Freezing Drizzle Threatens Wild Bird Survival

Posted by on Feb 8, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Freezing Drizzle Threatens Wild Bird Survival

Freezing Drizzle Threatens Wild Bird Survival

Tailless black-capped chickadee – Feb. 7, 2019 Here in northern Iowa, the first week of February has provided an incredibly diverse mix of weather – everything from 40-degree temps to double digit, below zero wind chills and new snow. On Feb. 6th, prolonged periods of freezing drizzle turned to snow during the overnight hours. As snow continued into the morning, the backyard bird feeders became predictably busy as goldfinches, pine siskins, house finches, and a host of other species appeared in droves. Nothing unusual. Feeding birds...

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Winter Weather Extremes Bring Bizarre Wildlife Sighting

Posted by on Feb 7, 2019 in Uncategorized, Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Winter Weather Extremes Bring Bizarre Wildlife Sighting

Winter Weather Extremes Bring Bizarre Wildlife Sighting

No one will argue that our Iowa winter has been one of weather extremes. Gone but not forgotten, the month of January provided our most dramatic example; offering everything from unseasonable warmth to polar blasts of life threatening cold and minus 60-degree wind chills. The month included a rich variety of rain showers, freezing drizzle, fog, heavy snowfall, and at least one white-out ground blizzard. Across Iowa’s northern half, some of the weather’s most extreme mood swings seemed to occur overnight. During the last week of...

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Surviving the Cold

Posted by on Jan 31, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Surviving the Cold

Surviving the Cold

Regardless of Species – Winter is a Hard Time for Iowa Wildlife You probably don’t need a reminder that Iowans have just endured one of the most vicious mid-winter cold snaps on record. The multiday event began with significant snowfalls which quickly gave way to plunging temperatures, followed by winds gusting to 50 plus mph. As the storm raged, weather casters repeatedly described the system as “life threatening”; and it was. Across the state’s northern half, the mercury dropped to minus 30; wind chills reached an incredible...

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Snowy Woodland

Posted by on Jan 31, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Snowy Woodland

Snowy Woodland

Following a brutal three day siege of polar air and gusty winds, the North Iowa weather had finally moderated to a comparatively balmy minus twenty degrees. Winds had diminished to the point where wind chill values had risen to minus 46, according to the weather channel. At the Nature Conservancy’s Clausen’s Cove [located along Clear Lake’s south shore] deer and turkeys were emerging to feed in adjacent open fields by late afternoon – the first time most of them had been out since the storm began. As the sun dipped to the...

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Deep Freeze Duck Hunt

Posted by on Jan 29, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Deep Freeze Duck Hunt

Deep Freeze Duck Hunt

Waterfowl hunting has been one of my lifelong passions. From balmy September teal hunts, to the final days of ice laden decoys and freezing marshes; each and every outing becomes a unique and cherished outdoor memory. And although I love all phases of the annual migration, Iowa’s late falconry season provides some of my most exciting hunts. Generally speaking, the colder the weather the better the hawking. Most folks probably don’t think of subzero temperatures as being great duck hunting weather, but it is. Ever shrinking areas of...

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Calling it Quits

Posted by on Jan 21, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Calling it Quits

Calling it Quits

  The Canada goose is about as tough as a water bird can get.  This year, the living has been easy – even in extreme northern Iowa.  With endless supplies of waste grain and plenty of open water, the winter weather has offered little challenge.  But times have changed.  Snow covered stubble fields, subzero temperatures, and shrinking air holes have caused many geese to rethink their winter plans.  Taking advantage of tonight’s full moon, hundreds of geese opted for a change of address.  As soon as the moon rose above the...

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Late Deer Season

Posted by on Jan 12, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Late Deer Season

Late Deer Season

  Iowa’s late muzzleloader deer season is one of my favorite hunts. In addition to black powder rifles, bow and arrow are also allowed during the season’s final segment; making the late season a great prospect for taking a bonus archery deer. By the time January arrives, the Iowa landscape is locked in the dead of winter. Frigid, often below zero, temperatures and substantial snow cover blanket the landscape. The harsh conditions quickly put wintering deer into more or less predictable patterns as herds key on food sources and move...

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Winter Oddities

Posted by on Dec 12, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Winter Oddities

Winter Oddities

When it Comes to Winter Bird Feeding Variety is the Spice of Life It’s little wonder that backyard bird feeding has become one of our most popular winter pastimes. Visiting birdlife provides a sense of energy, warmth, and cheer to an otherwise bleak and lifeless landscape. We’ve all heard it said that variety is the spice of life. When it comes to winter bird feeding, that time worn phrase certainly rings true. The more species of birds we attract, the more interesting our feeders become. Backyard activities become even more intriguing...

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Antler Obsession

Posted by on Nov 28, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Antler Obsession

Antler Obsession

  Deer hunters follow many paths to success. Some hunters carry bows. Others favor firearms. Some dress in camouflage and sit in trees. Other hunters stay on the move, stalking the woodlands in blaze orange apparel. Although methods vary, deer hunters have one thing in common. They all dream of bagging a monster buck – the deer of a lifetime. Giant bucks have a universally unnerving effect on the human psyche. I’ve never known anyone who didn’t get the shakes when a big bodied, tall-tined buck stepped into view. No one can say when...

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Tennessee Traveler

Posted by on Nov 21, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Tennessee Traveler

Tennessee Traveler

As a life long Iowan who hasn’t moved to Tennessee, Anderson’s recent comments were a poignant reminder of how easy it is to take for granted the abundant natural resources we all enjoy. We’re currently in the season of Thanksgiving. As Iowans, we should all take a moment to count our blessings.           As a Joice, Iowa native, Ben Anderson grew up roaming the woodlands, marshes, and grasslands surrounding Winnebago County’s Rice Lake. Leaving Iowa to live in Tennessee, he currently serves as a pastor for...

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