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Birding
  1. The osprey, or fish eagle, is one of our most spectacular birds, a large, eagle-like bird of prey that feeds almost exclusively on live, freshly caught fish, which it captures by diving dramatically into open water. Photo courtesy of Patricia Fisher, New London

    Rob Zimmer column: Magnificent 'fish eagle' making a comeback along waterways

    In beautiful black and white, the long wingspan of the osprey, or fish eagle, carries the bird in a graceful dance across the horizon at High Cliff State Park.

    • Jun. 16, 2014
  2. Readers share their photos of birds in Wisconsin

    The backyard paparazzi has been busy snapping and sharing dozens of photos of Wisconsin's variety of winged wildlife.

    • Jun. 13, 2014
  3. The crested caracara, identified in mid-May on Washington Island, almost never ventures farther north than Texas or Florida. Photo by Margaret Young

    A rare treat for birders

    No one knows why the crested caracara decided to visit Washington Island this spring, but its decision has delighted a large flock of Wisconsin bird-watchers.

    • May 31, 2014
  4. Readers share their photos of Wisconsin's big birds

    The backyard paparazzi has been busy snapping and sharing dozens of photos of Wisconsin's largest winged wildlife.

    • May 28, 2014
  5. Gary Engberg celebrates the arrival of spring

    After one of the coldest and longest lasting winters in the last few decades, it finally looks like spring is finally here. We’ve had a few warm days in April and May, but there have been no prolonged periods of spring-like weather. After a nice day or two, we go back to below normal temperatures, rain and wind. Everything that you can think of associated with spring has been delayed at least a week or two with cold nights and rainy days.

    • May 20, 2014
  6. Yellow-rumped warblers are one of the earliest and most numerous spring migrants. Just like all migratory birds, they are specially adapted to make the long trek from Central American to Wisconsin, Minnesota, and points north. Photo by John Harrison

    Blogger Emily Stone examines the muscles behind bird migration

    Sometimes it takes a lot of willpower to put on my running shoes and take off down the road after a day at my desk. Today, despite (or maybe because of) the intermittent cloudbursts and beckoned by the ovenbirds’ rapid-fire teacher-teacher-teacher songs ringing through the trees, it felt like a necessity. As the cool drops misted my face and the raindrops swallowed sunlight while abandoning themselves to gravity, I felt multiply rewarded for my effort.

    • May 16, 2014
  7. The rusty colored band on female belted kingfishers makes them more colorful than males. Strong, pointed beaks and large heads allow kingfishers to eat surprisingly large fish. These are just two of the things that make kingfishers so fascinating! Photo by Teddy Llovet

    Blogger Emily Stone spots a kingfisher enjoying a meal

    Fresh sunshine warmed my bare arms and legs as I biked along Highway D east of Lake Namakagon. The joy of speed, freedom, and my trusty steed brought on an irrepressible smile. As we neared the bridge over a marshy flowage, a cacophony of bird songs began to cut through the whirr of tires on pavement and wind in my helmet. We pulled over onto the shoulder for a better look.

    • Apr. 25, 2014
  8. Rob Zimmer column: May is for the birds

    April showers may bring May flowers, but they also bring May birds. The month of May truly is the peak month for birdwatchers across Wisconsin.

    • Apr. 23, 2014
  9. Berdan column: We need a new name for gangs of geese

    Back in my high school days, a couple buddies and I thought it would be hilarious to put a recently road-killed skunk into someone's mailbox. Turns out it's impossible to drive a car, roll down a window and hold your nose all at the same time.

    • Apr. 17, 2014
  10. Turkey vultures play an important role in the food chain, and in cleaning up the dead stuff in nature. Photo by Larry Stone

    Blogger Emily Stone knows arrival of vultures signals start of spring

    What signs of spring have you spotted lately?

    • Apr. 18, 2014
  11. Sunset and sunrise are the best times to explore the Tri Rivers Nature Area during spring. Rob Zimmer/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com

    Rob Zimmer column: Journeys of migrant birds converge on Tri-Rivers Nature Area

    The amber glow of the rising sun gently spreads across the marshes and woodland edge, the morning air an explosive chorus of bird song. The loud bugling of sandhill cranes echoes over the marshland while the yelping of hundreds of tundra swans drifts through the skies as wedges of birds high overhead slowly circle down to the open water.

