September IN-PERSON Meeting: Secret lives of the Voyageurs Wolves

MRVAC's September 22 program will be our first-ever joint in-person and streamed meeting, resuming our in-person meetings after the pandemic.

Thomas Gable, with the Voyageurs Wolf Project, will address a gap in understanding wolf ecology.  "Understanding the Secret Lives of Wolves in the Northwoods" looks at what do wolves do during summer in forested ecosystems? This question has remained elusive despite decades of research. With the help of advanced GPS-tracking technology and remote video cameras, the project has been able to get an unprecedented look at the summer wolf ecology, revealing new wolf hunting behavior and showing how variable wolf summer diets are. Come learn about the complex and fascinating lives of these elusive wolves in the north woods.

Join us in person at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, to socialize over cookies. A brief business meeting followed by the featured presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m.  The meeting will conclude by 9 p.m.  The MVNWR Bloomington Visitor Center is located at 3815 American Boulevard East in Bloomington.  By car, take I-494 to 34th Avenue and go south to American Boulevard. Turn east (left) and go two blocks. The center is on the right. It is accessible after a short walk from the METRO Blue Line (Hiawatha Light Rail) at American Blvd. Enter at the middle door (not the main entrance). MRVAC meetings are free and open to the public.

This meeting (starting at 7:30 p.m.) will also be available by Zoom (limited to first 100 participants). To Join by Zoom click on this link:
Meeting ID: 758 0913 5166
Passcode: cBt2Re

We are also planning on having a recording of this meeting available on our website a few days later.

Take advocacy action -- here's the link

MRVAC encourages its members and other conservation and birding advocates to be engaged citizens, which includes ensuring that their representatives in the State Legislature and in the U.S. Congress get behind bills that are important to the environment.  Need help?  You can sign up for Audubon Minnesota's action alerts here: Take Action | Audubon Minnesota

That page also contains your representatives' contact information should you want to contact them with or without from an action alert.



It's the Bird-a-thon weekend -- Aug. 27-28

Heads up! (That way you can see the fall migrants better, eh?)

This is a reminder that the 2022 Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter Birding Weekend is Aug. 27-28. Visit your favorite birding spots on either Saturday or Sunday and keep a list of all the species you identify that day. Send us a complete list of the birds you find. Small prizes will be awarded to the birder who identifies the most species, and to the birder who IDs the most unusual bird. Results will be published in the Trumpeter, MRVAC’s newsletter.

If each reader can contribute or raise at least $25, we will be able to achieve our fundraising goal of $1,000. There are two ways to contribute: Elsewhere on are ways to contribute online or you can mail a check made out to MRVAC to P.O. Box 20400, Bloomington, MN 55420.

Questions?  Contact Bob Williams at or by text at 612-991-0727. Be safe out there and enjoy the fall migration!

Yay! It's time for the Henderson Hummingbird Hurrah

If you like hummingbirds – and who doesn't – you’ll have a blast at the Henderson Hummingbird Hurrah Aug. 20.
That’s this Saturday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., rain or shine. Speakers will be Al Batt, Donald Mitchell, Larry Pfarr and Amanda Vogel. There will be kids’ activities so bring the whole family. Located less than an hour away from Bloomington, Henderson is located on the Minnesota River in Sibley County.
The Henderson Hummingbird Hurrah is free and open to the public with vendors, food and raffle prizes. But the highlight as always is watching Donald Mitchell net, band and release hummingbirds.
Sponsored in part by MRVAC, the hurrah was the dream of Dolores Hagen, a longtime resident of Henderson, MN who passed away in 2016. In 2008 she organized the first annual hurray, which has been held nearly every year since. Bender Park in Henderson has a garden specifically to attract hummingbirds so you can sit and watch hummingbirds buzz around the feeders and sipping from flowers.
Traveling from the Twin Cities, the best route is to come down County Road 6 on the west side of the river as Highway 19 is closed from Highway 169 to the river. It is about an hour's drive from the south metro. MRVAC will once again have a table at this event staffed by board members Doug Mayo, Matthew Schaut and Bob Williams so be sure to say howdy to them.
More info?

Partial recording for June program: Fishers in Minnesota

Here's a link to the recording of most of Michael Joyce's presentation on fishers in Minnesota.  Michael is  a wildlife ecologist at the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He described the history and current status of fishers and highlight current research into fisher ecology and management in Minnesota.

Fishers, a mid-sized carnivore in the weasel family, were nearly extirpated from Minnesota in the early 1990s. Since then, fishers have reestablished across the state and recently expanded their range into southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities Metro.

