Henderson Feathers Update 12/31/23

Henderson Independent, 01/04/24 Eagle/Chickadee
Henderson Chatter, Jeff

Regular faithful readers of the ‘Indy’ and ‘Chatter’ will recall the adventures of Emily, media contributor with LeSueur connections. Emily was concerned as to the welfare of a Common Merganser duck which had apparently swallowed a small fish; but attached to the fish was a plastic line with a golden hook apparatus, thus dissuading the duck from eating. Complication was that the date was Christmas Day, 2023, and perhaps MNDNR personnel were on a badly needed day off, or out rescuing ice incidents.

Emily pursued the case, and as many of us may be caught in a similar situation, wounded wildlife, we thought we’d share the process Emily followed: “Trying to find Ms Merganser surely got me out on winter walks. I went out each day this week (last week of December) to see if she and I happen to cross paths again, but with no luck. Maybe she got loose and flew away, one would hope. During this process I found two wildlife rehab centers, one in Roseville and one in Crystal. This is good to know! The MNDNR referred me to them, and those centers are open on holidays! I also called the Minneapolis animal care and control number, and they looked at my case, saw notes that people came to look for Ms Merganser the day I called! But no luck, so they closed the case. It is good to know that they followed through. I do wish I would have known this information on Christmas Day.” Thus now we know what action can be taken in case one comes upon such a case.

In the world of 2024, there seem to be four kinds of people. 1) Those who ignore the tremendous degradation plastics are bringing about; 2) individuals who couldn’t care less about
the damage we do ‘befowling our nest’ and the nests of those who follow us; 3) ones who, in spite of education, perceive “what is yours is mine, while what is mine is mine;” and 4) characters who deliberately wantonly and deliberately; in their disregard for Planet Earth and hate for ‘the system,’
destroy all that is proper and good. (See deliberately damaged sign in this article.)

The success of the Audubon Bird Count at NEY Center and in the area was disappointing from the standpoint of numbers of birds enumerated, but exhilarating as to number of ‘spotters’ who turned out for the citizen science affair. A full report of events will appear in our next column, or by emailing the Ney Center. Should the count have been taken the last days of 2023, far different conclusions may have been gathered. The 28th and 29th of December drew the birds to the feeders and about the skyways. Woodpecker species appeared to be having a pre-New Year’s celebration, inviting the white-breasted nuthatches, chickadees, crows and squirrels along. Hordes of starlings, celebrating feral pigeons (hic) and zooming waxwings awakened from their naps. Birders wondered where they’d obtain the wherewithal to purchase birdseed if conditions prevailed.

(See the photo of the friendly chickadee aboard a finger.) The recipe for success is simple. When your feeding station is empty of a crisp morning, grab a handful of birdseed, stand motionless next to the feeder, shiver but not shake, and most often chickadees and nuthatches will befriend you. DO leave your housecat where it belongs…in the house… or you’ll not have success!

Bulletin: Mudpuppies (aquatic salamanders) are mating; this is December, and fisherpeople are catching them mistakenly (for the mudpuppy) on the same bait as walleyes and saugers. You, the reader, can’t do anything about it, however, the phenomena is currently occurring in the Minnesota River under the #93 Bridge. Exhilerating for humans, fatal for puppies. HAPPY NEW YEAR friendly readers!!!!!!!!