Say it Ain't Snow

There used to be a saying "April Showers," but in past years, there seems to be a progressive change in the amount of snow precipitation we've received. The science continually reminds us that our seasons are changing, and because Dave and I's world is so wrapped up in photographing this environment and the wildlife that depend on their habitat to survive, we find it only fitting to give the facts on how they are being affected by these changes.

A bird's life revolves around the changing of seasons to help initiate their own internal clocks. To disturb this is to mismatch nature's inner workings - when to breed, when prey and food sources are available, nesting material available, and having to face new predators and parasites they are otherwise not accustomed to. To name a few:

* Hard-wood forest changes, like that of oak, hickory, and pine, will cause fewer species to be able to associate with these forests. Birds we have come to love like the yellow-rumped warbler will become increasingly harder to see.

 * Shifting migration schedules will cause insufficient food sources for birds to raise their young. Birds that rely on fruit bearing plants and trees and that have already traveled long migration distances are not readily available, will suffer.

 * Ocean pollution - The carbon we emit ends up in the ocean. Excess carbon means that sealife crustaceans and other shellfish cannot form their shells because of the acidity (among other polluting affects). Since coastal birds depend heavily on food from the ocean, this is a significant problem.

We are not political campaigners, but we do believe in respecting a beautiful world. To say anything otherwise is just being arrogant and uneducated in reasoning, and it's unfortunate to find so many defending ways to pollute, destroy, destruct, and eliminate such a stunning landscape. For those of us who want to actually enjoy our parks and keep seeing WILDlife, we are responding with the hope that real change is required of every one of us.

We hope the photos we've captured of these intriguing creatures continually provides our viewers the explanation they need to understand how our ecosystem depends on us caring. I remember when Minnesota was known for its moose. Now, they are nearly impossible to see (even in the northern most parts of Minnesota). It's become so rare that we've traveled hundreds (if not thousands) of miles in search just to spot one.

The disappointing fact is, man creates messes and fails to clean them up. Whatever the reason that these animals become increasingly rare to spot, we want to ensure that we can reverse that and enjoy both bird and mammal in what should be their normal habitat. We want generations to know these birds existed in our beautiful state and that they will migrate just as they have been for thousands of years.

So, as spring is SUPPOSED to be rolling our way (forecast for May 8th still calling for more snow), we've been taking to the skies and pulling out our binoculars to anticipate all the migratory birds headed north to enjoy the spoils of Minnesota's lakes, rivers, new spring buds, and beyond. Some of our favorites include the loons, warblers, goldfinches, herons, swans, ducks, pelicans, bluebirds, hummingbirds, and orioles. We've learned to tune into each different sound being heard and distinguish the unique calls each ones makes.

We hope that the efforts of those who enjoy birding will pay off to help these little ones settle in their new home for the season. Put up bird houses (or clean out old ones), put out nesting material, or hanging feeders and water to help them replenish after a long migration journey. Reduce kills from window strikes by using window decals, landscape your property with plants and native flowers for them to thrive on, and educate yourself on your own carbon footprint and the ways in which you individually make a difference in how these ecosystems are being affected.

And from all of us at the Interlaken Haus...Happy April!

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