From Page 1 The Journal responded to the Washington County Parks Department’s enticing invitation and attended the Bird Hike of May 8. Shelley Bowman facilitates all of the Bird Hikes in Washington …
From Page 1
The Journal responded to the Washington County Parks Department’s enticing invitation and attended the Bird Hike of May 8.
Shelley Bowman facilitates all of the Bird Hikes in Washington County. As birders filed into the parking lot, she checked them in. According to Bowman, 23 people were in attendance for the Bird Hike. Due to the fact that the gathering was well below 500 participants, the wearing of facial coverings were neither discouraged nor mandatory.
Even before the hike began, Bowman was educating the attendees. She did this by presenting an abundance of feathers belonging to Minnesotan birds. Participants had the opportunity to touch, gaze at, and photograph the feathers of a Great-Horned Owl, Red Bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Crow, Northern Cardinal, Wild Turkey, Red Tail Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Northern Flicker, Bald Eagle, and a Ring-Necked Pheasant.
The clock struck nine in the morning and the birders started down the trails of the Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park. Bowman’s way of conducting the Bird Hike was quite direct. The procession hiked until one eyed a bird. When a birder noticed such a creature, they guided everybody’s focus to its location. By that point, binoculars and cameras were already activated. The group utilized their tools in an attempt to identify the bird. Once correctly labeled, Bowman displayed the way in which the species was illustrated in her book about birds. Thereafter, the birders carried on hiking. This cycle of getting to know Cottage Grove’s variety of birds recurred for approximately 90 minutes.
During their short time together, the birders encountered several different birds! First, they discovered a male Red Wing Black Bird. What humored the group about this animal was that its wings seemed orange, not red. Bowman voiced her knowledge about the Red Wing Black Bird. The species is quite common in Cottage Grove and its lifespan, on average, lasts about four years. Also, while the male version is deep black with vibrant orange wings, the female lacks saturation. Bowman further enlightened the group by distinguishing its “beautiful” trill from the other resonating sounds of nature.
Next, on the shore of the ravine, idled a few Mallard Ducks and some Canadian Geese. The birders were transfixed. Many pictures were snapped.
Suddenly, the procession was insistent that they heard a cowbird. It was never perceived. Instead, a Northern Cardinal and Eastern Towhee flew into view!
Five additional birds were recognized over the course of the Bird Hike. There was a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, a Song Sparrow, an American Robin, a Warbler (also known as a “Butter Butt” to Bowman’s young students), and an Orange-Breasted Oriole.
The Bird Hike at Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park proved to The Journal that Cottage Grove’s wildlife is incredibly diverse. All one must do to experience it is get out and gaze up!
Coordinated events to do just that are quickly approaching. Washington County’s Bird Hikes repeat monthly and all year long. The following list indicates when and where future ones will unfold.
June 12 at Lake Elmo Park Reserve July 10 at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park August 14 at Pine Point Regional Park September 11 at Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park October 9 at Big Marine Park Reserve November 13 at Pine Point Regional Park December 11 at Lake Elmo Park Reserve If readers aspire to become involved, they can navigate to www.co.washington. mn.us/2174/Bird-Hikes. This link will assist one in signing up for and preparing for a Bird Hike.