On behalf of the Clayton County Conservation Board and animals at the Osborne Nature Center, we welcome you to our new innovative blog. On this site you can find information regarding the facilities of Osborne and a Google Calendar showing the public events being held here. Videos and slideshows are also located on the bottom of the page. Subscribe to our blog or check back often to view new happenings at Osborne and within Clayton County Conservation. We hope you find this blog to be enjoyable and informative-Remember to play outside.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Bluebird Box Workshop

On Friday March 5th from 6-8pm, come discover the pleasure of building your own bluebird box. Participants will learn the importance of these boxes and explore ways to care for bluebirds once they arrive at your nest box. Upon completion, participants will be able to take their box home. Registration is required-call the Osborne Center at 563-245-1516 for more details.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What Cheer..cheer cheer cheer/spring must be near.

A state bird of seven different states, telling us spring must be near, the bright red male Northern Cardinal sings: What Cheer..cheer cheer cheer. On sunny late winter mornings, the male cardinal perches atop a tree and sings to attract a mate. Interestingly, the female cardinal  is one of only a few song birds which sing as well. During nesting, she may sing a duet with the male as a sign of telling him when to bring food to the family.  In their search for finding a suitable nesting site, the male and female travel together as a pair. Upon finding a quality habitat, the female does the majority of nest construction. The female will lay 3-4 pale green, blue, or gray eggs; incubation time ranges from 10-13 days.  During nesting season, male cardinals are extremely aggressive in defending their breeding territories and have been known to attack their reflection in glass windows or shiny surfaces.  Research has shown that males with a brighter red appearance have higher feeding and reproductive rates.  As winter winds down, take time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Northern Cardinal and know warmer days are ahead.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bald Eagle Comeback

On a typical day visitors can spot Bald Eagles roaming the skies above Osborne Nature Center. Currently, they are preparing their nests for courtship. Rewind back to the year 1977, when there was only ONE active Bald Eagle Nest in the entire state of Iowa.  The use of the pesticide DDT had caused Eagle's egg shells to become so thin that the egg shells would break once the parents sat on them; thus reducing breeding populations. 

Thankfully, the banning of DDT in 1972 significantly helped restore Bald Eagle populations nationwide.  Today, there are over 254 active nests in the State of Iowa, with at least 16 of those nests being in Clayton County alone.  The Iowa DNR is looking for volunteers who would like to monitor or "adopt" a nest this year. If you are interested please contact IDNR Wildlife Diversity Specialist Stephanie Shepherd at Stephanie.Shepherd@dnr.iowa.gov   In the meantime, be sure to keep an eye in the sky (or trees) for one of the best comeback stories of the past 30 years.

The link below will take you to a Live Bald Eagle Nest webcam in Decorah, Iowa. The nest is being monitored by Luther College. http://www.luther.edu/eaglecam/stream/