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Bird City Stillwater's Successful Community Bird Fest!

Bird City Stillwater (BCS), an affiliate of Sustainable Stillwater MN, celebrated an impressive turnout at their Bird Fest last Saturday at Brown's Creek Park. In collaboration with Browns Creek Watershed District, the event aimed to provide both educational insights and fun-filled activities. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about diverse topics including bird collision prevention, the impact of light pollution on birds, birds in the context of climate change, Bluebird recovery strategies, and the crucial relationship between birds and water sources.



The day wasn't just about information; there were interactive activities and giveaways designed especially for the kids. The most unforgettable moment? A special appearance by the Raptor Center from the University of MN, showcasing a majestic Bald Eagle, a nimble Kestrel, and a magnificent Great Horned Owl!


 

Birds, Bees, and Compost …

Written and Photos Below by Lee Miller


The Brown’s Creek Watershed District (BCWD) and Bird City Stillwater co-sponsored a community education event at Brown’s Creek Park. Other outreach organizations attended, including the U of MN Extension Service and Raptor Center. It was an opportunity to learn and plan.


The BCWD’s charter is to preserve and improve for future generations the quality of the district’s water and natural resources. Water quality improvement projects with developers and homeowners have yielded good results in many lakes. Water quality tests for a sample of lakes in the BCWD ran the water quality gamut from an A rating for Woodpile Lake in Hugo to an F+ rating for Brewer’s Pond in Stillwater. Long Lake was severely impaired in the past, but is now rated B+.



Our multiyear drought continues, and many trees around Long Lake are dead or dying. Stillwater has notified homeowners of oak wilt disease in the surrounding woods and suggested watering to reduce stress. White clover seeded in the lawn has remained green through the drought and fed the grass. The U of MN extension table suggested adding Creeping Thyme and Self-heal for even more pollinator support. I plan to experiment with these rough-and-tumble lawn plants.


The Raptor Center acts as a hospital for sick and injured raptors, releasing most back to the wild. A few live there permanently because they were raised by people rather than their parents and lack wild skills. Pi (Bald Eagle), Lois (Great Horned Owl), and Cricket (Kestrel) are permanent residents. Kids of all ages loved seeing and learning about these beautiful birds. Eagles made a comeback after DDT was banned. But now the Kestrel population is falling for unknown causes. It would be a shame to no longer see them hovering above rural roadsides in search of insects and rodents. Herons and Egrets are still hunting Long Lake before heading south.

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