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WORTH A LOOK: Glacial Ridge Shorebird Blitz

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They call it the “Glacial Ridge Shorebird Blitz,” and it’s a chance for birders of all skill levels to get outside and help count shorebirds at Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge in Polk County.

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This year’s blitz, the ninth annual, is set for 7 a.m. May 20, and participants should meet at the Glacial Ridge office of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 31077 state Highway 32 S. near Mentor, Minn.

Jessica Dowler, wildlife biologist at Glacial Ridge and Rydell national wildlife refuges, said the survey will focus on marbled godwits, upland sandpipers and Wilson’s phalaropes.  Not to worry if you don’t “know” these birds. “We’ll match you up with a more experienced birder,” Dowler said.

“Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge is the largest tallgrass prairie/wetland restoration ever undertaken,” Dowler said. “One of the many ecological functions we expect to return is breeding habitat for shorebirds. Three species in particular should benefit, all of which are local, regional and national species of special concern because of declining population trends and loss of habitat.”

Before counters hit the prairie, Dowler will explain how the survey is conducted and how to identify the three target species.

Participants should bring along a good pair of binoculars and appropriate clothing (knee or hip boots may be necessary). Other optional equipment includes a camera, a bird identification book, compass and/or GPS unit, a clipboard and bug spray.

There’s no charge to participate, but registration is required by May 16. For more information or to register, contact Dowler at (218) 687-2229 ext. 18.

What: Ninth Annual Shorebird Blitz.

Where: Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, meet at Glacial Ridge DNR office, 31077 state Highway 32 S.

When: 7 a.m. to noon May 20.

To register: (218) 687-2229, ext. 18, by May 16; event is free.

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