Monday, April 23, 2007

Conservation Congresss: The Results are In!

For those of you who follow the current legislative efforts to ban lead shot and tackle, a small but notable recommendation was passed at the Conservation Congress hearings last week to require the use of non-toxic shot for dove hunting. Lead shot is prohibited for waterfowl hunting, but it is still legal in other hunting situations on Wisconsin’s state managed properties. Dove hunting and waterfowl hunting often occur in the same areas, but dove hunters could use lead ammunition that is proven to be harmful to game and non-game species. There are 26 states that have non-toxic shot requirements that are more restrictive than federal rules including all of Wisconsin’s neighboring states.
You can find the complete questionnaire and results at the WDNR's spring hearing results website. Thanks to all of those who took the time to vote on this and other natural resource issues in Wisconsin.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Migration Update from Loon Ranger

Loon Rangers across the state are sending in phenology updates. If you would like me to post your updates, simply email

From: Pat Schwai

Wanted to update you on spring ice out and loon arrival for Cochran Lake, Price County.
1st ice out:3/31/07
1 loon arrived 4/2/07 (mailed postcard to you at this point)
lake fully iced over 4/8/07
2nd ice out was 4/12/07
1 loon arrived 4/16/07

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Migration Update

I see migration as a natural way for us animals to revolve around a changing environment in a way that suits our needs. Sigurd Olson writes often of a timeless and ancestral connection that one can obtain by spending time in wild places. Perhaps the urge to travel in spring is linked to the transitions of our ancestors, when nomadic living was essential to survival. For me, its an urge to travel to waterfalls and rivers in high water. What is your spring migration?

LoonWatch assistant Chris Bujak put together the following update on loon migration. The northern winds have halted the migration of many birds, and journey north reports that
most migrants are confined to the Gulf coast and unable to make it any farther north.

Before the 29th of February, the common loon was sighted mostly in the lower to middle South Eastern and Eastern part of the United States. Although in the time range of February 29th to March 13, th the first loon was spotted in Illinois, the majority of the population started migrating North through Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky from March 14th to March 27th. Currently, loons have been sighted in Wisconsin, with one report of a loon unable to fly away after the lake froze around it. The a large percentage of the eastern population is migrating East through Upper Pennsylvania and New York, with the farthest loon sighted at the North Western tip of New Jersey. Many of the comments coming back on the loon arrival cards indicate that the loons arrived earlier than any other year in their northern breeding grounds.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Journey North

Snow is in the forecast for northern Wisconsin, but spring is already evident in the budding aspen trees, in the slowing of the sap run, and ice out on many lakes and rivers. Peg Wiggins wrote in this morning that loons landed in Polk county over the weekend on Ward Lake. Journey North, a global migratory education website, has a map of the loon sightings recorded so far. The public is invited to participate by recording their observations on the website. Loon Rangers, don't forget to return your observation cards! We will keep you posted as the loons begin arriving all over the northland.