New bird trail opens Father's Day in Spring Grove
Wednesday, June 05, 2013 4:44 AM
Thurman Tucker will cut a ceremonial ribbon to mark the official opening of the Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trails in Spring Grove on Father's Day, Sunday, June 16, at 1 p.m.
Volunteers Barb and Larry Wolfs help prepare the trail for bird enthusiasts by placing signage, marking trails and putting up birdhouses. SUBMITTED PHOTO
All are invited to this exciting opportunity that will be of interest to birders, naturalists and eco-tourists.
The trail is part of a public trail system that includes Trollskogen and Roverud Parks both within the city boundaries, and it is designed to showcase birds and spectacular scenery for local residents and visitors.
The trailhead is just on the south side of Red's Hometown Market that is located along State Highway 44 on the east edge of Spring Grove.
It is marked by a hand-carved sign made by Larry Wolfs, a member of the taskforce.
For the past several months a taskforce of volunteers has met often to create and develop a two-mile trail called Gå På Tur, the third link in the trail system that also has a one-mile option.
There are 56 signs that identify birds one might see while on the trail. Each sign shows the male and female, tells approximate size, and gives the scientific name, the common name and the Norwegian translation of the name.
In addition, the signs list nesting habits, eating preferences and whether or not the bird migrates.
Each sign shows a QR Code for smartphone users to access the bird's song as well as additional information.
The people on the taskforce have a keen interest in the education of all ages to the benefits of songbirds and of preserving habitats for many species.
Located in the bluff country of this Driftless Region, the trail is mowed and crosses meadows and deciduous woods going past ponds and small streams. There are three geo-cached sites along the trail as well.
Birds, white tailed deer, wild flowers, mink, fox and grouse - all can be seen along the Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trails.
The taskforce has decided to create four Northern Bobwhite Quail Habitat Restoration spaces close to the trail. The advisor for this part of the endeavor is Thurman Tucker, Minnesota Quail Forever's state coordinator.
Families and their friends are encouraged to honor dad by going out in nature and learning about birds while getting some beneficial exercise.
Bring along binoculars. There are benches along the way where one can sit and enjoy the sounds of birds above and rushing waters behind.
Walkers may wish to pick up a trail map with lists of birds to check off as they see them. On Father's Day, the first 50 walkers who show up at the trailhead will receive a free water bottle with the trail logo on it.
In addition a special T-shirt will be awarded to the oldest and youngest walkers who finish the trail, and to the walker who traveled the greatest distance in order to walk the trail on opening day.
Water bottles, hand-carved walking sticks and T-shirts are available for sale at Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, 165 W. Main St. in Spring Grove until 5 p.m. on Father's Day, and Monday through Fridays thereafter.
A free movie, "The Big Year" will be shown at 5:15 p.m. that day at the heritage center.
At approximately the half-way point of the two mile trail, a picnic table is provided for anyone who wishes to bring a lunch.
The trail will be open year-round, a sweet place to snowshoe and there is no admission charge. It is a great place to exercise dogs. Photography opportunities abound.
Share a memory or photo on the trail's Facebook page. For more information visit their website www.sgbirdwalk.org.