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Trumpeter Swan or Tundra Swan?

They swim gracefully (or feed ungracefully) in the water. They fly gracefully, in small to large V-formations. They honk or whistle. They are definitely swans, with their long necks and stout bodies. But of the two types of swans seen locally, either Trumpeter Swan or Tundra Swan, which is which? If each type of swan is side-by-side, distinguishing them is…

Minnesota's Swallows

Minnesota’s Swallows

Swallows are found around the world, on all continents, including Antarctica. Here in Minnesota, you commonly find three species of swallows: Barn Swallow, Tree Swallow, and Cliff Swallow. Barn Swallows are sparrow-sized, with a steely blue back, wings and tail, and tan-to-white underparts. Their throat and forehead feature rusty spots. Their tail extends beyond the wingtips and the long outer…

Easy Bird Identification using the GISS method by Bob Janssen

Easy Bird Identification

Did you ever think about the fact that more birds are heard than seen? This article, then, should be about the identification of bird song, right? But the art of learning bird song is one of the most challenging for birders of all skill and experience levels, so we’ll keep that for another article. In this discussion we’ll focus on…

Raptor Guide

Raptors! A Guide to Minnesota’s Birds of Prey

  A raptor, also known as a bird of prey, is a carnivorous, meat-eating bird. All raptors share at least three characteristics: keen eyesight, eight sharp talons and a hooked beak. The word “raptor” comes from a Latin term rapere meaning “to seize or grab.” Minnesota raptors include eagles, falcons, hawks, kites, osprey, owls and vultures. Most Minnesota raptors have…