Winter Webinar Series 2022-23
Minnesota Wild Bee Survey: A Summary of the Statewide Bee Survey and What we have Learned
Presenter: Nicole Gerjets, Bee Survey Specialist, Minnesota Biological Survey
Bees are incredibly diverse and provide important ecological services such as pollination. However, baseline information such as faunistic surveys and habitat associations are lacking for most bee species in Minnesota. The goal of this project was to document the bee diversity in the state to inform conservation decisions. The bee diversity in Minnesota was largely undescribed prior to investments in this project. We initiated a statewide wild bee survey in 2015 that has increased the statewide list to just over 490 bee species. Field surveys using passive trapping and hand netting off flowers have covered all counties in Minnesota. Results of the project will be presented, along with a vision for future bee surveys and monitoring.
Watch the recording of this Webinar here: Minnesota Wild Bee Survey: A Summary of the Statewide Bee Survey and what we have learned
Peat and Re-Peat: Re-wetting Drained Peatlands as a Natural Climate Solution in Minnesota
Presenter: Kristen Blann, Freshwater Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy
Peatlands are abundant in Minnesota, covering 6 million acres or more, representing more than 10% of the state by area and an estimated 37% of stored terrestrial carbon. However, drainage of peat soils has caused and continues to drive significant carbon losses to the atmosphere due to oxidation and decomposition. Globally, peatland restoration and avoided peat impacts were identified by Griscom et al. 2017 as two of the potentially most important Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) pathways for holding warming to <2 °C; however, they also had some of the highest uncertainty bars, in part due to uncertainties about the balance of CO2 vs CH4 fluxes.
The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota is quantifying NCS potential for MN peatland conservation and restoration by mapping drained, partially drained and intact peatlands and extrapolating initial estimates of GHG (CO2 and CH4) stocks and fluxes from literature and monitoring at peatland sites in MN. We are also working with USFS, UMN, and other peatland science experts to measure and model net GHG fluxes across a gradient of partially drained, restored, and undegraded peatland sites–primarily at the Sax Zim Bog– to evaluate the short- and long-term effectiveness of restoration as a climate mitigation strategy.
Watch the recording of this Webinar here: Peat and Re-Peat: Re-wetting Drained Peatlands as a Natural Climate Solution in Minnesota
Nestling Diet and Factors Influencing Nestling Condition and Post-Fledging Survival and Dispersal in Boreal Chickadees
Presented by Kara Snow, Graduate Student, University of Minnesota-Duluth
This talk features some really exciting work on Boreal Chickadees in northern Minnesota! Kara’s research utilizes DNA metabarcoding technology to reveal the diet of nestling boreal chickadees, but also features a component of radio telemetry to track the movements of boreal chickadees after they leave the nest. This project has been active for the last 4 years, with research starting in the Sax-Zim Bog! Presently, the project’s focus area has been in the Red Lake Wildlife Management Area in Beltrami Island State Forest. This should be a great talk if you are curious to learn more about the biology of these charismatic northern birds!
Watch the recording of this Webinar here: Nestling Diet and Factors Influencing Nestling Condition and Post-Fledging Survival and Dispersal in Boreal Chickadees
Road to Recovery: Continental Conservation of the Evening Grosbeak
Presented by David Yeany II, Avian Ecologist, Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program
With a 92% population decline since 1970, evening grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus) was cited as the steepest declining landbird in the continental United States and Canada by Partners in Flight (2016 Landbird Conservation Plan). Causes for the decline are not fully understood, but may be a combination of several factors including: spruce budworm (Choristoneura spp.) population cycles, mature forest loss, collision and disease mortalities, and possibly climate change impacts on habitat.
Since 2017, the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (PNHP-WPC) and the Powdermill Avian Research Center at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (PARC-CMNH) have collaborated on tracking studies of evening grosbeak winter populations in western Pennsylvania. We use cutting edge tracking devices to follow individual evening grosbeaks within the region and through their migratory and irruptive movements. Using newly available satellite tracking tags we have tracked grosbeaks from Minnesota’s Sax-Zim Bog and northern Maine in near real-time and formed an international Evening Grosbeak Working Group. Come learn more about this exciting project that began in a western Pennsylvania backyard and is now working toward conservation for the continental population of the evening grosbeak – including more efforts at Sax-Zim Bog this winter!
