Today I caught up on loads of work and then joined Carrol Henderson for a birding seminar for a Multiple Sclerosis Camp at Courage Center. Today was one of those days that a bird guide dreads. Due to seasonal movement and time of day, there were no birds. And I don't mean just house sparrows or starlings, I mean the woods were silent. I led a small group on a walk and focused on evidence of birds like a wren house and some woodpecker holes since there were no birds to observe. One of the campers was concerned that the wheelchairs were keeping the birds away, but that wasn't the case it was just a lull in birding activity. Carrol did bring some stuffed birds from the DNR offices for people to practice focusing with optics and luckily he brought a barred owl (pictured above with campers and Carrol Henderson on the right) which greatly irritated a nuthatch, chickadee, chipping sparrow and cardinal. The campers did get to see a little mobbing action going on. They said they would invite us back next year and I recommended that we do the walk at 9am instead of 3:30pm. I also came up with an idea of maybe offering a class on bird feeding tips for people with mobility issues.
One of the campers was a volunteer at the Minnesota Zoo which has one heck of an outdoor butterfly exhibit. She was telling me that this year they were having to order more butterflies than usual through the summer to replenish the exhibit. Keepers were curious until one day they discovered a house wren inside the exhibit happily chowing on some of the butterflies. The wren had made its way through a tiny hole in the butterfly cage netting. They sowed it up but sure enough a bird that only needs a one inch hole to fit through found another way in.
The Great Minnesota Get Together has begun and I did my first radio interview tonight on KFAN with Rob Drieslein and Mike Kurre (below). The State Fair is HUGE here. All the stations are out and it's a great way to get some publicity. I was on for the Minnesota Ornithologists' Union. It turned out that Rob writes for Outdoor News. As we were talking during the radio interview I suddenly realized which one he was. If you're familiar with the publication there's one writer who really dislikes cats and that is Rob. It was fun to put a live person to the byline. We had a fun talk and they are friends with Stan Tekiela. We got side tracked from the MOU several times, but fortunately Non Birding Bill was in the audience giving us hand signals and getting us back to topic. I love the State Fair, nest Tuesday morning I'll be working the MOU booth and Labor Day I will be out with KARE 11. I can't wait to see what fun new fried foods on a stick we try this year.