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.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Caring for Baby Birds

All around Clayton County, new birds are trying out their wings for the first time: Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Blue Birds, Robins, Phobes, Chickadees, on and on the list goes.  If you find a baby bird on the ground here are a few things you can do to help. More than likely the birds parent(s) are near the area and are watching the bird so make sure pets and other yard animals are out of the way. From a short distance observe the bird and see if the parents fly down to feed him/her or try to take care of the bird. If no parental action is observed you can pick up the bird and place it back in the nest. Birds DO NOT have a highly developed sense of smell, so your scents should not deter the parent(s) from coming back to the nest.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Algific Slopes

Feeling the heat of summer yet-your local Algific Slopes are loving it!  Algific(cold air)Slopes are a unique micro-climate found in the Driftless area in Northeast Iowa. These sensitive ecosystems are only found in a few places of the world, Iowa being one of them.  Algific slopes formed when warm summer air is drawn into sinkholes and is cooled as it flows over iced blocks of limestone.  The cool air then escapes through the vents on the sides of the Algific Talus slope.  The Fish & Wildlife Service diagram below shows the process in-depth.

 Algific Slopes contain a large number of diverse species not typically found in Iowa. Some of these species include:  Canada Yew, Balsam Fir Tree, Golden Saxifrage. Also the Federally Endangered Iowa Pleistocene Snail and Federally Threatened Northern Monkshood plant-both of these species can only survive on Algific Slopes.  The other day the naturalists at Osborne had the opportunitity to view the Northern Monkshood for the first time. The picture truly can do no justice to the beauty and sensitive requirements of this fragile plant we are blessed to have in our county.

For more information on Algific Slopes in Northeast Iowa you contact Osborne Nature Center or  the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service who manages the Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge.