Rainy Lake: Spring Grouse
While hunting grouse in the fall is the most popular of small game hunting activities in Minnesota, there is another way to experience the elusive bird in the Spring. Between mid April and the end of May grouse perform their mating ritual referred to as "drumming." It's when the male grouse shows off his stuff by standing on a fallen log and flaps his wings vigorously which makes a distinctive sound that can be heard by humans and the female grouse as well. Hiking trails in the Rainy Lake area near International Falls have abundant places where the grouse can be heard. While their feathers blend into the woods around them, making them almost invisible, their drumming reveals their whereabouts. Hunters can note these locations for better success in the fall and nature lovers can enjoy the effort of catching site of a male doing his best to attract a mate. This is hiking with a purpose. Maps of hiking trails can be obtained at area lodges as well as the Voyageurs National Park.
Birds can make the winter season more entertaining; the snow is a pleasant backdrop to their flights of fancy. Providing food for birds will bring them to your yard, and it will aid in the birds' survival.
Chickadees and cardinals are permanent residents. Winter visitors of boreal regions are unpredictable.
Species that fly far from their normal ranges to find food:
Winter Bird Feeding: large seeds, small seeds, and suet.
Birds that enjoy sunflower seeds:
Peanuts are enjoyed by:
Seeds and mixes
Millet is enjoyed by:
Suet in winter offers an energy boost to birds when they need it most.
Use onion sacks, wire mesh feeders or placed on open platforms.
Peanut butter may be smeared on pine cones for a yummy treat!
Use a heating element to keep water from freezing. Bird baths with heating elements can be found at bird-feeding supply stores.
Keep feeders closer to the windows to prevent collisions. Reducing the gap makes it harder for birds to build up speed.
I can tell you all the habitat types in Voyageurs National Park. Koochiching county supports a wide variety of owls. You can spot a great horned owl, snowy owl, barred owl, and great gray owl. Along with other special types of owls. They are on the edges of clearings. They roost in a tall tree and scan for anything they can ambush and eat.
Additionally there are many hawks that also hunt in the area. There are sharp shinned, broad-winged, red-tailed, rough-legged and northern hawk.
There are some songbirds that spend the winter there too. black-capped chickadees are the most common. Ruffed grouse are about the most common larger upland bird spending the winter here.
The snowshoe and cross-country ski trails offer easy access to the forests. you can spot any of these birds here. The Tilson Creek trail system offers a lot of opportunity along with the Black Bay ski trail system.
I spot a lot of White-Tail Deer on the trail between the Rainy Lake Visitor Center and Minnesota 11 East. The Rangers at the visitor Center spotted a wolf there too, exciting! and it was rare white timber wolf at that. The Black Bay ski trail comes across a beaver pond where some people have spotted a moose. but moose are very reclusive. People exploring the Rainy Lake Ice Road have seen a white-tail deer and a wolf pack crossing the ice.