UMC crew part of North American bird effort

The Red River Valley Natural History Area near the University of Minnesota Crookston is part of a continental effort to learn more about breeding birds across North America.

The Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survival Program -- MAPS, for short -- is a network of stations that capture, band and recapture breeding birds at more than 1,200 locations in North America.

The goal of the program is to assist with the conservation of birds and their habitats through demographic monitoring. The California-based Institute for Bird Populations coordinates the effort

John Loegering, a UMC professor and chairman of the Natural Resources Department, and Lisa Loegering, University of Minnesota Extension northwest regional director, tend the banding station. Working with them are Laura Bell, lab services coordinator in the UMC Natural Resources Department, and Jeff Bell, a biology instructor at Northland Community and Technical College and adjunct assistant professor at UND.

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Together, they band birds seven times during the summer at intervals of 10 days or so. Using 10 very fine mist nets, the Crookston crew captures birds beginning at sunrise and continuing for the next six hours. They have operated the station since 2012 and logged more than 1,800 captures, including both initial captures and recaptures, of 54 species.

Years of training and apprenticeship are required to open a MAPS station. The Loergerings and Bells between them have more than 72 years of experience banding and handling birds.

Using standardized techniques, protocols and reporting, MAPS stations compile and analyze data for hundreds of bird species across North America. The goal is to better understand reproductive productivity and survival.

Interested students, seasonal student employees and guests are trained to assist in the process. Natural resources majors Eli Humphrey, a sophomore from Brooklyn Park, Minn., and Kimie Shiozawa, a junior from Tokyo, are assisting with this summer’s operation.

The public is welcome to observe the banding process. For dates and directions, contact John Loegering at jloegeri@umn.edu.

-- Herald staff report

Rydell NWR to offer mentored youth deer hunt

Rydell National Wildlife Refuge near Erskine, Minn., will host a special Mentored Youth Deer Hunt on Oct. 26-27 for kids age 12 to 15, in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Friends of Rydell and Glacial Ridge Refuges Association.

Rydell is the only national wildlife refuge in Minnesota that offers this special mentored deer hunting opportunity. A total of 15 young hunters will be allowed to participate and must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or mentor. They will be allowed to shoot as many as three deer on the refuge, of which only one can be antlered. Youth hunters also must attend a mandatory orientation session set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, at the refuge.

Last fall, seven youth hunters bagged deer, including a handful of respectable bucks, on the refuge.

Interested youths must apply for the hunt by Aug. 16. Applications can be completed at any DNR license agent or online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense.

For more information on the Rydell hunt, go to www.mndnr.gov/discover and click on “youth deer hunts,” or contact Gregg Knutsen, refuge manager, at (218) 687-2229 ext. 16 or by email at gregg_knutsen@fws.gov.

As it has since the mid-’90s, Rydell also will host a three-day Accessible Deer Hunt for people with disabilities. This year, the hunt will be held Oct. 10-12 and primarily is coordinated by the Options Interstate Resource Center for Independent Living in East Grand Forks. For more information, contact Randy Sorenson, Options executive director, at (800) 726-3692.

-- Herald staff report

DNR comments on wolf proposal

The Minnesota DNR has weighed in on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to remove gray wolves from federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The FWS published a rule to “delist” gray wolves in the March 2019 Federal Register, and the DNR submitted eight pages of comments on the rule last week.

“The Minnesota DNR reaffirms its commitment to gray wolf recovery,” the DNR says at the conclusion of its comments. “Without expressing an opinion on the status of gray wolves outside its borders, the Minnesota DNR recognizes that the recovery of gray wolves in Minnesota has been an over 50-year process requiring the commitment of extensive federal, state and tribal resources. Regardless of the outcome of this Proposed Rule, the Minnesota DNR intends to continue to manage Minnesota's wolf population to ensure the sustainability of our gray wolves now and in the future, consistent with our wildlife trust obligations. The Minnesota DNR is further committed to managing its gray wolves to contribute to the success of wolf recovery beyond Minnesota.”

More information about wolves in Minnesota, their current legal status, population surveys and background information is available at mndnr.gov/wolves.

-- Herald staff report

Women can sign up for pheasant class

The Minnesota DNR is offering a class Oct. 4-6 for women interested in learning to hunt pheasants at the Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club, 2920 220th St. E., Prior Lake, Minn.

A group of instructors who call themselves the “Bird Busting Babes” will teach the class, which will include shotgun basics, sporting clays shooting, gun cleaning, shotgun shell basics and pheasant habitat. Also included is a three-bird game farm hunt.

Part two of the series will include a mentored game farm hunt to be offered at a later date.

Cost of the pheasant class is $150, and there’s a limit of 14 people. For more information, email sandybow@gmail.com or check out the DNR website at mndnr.gov and search for Becoming an Outdoors Woman.

-- Herald staff report

Did you know?

  • Regulations for Minnesota’s 2019 bear hunting season are available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov. Hunters will find information about new regulations for this year, licenses, season dates, bait station requirements and other regulations. Bear season opens Sunday, Sept.1 and continues through Sunday, Oct. 13.

  • The DNR has conducted its elk license drawing, and successful hunters have been notified. In all, 27 licenses were available this year for elk seasons in Kittson County’s central (Zone 20) and northeast (Zone 30) zones. The Grygla elk zone remains closed to elk hunting because the population is below the goal outlined in the elk management plan.

  • The Minnesota DNR has named Theresa Ebbenga as the new director of the department’s Northwest Region, replacing Rita Albrecht, who retired in early July. Ebbenga, who currently serves as assistant regional manager for the DNR’s Ecological and Water Resources Division in Bemidji, will start her new job Tuesday, Aug. 6. Before joining the DNR in 2015, Ebbenga worked with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. She received her bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology in 1992 from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in 2013 earned a master’s degree in environmental policy from the University of Denver.

  • Pronghorn and swan applications are now available on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov. Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply for a pronghorn license. The pronghorn license fee is $30 for ages 16 and older, and $10 for under age 16. Applicants for a pronghorn lottery license must be at least 12 years of age on or before December 31, 2019. The deadline for submitting pronghorn applications is Aug. 7. North Dakota residents and nonresidents are eligible to apply for a swan license. The resident swan license is $10, while the nonresident fee is $30. The deadline for applying for swan is Aug. 14. More info: gf.nd.gov.

    -- compiled by Brad Dokken