    • Apr. 9, 2014
  12. Tundra swans have made the return flight across east-central Wisconsin as hundreds of the majestic, white birds begin to arrive in Outagamie County. Best spots to see swans are along State 54 from Oneida to New London, as well as on the west shore of Lake Winnebago. Rob Zimmer/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com

    Rob Zimmer column: Tundra swans are back

    Over the past few days nearly 1,000 swans have been counted in the fields and wetlands in central Outagamie County from Black Creek to New London. Thousands more will pass through in several different waves over the next week or so.

    • Apr. 15, 2014
  13. A bald eagle sits just above its riverside nest in the Fox Valley. Submitted by Patricia Fisher

    Rob Zimmer column: Bald eagles begin long breeding season

    It seems like it was only yesterday that bald eagles were gathering by the dozens along any open water they could find on the Fox and Wolf rivers.

    • Apr. 15, 2014
  14. Northern shrikes are predatory songbirds that often store extra food impaled on thorns or stuck in the fork of a tree. Photo by Emily Stone

    Blogger Emily Stone makes interesting discovery in a tree

    Let me take you back again to the sunny forest at the North End Trails near Cable. A colorful line of thirty students, several parents, and a couple of teachers – all on snowshoes purchased with a grant from the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board – stretched out behind me on the trail.

    • Mar. 25, 2014
  15. Someday soon the Museum will be able to use Theo the great horned owl as an wildlife ambassador like this one to teach people about owls. Ronald Laubenstein, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

    Blogger Emily Stone hears a 'who'

    “Who’s awake? Me, too ...” I love to hear the deep, powerful hoots of a great horned owl billowing through a snowy forest. Their stuttering rhythm -- hoo-h’HOO-hoo-hoo – seems to ask the question, then offers a conspiratorial answer.

    • Mar. 18, 2014
  16. The long-term effects of the severe cold are being seen along the Lake Michigan shoreline, where hundreds of diving ducks, such as this goldeneye, are slowly succumbing to the effects of our near record winter. Rob Zimmer/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com

    Rob Zimmer column: Harsh reality of winter

    As winter draws to a close, the harsh reality of our near-record cold is now being seen up and down the shores of Lake Michigan as hundreds, if not thousands, of diving ducks succumb to the consistent cold stretches that have locked much of the big lake in ice.

    • Mar. 10, 2014
  17. Bald eagles are concentrating in huge numbers along open water on both the Fox and Wolf rivers in our area. Menasha's Jefferson Park recently boasted more than 80 eagles, creating an amazing sight along the edge of ice. Rob Zimmer/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com

    Rob Zimmer column: Number of large birds of prey in the state unprecedented

    The morning of March 4 began just like many others this winter. A moderate snowfall gently tumbled from the gray clouds while the landscape was blanketed in white. Temperatures were hovering right around zero, with little to no wind.

    • Mar. 6, 2014
  18. The Fox River and Winnebago lakes are already beginning to show signs of spring with patches of open water and a swift current slowly eating away at the thick shield of ice. With larger patches of open water, ducks, such as these goldeneyes, are gathering, watched over by hungry gulls and bald eagles. Rob Zimmer/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com

    Nature Calling column: Temps aside, wildlife and plants sense spring

    It seems to me that not enough people get excited about the first robins of spring anymore.

    • Mar. 4, 2014
  19. A young sharp-shinned hawk rests near several backyard birdfeeders. Patrick Durkin/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com

    Just accept them: Feeders will attract hawks, too

    If you put out seeds to attract songbirds, don't be surprised if you accidentally turn your backyard into a target-rich environment for Cooper's hawks and sharp-shinned hawks.

    • Mar. 2, 2014
  20. Rob Zimmer column: Hunting tundra swans in Wisconsin?

    The state of Wisconsin is considering creation of a tundra swan hunt in our state, posing the question to attendees at the annual Wisconsin Conservation Congress spring county meetings.