The meeting is free and open to the public.


MRVAC awards more grants

By Lee Ann Landstrom

Environmental action and conservation chair

The MRVAC board of directors ended MRVAC's fiscal year by awarding more grants.  Kennedy High School received $2,000 to purchase 600 native plants for a new pollinator-friendly rain garden, which was planted by 40 volunteers May 14. They hope to add an informative sign, perhaps a rain barrel and complete further projects to support wildlife on school grounds. Stop by and check it out.

Normandale Community College received an additional $3,000 to install additional anti-bird strike window treatments beyond their original project scope. Staff reports reduced bird fatalities because of the dotted film that overs most of the building’s north-facing wall of windows.

The Hastings School District received $3,000 to add with other funding sources to create and fabricate a large, four-panel kiosk on their property at the “180th Street Marsh.” Students as well as the general public use this popular conservation land.

These organizations have thanked MRVAC for the funding, much of which come from the generosity of our members through fundraising efforts.

Recording of MRVAC May Program: Kim Eckert Updates 5th Edition of "A Birder's Guide to Minnesota"

Kim Eckert, one of Minnesota’s preeminent birders, will give a preview of the fifth edition of A Birder’s Guide to Minnesota. The program is Thursday, May 26, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.  The publication is a county-by-county guide of more than 1,400 birding locations with an annotated list of all 447 Minnesota species with numerous identification tips. It includes references and resources, a directory of birding contacts for each county and regular online updates with corrections and additions. Kim served for more than 30 years on the MOU Records Committee since its inception in the 1970s.  In 1996 he launched the Minnesota Birding Weekends and Weeks program of tours throughout Minnesota and elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada, which is now in its 37th season.

Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter presentations are free and open to the public. Feel free to share the link with friends.

The recording of the session is here:
Passcode: mh4JYP*5


Apr. 28 MRVAC Program - UMD Chickadee and raptor research

MRVAC hosts UMD graduate students Kara Snow and Emily Pavlovic Thursday, Apr. 28 at 7:30 p.m. to talk about their master’s research at the University of Minnesota at Duluth. Kara’s research on Boreal Chickadees, in collaboration with the Natural Resources Research Institute, focuses on breeding ecology, nestling diet, post-fledgling movement and habitat use. Emily’s research in collaboration with the Hawk Ridge Observatory analyzes stable isotopes in feathers to reveal where raptors are migrating from and band recovery data for improving knowledge of migratory connectivity. Join us for a glimpse of some of the latest research today in ornithology.

To Join the Zoom meeting click on this link:

Meeting ID: 862 0788 0126
Passcode: 183342
One tap mobile:
+13126266799,,862 0788 0126#,,,,,,0#,,183342# US (Chicago)
Note: Admission may be limited to 100 connections.

Maintaining feeders during the bird flu infestation

By Rob Daves

Avian influenza – AKA the “bird flu” – has been detected in domestic poultry and wild birds in Minnesota (Blue Earth, Hennepin, Anoka counties).  But what does that mean to those of us who maintain backyard feeders?

Recommendations are mixed.  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), for example, says it doesn’t have a record of songbirds being infected with AI right now, and recommends “taking down and cleaning your bird feeders during spring.”  Oh, and be sure and report any sick or dead birds to the DNR at 888-646-6367, the Minnesota Raptor Center helpline at 612-624-4745 (if the sick bird is a raptor), or the Board of Animal Health Avian Influenza hotline at 833-454-0156.

On the other hand, the Minneapolis Audubon Chapter’s blog recommends taking down feeders during the spring migration to avoid birds clustering together and increasing the virus’ spread.

One MRVAC member, Liz Stanley, has a specific program she’s put in place:  reducing the number of her feeders, using the types that don’t allow birds to congregate, putting less food out at a time and cleaning between refills, sweeping underneath and removing bird baths. Laura Erickson, our MRVAC friend in Duluth, has a great discussion on her blog noting how importing feeding birds is for human mental health, and has recommendations for a targeted approach such as Liz’s.

More info:

Recording of March 24 Program - Bird Song: Ten Lessons in Listening

The recording of the March MRVAC program from well-known author and ornithologist Donald Kroodsma is now available at the link below.  Kroodsma  one of the world’s leading experts on the science of birdsong and a retired University of Massachusetts biology professor, has researched and written on innate and learned songs, and the functions, evolution, and ecology of bird song.

Topic: MRVAC member meeting March 24 2022
Date: Mar 24, 2022 07:17 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Meeting Recording:
Access Passcode: j.W5L9.K