A bald eagle that has had thousands of people across the country glued to their computer screens for the past couple months may well be the natural world’s equivalent of a comeback kid, according to officials with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and The Raptor Center.
DNR nongame wildlife biologists recently were able to get a good look at a leg band on one of the adult eagles nesting beneath its eagle camera in the Twin Cities. The numbers on the band identified it as a bird that was found along the Minnesota River in Burnsville and brought to The Raptor Center in St. Paul in October 2010.
Unable to fly or even stand, the adult female had an abscess in her right foot and had a large number of intestinal parasites. Staff at The Raptor Center removed the abscess and treated the bird for its other ailments, then released it at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington about a month later.
In February, the female bald eagle laid three eggs, which have subsequently hatched, in a nest watched by a DNR video camera that streams live footage over the Internet. Since then, more than 272,000 people from all 50 states and 145 countries have been following the family’s daily feedings and other activities. DNR biologists believe the adult bald eagles are the same pair that in 2013 laid three eggs in early January, only to have them freeze.
“While this is just one of thousands of birds treated at The Raptor Center, it’s exciting that it’s gone on to become such an educational celebrity on DNR’s eagle cam,” said Dr. Julia Ponder, The Raptor Center’s executive director. “Because the bird was banded, we’re able to learn what became of it, and how the care she received here allowed her to go on and become a reproductive member of the species.”
Part of the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine, The Raptor Center rehabilitates more than 800 sick and injured birds each year, while helping to identify emerging environmental issues related to raptor health and populations. It also provides training on raptor medicine and conservation for veterinary students and veterinarians from around the world. This year is the Center’s 40th anniversary, and on Thursday, April 24, it will be breaking ground for updated facilities.
The eagle camera (www.webcams.dnr.state.mn.us/eagle) is a project of the DNR’s nongame wildlife program, which works to protect, maintain, enhance, and restore native nongame wildlife resources, helping more than 700 species of Minnesota wildlife thrive. Both the nongame wildlife program and The Raptor Center are supported largely by voluntary donations.
On shore as the lake is warming in the spring, a kid skips stones and occasionally casts a line in the water, while talking to an adult who keeps up casual conversation. Bluegills are the catch of the day.
Kids love to fish.
Introducing them to fishing can be rewarding. But taking kids fishing can present new challenges even for experienced anglers. To help a first-time angler grow into a life-long angler, here are some tips from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Manage expectations – including your own
Remember, the goal is to have fun, said Roland Sigurdson, MinnAqua education coordinator with the DNR. Realize that children can have short attention spans and may want to move on to something else after a short time. Try looking at bugs or animals or even finding stones to skip.
“You can’t expect children to have the same level of enthusiasm you do the first few trips,” Sigurdson said. “Don’t make fishing a chore for them.”
Above all, have patience. Lines get snagged, hooks need baiting and kids might get dirty or need help taking a fish off the line. Don’t forget to give congratulations, no matter how big the fish.
“Seeing your child enjoy reeling in their first fish is rewarding so don’t forget to take pictures,” Sigurdson said.
Cold, hot, hungry or bitten is no way to learn how to fish. Remember to bring snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent and first-aid basics to make the trip comfortable for everyone.
When considering a location, choose one that is comfortable and safe. Look for restrooms, playground equipment, free parking and a public fishing pier. To find a pier nearby, see www.mndnr.gov/fishing_piers.
Simplify gear, catch fish
Most kids are satisfied catching lots of smaller fish like bluegills rather than fewer, bigger fish like bass. Live bait increases the chances of catching fish.
“Kids love to catch fish of any size,” Sigurdson said. “They don’t usually begin casting for trophies. Catching a few fish on the first few outings will help keep a child looking forward to the next outing.”
Fishing reels, rods and other gear should be simple and in working order.
“Discouragement sets in fast when children try to use complicated equipment or equipment that doesn’t work,” Sigurdson said. “Consider giving the child their own fishing rod. This gesture is practical because short rods are easier for kids to handle.”
More information on taking kids fishing can be found on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/takeakidfishing.
Mother’s Day present? Take a Mom Fishing Weekend
Any mother who is a resident of Minnesota can fish without a license on Saturday, May 10, and Sunday, May 11 during Take a Mom Fishing Weekend, which coincides with the 2014 walleye and northern pike fishing opener, and Mother’s Dayon Sunday.
Moms who live in the seven-county metro area or are visiting can learn fishing tips, bait shop locations, where to borrow fishing equipment and more by visiting the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fishing in the Neighborhood program website at www.mndnr.gov/fishing/fin.
Opening day tips for Minnesota anglers
Minnesota’s interstates, highways, and county roads will fill with anxious anglers in anticipation of the May 10 fishing opener. The Department of Natural Resources has some tips to anglers for a safe and enjoyable experience.
“The fishing opener results in a substantial increase in the workload for conservation officers so we are asking for everyone’s help,” said Col. Ken Soring, DNR Enforcement director. “We can assist conservation officers by providing information on common rules and regulations to anglers before the opener.”
Fishing License: All residents and nonresidents age 16 years or older are required to have an appropriate fishing license while angling. Buy a Minnesota fishing license electronically at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense, at a DNR license agent location, or by calling 888-665-4236. Also, pick up a copy of the 2014 Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook along with the license as a ready reference guide to limits and transportation of a catch.
Watercraft Registration: Motorized watercraft operators must have their registration on board. The number issued to the boat and the current state validation decal must be displayed on the forward half of the hull on each side of the boat.
Aquatic Invasive Species: Eurasian watermilfoil, zebra mussels, and spiny water fleas have affected many Minnesota fresh water ecosystems, but there are ways to stop the spread and protect the resource.
