Iowa’s Spring Turkey Hunt is Just Around the Corner

Posted by on Mar 28, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Iowa’s Spring Turkey Hunt is Just Around the Corner

Iowa’s Spring Turkey Hunt is Just Around the Corner

PRESEASON SCOUTING CAN BRING EARLY SEASON SUCCESS The first segment of Iowa’s four-part, spring turkey season begins April 8. With snow drifts melted and mature gobblers currently making the timbers ring, hunters are already pacing the floor in anticipation of the upcoming season. But what a lot of hunters don’t realize is that there’s no reason to wait until opening day to visit your favorite woodland, practice your calling, and maybe even lure in an excited gobbler or two. There is a reason why so many turkey enthusiasts are...

read more

Cooper’s hawks — Love ’em or hate ’em, you have to admire their speed and agility

Posted by on Mar 19, 2019 in Uncategorized, Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Cooper’s hawks — Love ’em or hate ’em, you have to admire their speed and agility

Cooper’s hawks — Love ’em or hate ’em, you have to admire their speed and agility

It would be hard to think of a bird exhibiting more cunning, speed, and raw savagery than the crow-sized Cooper’s hawk. Equally at home in wilderness forest and suburban hedgerow, the highly maneuverable Cooper’s is perhaps best known for its surprise attacks on backyard bird feeders — raids that usually result in an unfortunate dove, cardinal, or blue jay becoming a fast food menu item. It’s an ongoing drama that flares tempers and raises the blood pressure of bird feeding Grandmas everywhere. I have a love-hate...

read more

Visiting Siskins

Posted by on Mar 5, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Visiting Siskins

Visiting Siskins

Considering the dramatic mix of weather we’ve endured during the past several weeks, I’m guessin’ that it would be hard for most of us to think of Northern Iowa as a Sunny South, winter destination. You know, the kind of place you’d go to escape unreasonably deep snow cover, extreme cold, polar wind chills and other winter unpleasantries. But for an energetic little finch known as the pine siskin, that’s exactly what Iowa is – a virtual Banana Belt of luxurious winter warmth and comparatively easy livin’. Siskins are...

read more

Iowa Cottontails Present Late Winter Challenge

Posted by on Feb 21, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Iowa Cottontails Present Late Winter Challenge

Iowa Cottontails Present Late Winter Challenge

Rabbit hunting is one of my favorite winter pastimes. I especially love getting out in new snow. Fresh, crisp, and clean; the winter woodlands are never more beautiful. The rabbits sit tight, and every track is fresh. I’m not alone in my enthusiasm. An important link in the natural food chain, rabbits have been a time-honored menu item for foxes, owls and, of course, humans. When I first started tromping the winter thickets, it seemed that everyone hunted rabbits. By everyone, I mean everyone. Kids, dads, Grandpas; didn’t...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more