Wood Duck – Waterfowl “Eye Candy”

The wood duck (Aix sponsa), or “woodie”, is our most exquisitely-colored waterfowl species in Minnesota. The lustrous chestnut and green, and elaborate patterns of the male, distinctive white tear-drop eye patch and white-speckled breast of the female, plus both sexes’ crested heads and long tails, make them “eye candy” to the observer. In flight, this dabbling duck can be recognized […]

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North American River Otter: Harbinger of Clean Water & Healthy Habitat

The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) is one of Minnesota’s most playful, clever creatures. This large, aquatic member of the weasel family inhabits most of North America north of Mexico, including our state’s lakes, ponds and streams. I was alerted to their spirited zest for life by once encountering them shooting through the rushing water of a culvert for […]

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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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Help guide Extension programming by taking a short survey

A super cute deer looks out from a lush, green forest.

The University of Minnesota Extension Forestry and Wildlife programs are looking for participants to complete a survey to better understand what Minnesotans know and feel about deer in their community and woodlands. Your responses will help in developing an Extension program that will assess the impacts to forest vegetation by white-tailed deer in Minnesota. If you are interested in what […]

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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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