Watch the recording of this Webinar here: Road to Recovery: Continental Conservation of the Evening Grosbeak
Winter Webinar Series 2021-2022
Northern Hawk Owl Winter Ecology: What do we really know?
Presenter by Hannah Toutonghi, Graduate Student, University of Minnesota-Duluth
The Northern Hawk Owl Project, led by Hannah Toutonghi, just finished the first full field
season of tracking hawk owls in Northern Minnesota. We will discuss the species, what we
previously have known about hawk owls, and the novel preliminary results of using telemetry
to track individual hawk owls throughout the winter season! Please come with your curiosity
and questions about this nomadic denizen of the Northwoods!
Watch the recording of this Webinar here: Northern Hawk Owl Winter Ecology: What do we really know?
Misc. Webinars of Note
Introduction to the Sax-Zim Bog
Presenter: Clinton Dexter-Nienhaus
The Sax-Zim Bog is a well-known bird watching location in the winter. Boreal species like Great Gray Owl, Black-backed Woodpecker, and Boreal Chickadee are residents and easiest to find during the winter. Pine Grosbeak, Common and Hoary Redpolls, Northern Shrike, and Northern Hawk Owl attract visitors as they winter in the “Arctic Riviera.” Outside of birds, how much do most folks know about this place? Do you know the origins of the name Sax-Zim Bog? Where are the best places to find orchids?
If you wanted to learn more about the Sax-Zim Bog and the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog, this webinar is for you! This talk will cover the basics of what makes that Sax-Zim Bog so special, answer some basic questions visitors may have, and introduce you to the Winter Webinar Series.
Watch the recording of this Webinar here: Introduction to the Sax-Zim Bog
Invasion of the Vole Snatchers (& Winter Finch Irruptions)
Presenter: Sparky Stensaas
You might say, “fat-bodied voles make the hawkin’ world go round.” Or maybe not. Anyway, in this webinar we’ll learn about the Invasion each winter of “vole snatchers”: Owls, shrikes, hawks, ermine, marten, fox, coyote and more survive and thrive on a diet of voles. A video of many of these guys in action will be included. We’ll also see why we have a “different cast of characters” visiting the Bog each winter. And this was a fantastic year for certain winter finches.
Watch the recording of this Webinar here: Invasion of the Vole Snatchers (& Winter Finch Irruptions) Sax-Zim Bog
Enjoying Sax-Zim Bog in all seasons: Spring and Summer Strategies!
Presenter: Clinton Dexter-Nienhaus
March sees the departure of many of our winter species, like Pine Grosbeak, Rough-legged Hawk, and redpolls. This leaves a full month or more waiting for green grass and blooming flowers. Why not take advantage of this period of inaction by planning a visit for the Spring or Summer!
This program will round out our Winter Webinar series by thinking ahead to May and beyond, helping you choose the best time to visit the Sax-Zim Bog if you are interested in bugs, birds, or plants. We hope to answer questions like: When can I visit with the least amount of mosquitoes or flies? Can I still find birds in June? What is the best time visit to find butterflies? All of this and more will be answered through this webinar.
Watch the video of this Webinar here: Enjoying Sax-Zim Bog in all seasons: Spring and Summer Strategies!
American Kestrel Research in the Bog
Over the last few seasons, you have seen updates following the end of our American Kestrel Nest Box program’s monitoring season through the Bog Blog. This program will serve as a review of our American Kestrel Research program’s progress so far up to the 2021 season. This program will cover greater depth than the similar program Head Naturalist Clinton gave for the 2020 Minnesota Ornithologists Union Paper Sessions.
Watch the video of this Webinar here: American Kestrel Research in the Bog
*** UPDATES COMING SOON!! ***
Webinars, Clinton’s Critters Videos, and Bog Venture Videos will be moving to a new location over the next few weeks. We are working on consolidating and re-recording some of our older webinars so folks can view them whenever and wherever!
Our videos will be moving to our new YouTube Channel: Friends of Sax-Zim Bog! A link to this channel can be found here. As videos make the move from the website to the YouTube site, you will no longer find them in the categories below.