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Which Woodpecker was Wandering the Woods?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
March 6, 2018

If you go on a walk through the woods in the spring, you might hear a distinct drumming sound. Looking around, you can see a woodpecker. But alas, which one???? Here at Wolf Ridge, the most common woodpeckers are the downy, hairy and pileated. The downy woodpecker is the smallest of the three at 6-7” […]

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Roller Coaster Temps and a Blizzard


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
February 20, 2018

It’s been a chaotic week in the North Woods. It reminded us of riding the Wild Thing at Valley Fair. We monitored the weather for a week, from 2-13-18 to 2-19-18. The start of the week was fairly cold with a low of -13 and a high of 11. By Wednesday, Finland experienced a high […]

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Hardy Redpolls


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
February 14, 2018

What animal can withstand -65 degree F temperatures, has a pouch in their esophagus to store food and digs tunnels in the snow? The answer is the common redpoll, a small passerine bird about half the size of your fist. These little, hardy birds spend their winters in the arctic tundra and boreal forest. While […]

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Let it Snow!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
January 26, 2018

This week in the world of phenology we explored everyone’s favorite winter precipitation, snow! In our exploration we visited several locations along the North Shore. We delved deep, observing multiple strata from the fluffy upper layer to the subnivean zone. At each site, we counted the number of layers, measured the temperature of each layer, […]

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Hoo’s watching our bird feeders?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
January 26, 2018

This week the Forest Ecology building had an exciting visitor- a barred owl! Perched in an aspen facing the Northeast side of the building, the bird remained perfectly still observing chickadees flying to and from our bird feeders. Barred owls can be identified by their rounded head (no ‘ears’), black eyes, yellow beak, and by […]

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How did this rock “sink”?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
December 11, 2017

Early in the week we were able to see a phenomenon normally isolated to spring. When soil freezes, the water inside it expands, pushing up and out in all directions. When the ice hits a large rock, it pushes it upward thus deforming the soil around it. This phenomenon is known as frost wedging. But […]

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Tracking Snowshoe Hare in Winter


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
November 16, 2017

Snowshoe Hare, Lepus americanus, is the most common “rabbit” of Minnesota’s North Woods. Living in the dense thickets of northern coniferous forests, the snowshoe hare feasts on a bounty of needles and buds during the winter months. In the summer, the snowshoe hare is overall a dark brown color with black-tipped hair and a white […]

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Leave it to Beaver


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
November 16, 2017

As the saying goes, beavers were and are busy as usual this year preparing for and living through winter. They spent the spring and summer working on their dams and lodges, making sure they remained in tip top shape. As the weather cools down, beavers need to look ahead to the even colder winter months […]

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Thin Ice! 


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
November 7, 2017

It’s that time of year again where the temperature starts to dip below freezing, especially at night. Because of this many of the puddles, streams, and ponds have begun to form ice. The ice may come quickly but generally is still thin as the days stay above freezing. Remember, ice is not safe to walk […]

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Meet Our New Animals!


Posted By Hannah Edstrom
November 3, 2017

We have a few new animal friends here at Wolf Ridge, let’s learn a little bit about them!   Our first new resident is a Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) named Betelgeuse, who is very social and outgoing. His hibernation was disrupted and didn’t have much fur on his back when found. So he was […]

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Changing Chickadees


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 30, 2017

Keep an eye out for changes in chickadee behavior in the coming weeks. To prepare for winter, chickadees form flocks in the late fall. The flocks are formed around a dominant mating pair and contain other adults and juveniles. These flocks of 6-10 individuals provide protection and food security for the birds.   Try at […]

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It’s Winter!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 30, 2017

Wolf Ridge experienced its first snow of the year this week! An unexpected 10 inches! The heavy wet snow stuck to the trees, bending tamaracks and small shrubs over the paths onto the ground, making for creative path walking experiences. The view off the observation deck has totally changed, with only a few big-toothed aspens […]

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Fall Phenology: Setting the Stage


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 8, 2017

  The change of colors in autumn never fails to bring a sense of wonder. People will travel hundreds of miles to witness brilliant oranges, bright yellows, and deep reds. Leaf peepers, a term that I heard just recently, are those that travel to view and photograph fall foliage. So, what is going on “back […]

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Which Hawk is Soaring By?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
September 15, 2017

Sharp-shinned hawks and broad winged hawks have started their migration over Wolf Ridge! Several were documented near the observation deck behind the science center. A notable difference between the two is the flight behavior. A sharp-shinned hawk will flap much more than the broad winged hawk, who glides smoothly through the air.   These hawks […]

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Fun Ephemeral Finds


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
May 22, 2017

May is the optimal time to engage in a wildflower hike. Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensi), a flower with 8-10 white petals, can be found in the lower valleys of Wolf Ridge. The name bloodroot comes from red juice that emerges from a broken stem. This juice is poisonous, but can be used as a natural dye. […]

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Belted Kingfisher Nesting


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
May 8, 2017

One of the many birds migrating back to Wolf Ridge this spring is the Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon). These birds that let out a loud, rattling call are primarily fish eaters, which means that their homes can be found near a body of water. A male Belted Kingfisher will obtain a territory that may include […]

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Love is in the Air


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
April 7, 2017

This time of the year in northern Minnesota we are witnessing some interesting behavior from the birds. Though seemingly unusual, these visuals and sounds are all typical of mating behaviors. All birds have their own unique songs and actions, but some highlights around this area include that from Common Ravens, Bald Eagles, Pileated Woodpeckers, and […]

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Tap, Tap, Tap!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
April 7, 2017

It’s that time of year when the maple sap is running! Wolf Ridge happens to be right in the middle of a sugar bush, a section of forest dominated by sugar maple trees. We waited to begin tapping until the right time – when the temperature is below freezing at night and above freezing during […]

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Chemis-tree


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
March 22, 2017

Earlier this week, Maria and I were enjoying a steaming hot cup of cedar tea. Cedar tea is not only tasty, but nutritious!  The northern white cedar (thuja occidentalis) was called ‘arbor vitae’, or ‘tree of life’ in Latin by early European explorers because its high vitamin C content prevented diseases like scurvy. As we […]

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Winter Waterspouts Over Lake Superior


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
December 21, 2016

On December 13th, 2016, as we traveled down the hill towards Highway 61 with Wolf Ridge resident citizen scientist, Peter Harris, we noticed strange cloud formations over Lake Superior. There was a great mass of “sea smoke” rising off of the waters of the lake and, from that, columns of the “smoke” rising to meet the clouds […]

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