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ON NATURE'S LAKE — For an early opening morning, just a day into fall, the start of Minnesota waterfowl season Saturday turned out to be pretty ducky. A low deck of clouds hung overhead allowing an incredible orange and red pre-dawn glow for a few minutes before socking in to keep the sun out of our eyes. A persistent southwest wind kept the decoys moving nicely and it was just cool enough so a jacket felt good. A few raindrops even fell as we paddled back to camp.
Officials at Isle Royale National Park on Friday announced details of their plan to bolster the park's wolf population by capturing wolves in nearby regions and releasing them on the big Lake Superior island. The Park Service will trap and transport up to six wolves in coming weeks with a goal of at least 20 and up to 30 wolves moved to the island over the next three years.
Wolf supporters moved Wednesday to force the federal government to develop a broader recovery plan for wolves across more of the U.S. even as the Trump administration and other groups are trying to remove federal protections for the big predators. The Center for Biological Diversity on Wednesday filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for violating the Endangered Species Act by never developing a comprehensive recovery plan for gray wolves nationwide. The notice is a legal heads-up that a lawsuit is coming in 60 days.
We mark the seasons as honking geese head south and as robins return north. Every autumn we marvel at their numbers going south, and every spring we delight that they have come back. But until now scientists have never been able to put a number on exactly how many birds migrate across North America. The bird experts at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology now have done that, using data from 143 weather radar stations across North America from 2013-2017. Their findings were published Monday in the Journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.
The nearly half-century tally of birds that fly over Hawk Ridge every autumn is really a snapshot of annual migration, impacted by weather and natural cycles, and not necessarily a population survey. But the tale of two raptors that fly over Duluth on their way south each autumn are shining examples of what researchers are seeing across North America — two birds heading the same way this time of year way but going in opposite directions as a species.
So this was considered a slow day last week at Hawk Ridge, one of the premier fall bird migration watching and counting spots in the nation: 4,000 warblers, 1,800 blue jays and nine peregrine falcons flew over with a smattering of a dozen other species.
Anglers interested in walleye fishing on Kabetogama, Namakan, Sand Point, Crane and Little Vermilion lakes in northern St. Louis County are invited to participate in public meetings on lakes that make up the Namakan Reservoir system. The DNR is considering making changes to walleye regulations on the big border-area lakes, including reducing the sauger limit by two. The current regulation has been in place since 2007 and will expire March 1, 2019. Input at the meetings will help determine if the current rule is changed or extended.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials on Friday said their officers seized what appear to be 5,460 knock-off Barbie dolls in a railroad car entering the U.S. at Ranier, just outside International Falls. The dolls were seized Monday after an earlier inspection discovered merchandise was in violation of intellectual property rights regulations. Customs and Border Protection officials said the counterfeit merchandise has a total manufacturer's suggested retail price of $139,145.
Longtime Duluth television and radio broadcaster Glenn Maxham, who went on to become an environmental activist for the Save Lake Superior Association, died Monday. He was 88. Maxham’s family said he died unexpectedly of natural causes Monday in his home at Mount Royal Pines Apartments in Duluth.
DULUTH — What a difference a few mild winters and a lot more doe permits can make. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources area deer meetings, held at wildlife offices across the state in recent weeks, attracted surprisingly few hunters — some meetings went unattended and the most heavily attended attracted just 14 people. Across northeastern Minnesota, Tower and Grand Rapids attracted eight people each with only five in Two Harbors and just two in International Falls. And not a one of them brought pitchforks and torches.