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Wisconsin River Valley can be noisy in Spring
Random Thoughts - March 3
Canada geese in Wisconsin River bottoms in spring

MUSCODA - If you listen, you may find that Wisconsin River Valley public lands can be a bit noisy in the spring.

This for the birds

Birds are in the news now because Wisconsin and several other states have found instances of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) within their borders among large and small poultry producers. That resulted in the need to dispose of huge numbers of chickens. It is said that Bird Flu can be spread by wild birds, including waterfowl and large predators.

On the lighter side, to witness many wild bird species locally you can enjoy checking our river bottom sloughs where many species of ducks, geese, swans, etc., may be seen this time of year.

If you do drive along a river bank road, stop and take time to roll down the windows and shut off the engine and sit and listen to one of nature’s best concerts, available in the spring. Perhaps those sounds can help you forget about the evening news that feature graphic stories about the many terrible things now happening in the world.

There was a time when I enjoyed duck hunting each fall in the local sloughs. During those years I bagged only one duck that wore a leg band, placed there by Federal Fish and Wildlife Service workers to study bird movement, population trends and numbers. My bird was a blue wing teal.

As requested, I sent the band to the officials and received a reply that the band was put on the teal September 6 near International Falls, Minnesota. I killed it October 4 near Muscoda.

Also, I received interesting information noting most wild birds live less than two years. However, band returns during the years had found that an osprey lived 21 years after banding.

Also, a purple martin reached the age of 14 years and a blue jay 13 years. Several mallards and pintail ducks survived more than 20 years. One pintail, banded in Canada, was taken in England just 18 days later.

All of this may not mean much other than it indicates there may be a few senior citizen geese and ducks singing bass and tenor as members of nature’s spring chorus. If you are lucky, the musicians may also include sandhill crane sopranos with a group of marshland spring peepers singing background.

And it may also help you understand why the late John Kraus, retired Riverdale teacher, spent many Sunday spring mornings near the swamp, with car windows down, reading his Sunday Wisconsin State Journal while listening to the “music.”