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Harbinger of Spring

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  Harbinger of Spring Shared by Melissa Donahue Naturalist January 2021 Photos by the authoress  Can you feel the change?   The days are getting longer, the male goldfinches are getting brighter, shoots of daffodils are poking above the ground, and if you’re quiet you will hear owls hooting in the woods.   When I start to feel this change, I head to the wetlands.   It is at the wetland that spring starts for me. There are two wetlands that I visit.   The first is close to the ballfields, behind the row of trees in Edwin Warner.    I love to go there; the water flows across the land with an energy that reveals the promise of spring.   The second is on the Nature Center campus.   It is attached to the pond on the Nature Center grounds.   Water running through the wetland   According to the Izaak Walton Leagueof America , a wetland is an ecosystem that has both land and water characteristics. Although wetlands are often covered in water or saturated to the surface, some are wet on

Our Tiny Owl

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  Our Tiny Owl Shared by Kathy Shaw WPNC Bird Information, Research and Data (BIRD) Program & Master Bird Bander Photos by Sandy Bivens and Kathy Shaw except where noted As a federally licensed bird bander , I remind myself that science is serious business with no room for sentiment , but this notion flew out the window when   our team   recently caught a Northern Saw - whet Owl on a cold November night . I wanted to put this adorable fluffball in my pocket and make it my own . This “ cuteness ” factor may be why I have no problem finding BIRD team volunteers to forego sleep and work late on cold nights to try to net one . On a more serious , scientific note , much of what we understand about saw - whet migration is due to a network of dedicated banders throughout the U . S . and Canada .   Our saw - whet project began back in 2007. At the urging of ex