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Minnesota Outside

We're all feeling more cabin fever than usual this time of year. Sheltering in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19 has put limitations on our movements, but we can still go outside. In Minnesota that means lots of city, county, regional and state parks. And right now, the spring bird migration is well underway so get out there with your cameras.

You don't have to go very far to find some cattails and some ardent male red-winged

blackbirds returning to get their nests ready to attract eager females winging their way into the state soon. You can also catch the first wave of yellow-rumped, orange-crowned, palm, Tennessee and Nashville warblers. The end of April will bring one of my new favorites the tiny ruby-crowned kinglet.

Most of us don't have to go beyond our own backyards to find photo opportunities. Birds are building nests and fueling up at bird feeders. Last year I had a pair of rosy breasted grosbeaks stop at my feeder for a brief snack. That's the first time I've seen this species in my backyard. A pair of northern cardinals spent this winter enjoying the banquet at my feeders. They're skittish, and one of these days I'm going to get a photo of one of them without a branch obstructing the photo. Of course, when I'm outside without my camera, they sit out in the open mocking me.

If you enjoy birds, the Bird Watcher's Digest is a website full of information on everything bird. The Minnesota Ornithologists' Union is also a great place to find out about bird sightings in Minnesota. Or try Minnesota Birding Photography on Facebook for up-to-date photos of birds and information on where and when the photo was taken. Last year I was very jealous over the photos of a flock of Baltimore orioles stopping at a backyard bird feeder. It's a worthwhile Facebook page to visit if you want to know which bird species are showing up in our state.

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