Linnaeus Arboretum

Accipiters shake things up at winter gatherings

A sharp-shinned hawk waits patiently by the Arboretum birdfeeders recently   Oh, the stress of being a good holiday host. It’s so hard for a host to relax when there are so many things to worry about:  Will my guests find the place alright? Will they like the food I am serving? Will they be […]

Don’t get burned by Wild Parsnip

Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) grows wild in a variety of areas, like this road ditch Well, it’s that time of year again. The time when the increase in temperature is accompanied by a corresponding decrease in your neighbor’s yardwork attire. If you are fortunate, you have the sort of neighbor who looks good in less […]

Happy Groundhog Day!

Having entered the doldrums of winter, it is now, more than ever, that we need a holiday to bolster our spirits. Thank goodness Groundhog’s Day is here! Unfortunately, Groundhog’s Day is not nearly as prominent of a holiday as one might think it should be for such a critical time of year. Surely Groundhog’s Day […]

April Showers Bring May Flowers

After this long rainy April week, May is finally here! With the month of May comes warmer temperatures, spring flowers, and increased bird activity. Average day time temperatures for Minnesota are in the 60s, while night time temperatures are in the mid-40s. We begin to see many spring flowers in the woodlands, such as bloodroot, […]

Chorus frog courtship is noisy ‘affair’

This tiny western chorus frog (note knuckle for size reference) is just one of many that are set to put on their annual spring concert. The temperature’s rising, the days are getting longer, the buds are swelling, and the critters are emerging from hibernation.  Spring is nearly here, and with it comes the annual performance […]

Warming Temps and the Return of the Robin

The warm weather has the snowing running away and the birds back out to play! This latest wave of warmer temperatures has many people excited for the possibility of spring. With the current seven-day forecast, it may just look like spring is well on its way as temps stay between the mid-30s to 40s all […]

Perry’s Stony Sleep

Perry the Corpse Flower (Amorphophallus titanum) has decided to bypass making seeds this time, and has gone dormant. The dead but still-standing inflorescence had toppled as of Monday this week, and today Nate and I pulled out and mounted the new Perry mummy to dry.  We suspended it on a ring stand for the still-wet […]

Where did all the Sparrows come from?

The House Sparrow (passer domesticus) originated in the Middle East. These little birds managed to make their throughout Eurasia and into Northern Africa. It was introduced to North American in 1851 in Brooklyn, New York and quickly spread like wildfire. Because of the sparrow’s adaptions to living in urban areas and around people, it has […]

Lingering Leaves

One of the best parts of fall is the changing colors of the leaves. Once the days become shorter and colder, the chlorophyll that gives the leaves their green color breaks down and leaves the bright and vibrant colors behind that make autumn so beautiful. In order to survive the winter and save energy, the […]

The Winter Life of Black-Capped Chickadees

After the summer bird species have migrated south for the winter, the black-capped chickadee (Parus atricapillus) remains present around the arboretum and a year-round favorite to many birders. Their energetic and curious behaviors make them one of my favorite species to observe. I can almost always rely on them to be active during any part […]