Yes, this is another column about owls, making two in a row. The snowy owl was last week's subject; this week's bird is the great horned owl. These are the continent's largest owls, but apart from size, they don't have very much in common. The snowy owl is a bird of open country; the great horned owl seeks cover. The snowy owl has a limited range and shows up in our area irregularly and unpredictably.
Lawmakers will begin sifting suggestions for the state's higher education system this week. This is not a new undertaking in North Dakota. At least five governing structures have been tried in the state's 130-year history. The most recent has endured for 80 years.
Probably no creature is as emblematic of snow and cold as the snowy owl. For centuries, this owl has been regarded as a sure sign of winter weather. Snowy owls are among the northernmost nesting birds; in many winters, substantial numbers of snowy owls move south, and many appear in the Red River Valley, which has gained a reputation as one of the best places in the Lower 48 states to see them. It's not the owls that bring the cold. Nor, probably, do they come south to escape the cold.
Party labels for local candidates would help restore balance to American politics, and that could improve government overall. Sure this sounds counterintuitive, given the polarization of American politics, but polarization is a result of the weakness of political parties, not of their strength. Politicians used to appeal to "the rank and file" of political parties. Now they appeal to "the base."
To be honest, I can't tell you where to find a cedar waxwing in January, or even if the cedar waxwings are still around. A band of them was at our place west of Gilby, N.D., through the middle of the month. The last report I heard from Grand Forks came on Jan. 17. Cedar waxwings nest in our area, but in winter, they are nomadic birds, sometimes present and sometimes not. Waxwings seen here in winter are more likely to be Bohemian waxwings, although in some winters both species are present.
From Bismarck comes new evidence that history repeats itself, not precisely nor in every particular, but on the main points. This is no surprise to those who take the long view, including compilers of election abstracts. The secretary of state's website contains this insightful, parenthetical statement: "The Legislative Assembly has on numerous occasions asked the voters to make the provisions of the initiative and referendum more stringent."
Here are a couple of questions for you: How is Prince Harry like a hoary redpoll? And what does that have to do with North Dakota? Stop reading if you don't care. Redpolls are birds, though not especially dependable ones, but that's not the answer to our question.
Honoring Theodore Roosevelt continues to be a favorite North Dakota pastime, so it's no surprise Gov. Doug Burgum wants to build a Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. North Dakota began naming things for Roosevelt even before his death a century ago, on Jan. 6, 1919. A school in Grand Forks was among the first of these presidential namesakes. In the years since, his name has been applied to a national park and meeting rooms and the state's Hall of Fame in the capitol building.
Chuck Haga was riding shotgun last week, keeping an eye on the landscape, as those riding shotgun on stage coaches were expected to do. "I want to see pheasants," he said. "Will you settle for an eagle?" the driver asked. Haga said he would, which suited the situation, since I'd spotted a bald eagle off to the left, the driver's side of our vehicle, an automobile. Seeing an eagle seemed fitting.