Many walkers 'flock' to opening of the bird trail
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 9:15 AM
On Father's Day, the Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trail officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The ribbon was cut by Thurman Tucker, Minnesota Quail Forever's state coordinator.
Part of the Norwegian Ridge Birding Trail winds through an open prairie area where signs are posted as to the types of the birds that live along the edge of the woods and in the prairie.
Fun bird trivia from the Norwegian Ridge Birding Trail
Did You Know?
Eastern Bluebirds usually have more than one successful brood each year. The young produced in the nests early leave their parents in summer. Young from the later nesting usually stay with their parents for migration.
Just 50 Canadian Geese can produce two and a half tons of excrement a year.
The sequence of notes in Indigo Bunting songs are unique to local neighborhoods. Males a few hundred yards apart generally have different songs. Males on neighboring territories often have the same or nearly identical songs.
The Chickadee's simple-sounding call (chick-a-dee-dee) has been found to be extremely complex and language like. They code information on identity and recognition of other flocks as well as predator alarms and contact calls. The number of "dee"s are related to the relative gravity of the danger.
Although we think the appearance of an American Robin signals that it's spring, they cam spend much of the winter in their breeding range. They usually congregate in flocks in winter instead of hopping around on someone's yard.
During the mating season, Northern Cardinal males may sing 200 or more songs per hour, usually in the early morning. Mated pairs will often sing duets together. The red color of the Cardinal's feathers is the result of pigments called carotenoids. The amount of pigment ingested and deposited in the feathers influences the quality and depth of coloration.
The Downy Woodpecker uses food sources that larger woodpeckers cannot, such as goldenrod galls. A gall is a tumor on plant tissue caused by stimulation by fungi, insects, or bacteria. Downies prefer larger galls, using the exit tube constructed by the larva to extract it.
The Blue Jay's vivid blue color is not really blue. The blue color results from light refraction due to the feather's construction. If you hold the feather up to a light source and look through it, you will see that it is actually grayish-brown.
The name Nuthatch probably results from corruption of the word "nuthack" which refers to its habit of hacking away at a seed with its beak until it opens.
Consisting of one and two-mile loops plus discontinuous blocks in Spring Grove's Trollskogen and Roverud parks, serious birders will be welcome to look for that rare addition to their list of avian species.
Mowed and marked, the paths feature numerous signs identifying bird species, plants, trees and more in Norwegian and English.
There are 54 birds included on signs placed strategically along the route, in habitat where those species can be expected to pop up.
The trailhead is located just behind (south of) Red's IGA in Spring Grove.
More than 80 people came on opening day to walk the trail with the new bird and flora signs. Free water bottles were given to the first 50 walkers and those that ventured on the longer path were also treated to a Spring Grove Soda Pop.
The oldest walker on the trail's opening day was 82-year-old Burnell Roble and two 1-year-olds completed the trail with their families, McKenna Newgaard and Aaron Smith.
Traveling the farthest from Belle Plaine, Minn., was Ysa Trimbo. All four walkers received free t-shirts.
"We had such a beautiful day for the trail to open," remarked Dr. Jim Gray, whose land much of the trail is on. "People were excited and very complimentary about the trail."
"Many people worked so hard on getting the trail prepared," added Saundy Solum, Norwegian Ridge and Birding Trail committee member.
"There are many people to thank for making this possible. Karen and Jim Gray have spent countless hours prepping the trails. Andy Nyhus, a birder from Winona, walked the trail looking for birds and their habitat and showed us where to put the signs and allowed us to use his photos on the signs. He is also a photographer and gave us the idea of starting the Northern Bobwhite Habitat, which led us to talk to Thurman Tucker for his expertise."
Work on the trails will continue as the group adds more trail markers, a large trail map at the first fence to show the direction of the trails and an update bird checklist. It will be an all-season trail so snowshoers will also be able to access it during the snow season.
"It has been exciting; someone already spotted a new bird on the trail during the opening day. We hope to have that sign up as well soon," commented Solum.
Information on the trails, the list of birds with photos, descriptions, and sound, plus more information can be found on the trails website, www.sgbirdwalk.org.