatures, and most importantly, what can we do about it?   But Climate Has Always Changed Our Earth and forests are ever-changing. So is our climate. The pace […]

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Gray Wolf (Canis lupis) – Northwoods Icon

By: Jodie Provost, DNR Private Land Habitat Coordinator Gray wolves have a unique legacy and saga in Minnesota. Through the ups and downs, the majority of Minnesotans have valued this Northwoods icon as ecologically important, scientifically fascinating, aesthetically attractive, recreationally appealing and significant for future generations. Wolves inhabited most of North America north of 20 degrees latitude prior to European […]

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