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Chuck Lura

  • The northern lights have been unusually active over the past few months. And it appears we may be in for more frequent shows over the next few months.
  • Some birds are known to lay their eggs in another bird’s nest. They then go off while the “host” parent, or parents, get stuck with all the parental care of these young, often at the expense of their own offspring. And brown-headed cowbirds are notorious for this practice, called brood parasitism.
  • Wood warblers are known for their bright and interesting colors. They’re a bit smaller than the sparrows we commonly observe. Most are on their way north to the coniferous forest to nest, but some species will stay and nest here in North Dakota. If you have noticed one of these small birds has a prominent yellow rump patch, it is a yellow-rumped warbler. They are one of the more commonly observed wood warblers we see during the spring migration.
  • We hear about sightings of whooping cranes in the state during their spring and fall migration, but how fortunate to be able to see these magnificent and rare birds?
  • Gardening and landscaping with native plants can provide aesthetically pleasing environments, provide plants for native pollinators, reduce our carbon footprint, help preserve native biodiversity, and produce more environmentally sound and sustainable landscapes.
  • It seems that every spring when the ice comes off ponds and marshes it is not long before these bodies of water are the source of a cacophony of croaks, quacks, trills, and chirps from frogs and toads.
  • We had a new moon earlier this week, on April 20. So, with the darkened night sky, it is a good time to do some stargazing. Plus, we have the Lyrids Meteor Shower running through April 25.
  • Have you heard of snow fleas? When I first heard of them, I thought I was being set up for a joke. But they are for real! Snow fleas are small, about a tenth of an inch long. And because they are small and dull colored, they are seldom observed even though they are active over much of the year. But it is around this time of year that they are perhaps the easiest to spot.
  • The heavy snow this winter has led to lots of speculation of spring flooding on rivers and streams across the state. Floods, of course, can cause horrendous damage to property within the floodplain. That aside, many among us may have never learned that flooding is a natural process, and seasonal floods that inundate the floodplain are a natural part of healthy rivers.
  • “Home, home, on the range, where the deer and the jackalope play.” That anthem of the American west that we are so familiar with is where the deer and the antelope play. What is not well known is that the original version was where the deer and the jackalope play.