    • Feb. 25, 2014
  21. Rob Zimmer column: Beauty or beast, swans to take center stage in 2014

    The clear, icy waters of Green Lake seemed to boil with a thick steam, rising in ghostly plumes of billowing white in the crisp winter morning. Scores of ducks, along with a few holdout Canada geese, drifted on the calm waters. Among them, gleaming in bright snow white, a half-dozen trumpeter swans reigned over the small bay.

    • Feb. 25, 2014
  22. Catch the eagles in Winneconne as they congregate along open water on the Wolf River. Up to a dozen or more eagles have been spotted on the river, dancing through the skies over downtown and resting on the ice, waiting to snatch a careless duck or passing fish from the current. Along with the eagles, hundreds of diving ducks can be seen here, along with gulls and even a swan that occasionally makes an appearance. Rob Zimmer/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com

    Rob Zimmer column: Winneconne eagle show is one to remember

    While the Fox River has remained frozen in many areas for much of winter, limiting the number of eagles congregating in the Valley compared to previous years, open water along the Wolf River in Winneconne has been a big draw for eagle watchers locally.

    • Feb. 24, 2014
  23. The compact body, pointed wings, and long tail of this little owl make it look somewhat hawk-like. Hence the name, Northern Hawk Owl. Photo by Skip Perkins

    Blogger Emily Stone explores bog for winged rarities

    With photos of snowy owls on our memory cards, and sore necks from searching for the great gray owl, we turned onto a side road to a place we knew we’d find treasure.

    • Feb. 18, 2014
  24. Alan Harrington grins after adding the snowy owl to his life list of birds. Kathy Zuelsdorff takes a closer look through the scope, while Tom Matthias uses binoculars. We all had a great time at the Sax-Zim Bog! Photo by Emily Stone

    Blogger Emily Stone searches for and finds snowy owl

    The van rolled slowly past snowy fields, snowy roofs, and the sparse trees of a northern bog. We were on a treasure hunt. We weren’t searching for your typical treasure, though; our quarry was alive and elusive. “There it is! Pull over!” came the urgent command. Within seconds, we all stood on the gravel shoulder of a rural road, binoculars trained on a snowy owl.

    • Feb. 15, 2014
  25. Look for snowy owls perched on top of silos or power poles in open areas. These birds are residents of wide open spaces, seeking out agricultural fields, grasslands, airports and beaches, similar to their tundra home. Rob Zimmer/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com

    Owls of winter: These birds are right at home in Wisconsin's worst

    Against a crisp, blue winter sky, a pair of snowy owls danced in the February sun. Buoyed in flight by long, thin wings stretching nearly 6 feet across in the largest females, snowy owls have a distinct, moth-like motion.

    • Feb. 11, 2014
  26.  Contributed photo

    Blogger Emily Stone appreciates partnership found in lichens

    The noiseless glide of soft, gray wings caught my eye. Then, stillness. No matter how hard I squinted, I couldn’t resolve the dark shape into a branch and the owl I knew had just landed there. Fading light under gray skies, combined with the owl’s pattern of light and dark bars on its chest, created perfect camouflage.

    • Feb. 7, 2014
  27. Volunteer opportunities are available for those interested in watching and monitoring bald eagles along the Fox River during February and March. Monitoring is open to all ages and is done from half an hour before sunrise for 90 minutes after. Rob Zimmer/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com

    Rob Zimmer column: Bald eagle monitors wanted

    Every winter, scores of bald eagles descend upon our area to spend the winter feeding along the flowing waters of the Fox River. From Lake Winnebago to the mouth of the river at Green Bay, there may be hundreds of eagles present at one time during winter, gathering in large numbers in areas near sections of open water where they feed on winter killed fish, waterfowl and other prey.

    • Jan. 30, 2014
  28. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Technician Steve Easterly holds an eaglet to band from a bayside nest north of Carlsville. The eaglet hatched about a month and a half before. Submitted

    Bald eagles make a comeback

    Eagles are back in Door County. At least a dozen active eagle nests were scattered around the lakeshore when the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources did a count last year.

    • Jan. 25, 2014

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