- Remove any visible plants and animals from boat, trailer, and other boating equipment.
- Drain water from the boat, livewell, bilge, and impellor by removing drain plugs and open water draining devices before leaving any water access.
- Spray, rise, or dry boats and recreational equipment before transporting to another water body, especially after leaving zebra mussel and spiny waterflea infested waters.
Experimental and Special Regulations: These regulations help the DNR improve fishing quality, protect unique fisheries, provide more fishing opportunities, or protect threatened species. A partial list of water with experimental or special regulations, which are posted at access sites, is available in the 2014 Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook atwww.mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing.
Turn-in-Poachers: Over-limits, license and closed season violations impact the resource and diminish opportunities for everyone. Tips are received through the 24-hour phone line 800-652-9093.
- Practice backing a boat trailer prior to the opener. It can prevent a lot of confusion.
- Transfer gear upon arrival at the public access rather than waiting until it’s time to back the boat into the water.
- Make sure the outboard is in top running order before arriving at the lake.
- A secure lock goes a long way in preventing someone from stealing a trailer.
Regulation changes include Mille Lacs, spawn bags, bowfishing
Changes to special or experimental fishing regulations – including previously announced changes on Mille Lacs Lake – are among several that will be in effect when anglers head out for the 2014 Minnesota fishing opener, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Changes are summarized on page 19 of the 2014 Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet, which is available at any license agent or online at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing.
New regulations for 2014 are listed below. Anglers are reminded to check online at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing for the latest additions or corrections. Another change, involving small sacks of fish eggs called spawn bags, is not in the regulations booklet but is in effect for those trout fishing on Lake Superior and its tributaries.
Special regulations change on lakes
New or modified experimental or special regulations changes include those to:
- Mille Lacs Lake in Mille Lacs County, modified northern pike, smallmouth bass and night fishing regulations, Mille Lacs anglers can learn more about regulation changes at www.mndnr.gov/millelacslake.
- Leech Lake in Cass County, modified walleye regulations.
- Stony Lake in Cass County, dropped largemouth bass regulations.
- Lake Thirteen in Cass County, modified bass regulation.
- Mukooda Lake in St. Louis County, added lake trout regulation.
Spawn bags allowed
The use of spawn bags in Lake Superior and its tributaries for trout fishing is now legal. Restrictions include:
- Eggs from legally taken and possessed trout harvested from Lake Superior or its tributaries below the posted boundaries may be used to make spawn bags. Those spawn bags from Lake Superior trout may only be used on Lake Superior and its tributaries below the posted boundaries – and no other location in the state.
- Spawn bags can be bought and sold only if the bags are made from either: fish eggs from a licensed aquaculture facility; or fish eggs legally taken from a source outside Minnesota that has been certified disease-free and are preserved and labeled under a Minnesota bait preservation permit. These certified commercial spawn bags can be used throughout the state.
Early bowfishing season added
A new early bowfishing season has been in effect for bullhead, sucker, redhorse and rough fish (page 67). The early season is open only on waters south of Highway 210 and only from a boat and only while on a lake or on the Mississippi, Minnesota or St. Croix rivers.
- In 2014, the early season runs from Monday, Feb. 24, to Friday, April 25.
- In 2015, early the season runs from Monday, Feb. 23, to Friday, April 24.
The regular statewide bowfishing season runs from April 26, 2014 to Feb. 22, 2015.
Sucker spearing season lengthened
The spearing season on sucker fish was extended and is now from the last Saturday in April through the last Sunday in February (page 66). Those dates for this season are Saturday, April 26, 2014, to Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. Keep in mind that the season for spearing other rough fish species ends on the third Sunday in February, one week shorter than the season for suckers.
Spearing bans removed
The following lakes are open for dark house northern pike spearing during the open season (page 69):
- Beers Lake in Otter Tail County.
- Big Mantrap Lake in Hubbard County.
- Cross Lake and its Snake River Flowage in Pine County.
- Deer Lake in Itasca County.
- Eagle Lake in Hennepin County.
- Lobster Lake in Douglas County.
- Moose Lake in Itasca County.
- North Star/Little North Star Lake in Itasca County.
- Lake Owasso in Ramsey County.
- Spider Lake in Itasca County.
- Sugar Lake in Wright County.
- West Battle Lake in Otter Tail County.
DNR seeks comments on EAW for Radio Tower Bay wetland restoration
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comments on an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) prepared for the Radio Tower Bay wetland restoration project in Duluth, about 16 river miles upstream from Lake Superior.
Radio Tower Bay is a shallow-water wetland in the Lower St. Louis River area that is degraded with logging-era wood waste. The DNR intends to remove the lumber mill waste and restore native wetland communities.
The agency will take comments during a 30-day public review period from April 28 to May 28.
A copy of the EAW is available online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/index.html. Under “Environmental Review,” select “Radio Tower Bay EAW” from the scroll-down list. A hard copy may be requested by calling 651-259-5157.
The EAW is available for public review at:
- DNR Library, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.
- DNR northeast region, 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids.
- Minneapolis Central Library, Government Documents, 2nd Floor, 300 Nicollet Mall.
- Duluth Public Library, 520 W. Superior St., Duluth.
The EAW notice will be published in the April 28, 2014 EQB Monitor. Written comments must be submitted no later than4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 28, to the attention of Ronald Wieland, EAW project manager, Environmental Policy and Review Unit, Ecological and Water Resources Division, DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025.
Electronic or e-mail comments may be sent to email@example.com with “Radio Tower Bay EAW” in the subject line. If submitting comments electronically, include name and mailing address. Written comments may also be sent by fax to 651-296-1811.