Migrating Ring-necks Provide an Exciting Morning at the Smartweed Pond

  I heard the ducks seconds before I actually saw them. Arriving from behind, the descending flock’s set wings was neatly dividing the firmament into halves, resulting in that unique, jet engine roar that thrills waterfowl enthusiasts to their very core. Rocketing over and past the blind, the half dozen ring-necks – five drakes and a hen —...

Thank God for Sparrows

Thank God for Sparrows

Mar 20, 2018

We’ve all heard how one rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel. That’s kind of the way it is with sparrows. Imported from Great Britain during the 1800s, the house sparrow [also called English sparrow] took America by storm. Today, it has become one of our most familiar – and despised – bird species. Universally regarded as a destructive feathered pest,...

Rare Blackbirds Visit North Iowa

Rare Blackbirds Visit North Iowa

Mar 8, 2018

  Iowa is well known for its late season, often-spectacular March snowstorms. This year proved no exception when, on March 5th and 6th, anywhere from four to seven inches of heavy, wet snow descended on the state’s northern counties. Although the weather event didn’t exactly fit the description of an old-fashioned prairie blizzard, the snowfall was...

End of Season Rabbit Hawkin’

End of Season Rabbit Hawkin’

Mar 7, 2018

  Widespread and abundant, cottontail rabbits are an important component of Iowa’s natural food chain. I’m an active member of that chain. I love finding, chasing, and consuming rabbits. White, light and extremely nutritious, rabbit is one of my favorite entrees. There are lots of ways to pursue cottontails. I’ve hunted them with bow and arrow, .22...

The Russians Are Coming!

The Russians Are Coming!

Mar 4, 2018

    The swift and powerful group of raptors collectively known as goshawks reside in forested habitats across much of the planet. The northern goshawk is the subspecies nesting in northern North America. Large and aggressive, northern goshawks are fast enough to catch ruffed grouse and strong enough to easily subdue snowshoe hare.   Although...