Backyard Almanac

Phenology with local naturalist Larry Weber every Friday morning at 8:20 on Northland Morning. Have a question for Larry Weber? Email us and you might hear his answer on the show!

 

Ways to Connect

storebukkebruse/Flickr

Every year, on the last Backyard Almanac of December, Larry Weber makes a request that has nothing to do phenology or the natural world: he just wants to hear John McCutcheon's song, "Christmas in the Trenches."  So we decided to make some additional information about the song - and the story behind it - clickable for other fans.

If you're curious about Larry's perennial Christmas favorite, "Christmas in the Trenches" by John McCutcheon, here's a link to a YouTube video of the song.  It was a "project for Mr. Cutler's grade 6 class."

Jason Carpenter/Flickr

Larry Weber says the darkness of this week leading up to the December 21 winter solstice is should be embraced, and a walk (or a cross country ski) under the starlit sky just a little "dose of humility."

©Lisa Johnson

For The Birds host Laura Erickson stepped into the breach this week as the "emergency auxiliary backup Larry Weber" (after Larry was sidelined* with a bad cold),  armed with information about snowy owls and a Robert Frost poem off the top of her head.

*the expression "sidelined" comes from the world of sports, as Laura herself alluded to a text message after agreeing to sub for Larry this morning:

"But actually, I don't know how to do that -- just talk for a minute or longer.

Jason Crotty/Flickr

Larry Weber says he can go years between sightings of northern birds like Black-backed Woodpeckers and Red Crossbills.

But he's seen plenty of them this year, along with a number of wild turkeys who have discovered his feeders.

Animal Tracks in Snow
offthegridnews.com

Today Larry Weber talks about recent weather and "gray November" has proven to be true this month.

He also gives a list of Nothern birds he has seen around as well as animal tracks in the snow.   

     

Lisa Johnson

A year ago today, Duluth broke the record high temperature with 64 degrees.

Today, the National Weather Service reports a new low temperature for November 10 with -5.

If you don't decide to make tracks somewhere warmer, Larry Weber says you should get outside and LOOK AT tracks.

Carron Brown/Flickr

The leaves have turned, snowshoe hares are turning and clocks will be turned this weekend.

October's Bright Blue Weather

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
        By twos and twos together,
    And count like misers, hour by hour,
        October's bright blue weather.

O suns and skies and flowers of June,
        Count all your boasts together,
    Love loveth best of all the year
        October's bright blue weather.

         ~Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)

©Lisa Johnson

Spiders ballooning, raptors migrating, some lingering butterflies and the World Series moths fluttering ...

And all this before Larry Weber's favorite season of aut-win!

©Tara Smith, Wildwoods. Used with permission.

A couple of sick, skinny peregrine falcons have been brought into Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation recently ... one didn't live to be transported to The Raptor Center but the one pictured at left did.

©Sparky Stensaas. Used with permission.

"I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw." ~ Wm. Shakespeare, "Hamlet"

Whether or not Hamlet had spent any time at Hawk Ridge is a question for another time, but experienced birders know a northwesterly wind is best for seeing birds at what has become an internationally-recognized place to see migration.

©Sparky Stensaas. Used with permission.

Photo-naturalist Sparky Stensaas joins us as guest host of Backyard Almanac this morning, and brings us a story you probably won't hear over the breakfast table.

And there's a good reason for that.

It's Jaegerfest at Wisconsin Point this weekend!  Find out more about all the events here!

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