Mowing grass flushes food for waiting birdsOn one of the extremely hot and humid days last week I had to spend some quality time in the back yard toiling over the lawn mower cutting grass that should have been cropped days before.
By: By Mike Reiter, New Richmond News
On one of the extremely hot and humid days last week I had to spend some quality time in the back yard toiling over the lawn mower cutting grass that should have been cropped days before. As I worked up a good sweat walking behind the mower, I noticed a pair of tree swallows sitting on the fence observing my efforts.
As I watched them watch me, I noticed that every so often, a moth would be flushed from the dense grass as I crisscrossed the yard. Immediately one of the birds would swoop in, grab the moth and return to its place on the fence. They even took turns snatching up these tasty morsels while expending little energy of their own. Over the course of the grass cutting, these remarkable birds scored on several dozen opportunities. I suddenly realized that those crafty birds were using me, much as I use my hunting dogs, to flush game. This experience only reinforces my belief that animals have much more intelligence than we give them credit for.
The increase in the numbers of deer, bear, geese and numerous other wild animal species making an appearance in urban settings have markedly increase the chance of negative interactions with people. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
The City of New Richmond is currently considering steps to counteract the increase in the city deer numbers. Other towns and cities, including Hudson, have banned the feeding of deer and have instituted means of physical removal. Hopefully, at this point, we won’t need to apply the physical removal part of the equation.
The increase of deer within the city limits is both a blessing and a curse. Who doesn’t love to see these beautiful animals up close and personal? Along with the esthetics of wildlife observation, however, comes the downside of property damage through the dietary preferences of deer for ornamental shrubs and garden vegetation. Worse yet, with increased numbers, the chance of wildlife/automobile interactions skyrockets.
There are two main corridors in New Richmond that allow animals a means of moving through the city proper. Both the Willow River and Paperjack Creek provide a through fare for wildlife movement. These are necessary to allow the animals’ natural movement through the city.
Enticing these animals to linger or stay through recreational feeding only increases the negative impact these animals can cause. For the deer, New Richmond can be a nice place to visit but not a place to stay too long.
We would like to know of any interesting wildlife observations, unique experiences, questions or upcoming outdoor events that may be of interest to local folks that could be shared in this column. This could become a regular part of the column and really expand our boundaries and make this an interactive experience. If you want to contribute or comment, please give me a call at 715-246-6643.
Recently, while driving back from Chicago on Interstate 94, I observed a jackrabbit that was hit on the highway near Black River Falls. This was the first jackrabbit that I have seen in more than 10 years in Wisconsin. Even under such morbid circumstances, it indicates that there are still a few of these interesting animals around.
In the not so distant past, St. Croix County had the highest jackrabbit population in the state. It was not uncommon to see numerous “Jacks” in the vicinity of the airport or on many of the local Waterfowl Production Areas or Department of Natural Resources lands.
Give me a call if you have seen any of interesting creatures. With area lands being managed back into prairie settings, perhaps the jackrabbits can make a comeback.
A few years back, there were numerous sightings of several albino deer east of New Richmond. A mature albino buck was also being observed with some frequency. Albino deer are protected in Wisconsin so the chance that these animals were harvested during the deer seasons is remote. None have been reported as being hit on the highway, so they still may be around. Give me a call if you know anything about them or have recently seen them and I can pass on the information.
Warden Paul’s Corner
Personal Flotation Devices (Life Jackets)
With summer ablaze recently, many people will take to the waters to cool off. Boaters and anglers need to respect the water body they recreate on as unexpected events can and do occur.
The operator of every boat must supply a wearable PFD for every person on board the boat and they must be readily accessible. That PFD must be of the proper size and type for each person on board the boat.
All PFD’s must be Coast Guard approved and in serviceable condition with no rips, tears or any damage. Damaged PFD’s are very unsafe and will not keep someone afloat in an emergency.
In addition, all boats 16 feet and longer, except canoes and kayaks, must have at least one type IV PFD, which is a throwable seat cushion or ring buoy. This type IV PFD must be within reach of someone on deck while the boat is underway.
New Boating Law
Boating laws in Wisconsin are designed to make lakes safer while protecting shorelines and improving water quality. A relatively new law prohibits boaters from operating their boats at speeds greater than slow-no-wake within 100 feet of lake shorelines. The law applies to all lakes, including the lake areas of flowages.
Moreover, boats operating in shallow waters often churn up sediment and chop up vegetation, decreasing water quality and potentially spreading invasive aquatic species like Eurasian water-milfoil. Slowing these boats will reduce this problem. In addition, eliminating near shore wakes will reduce shoreline erosion.
This change is in addition to current law which already prohibits boaters on lakes from operating at speeds greater than slow-no-wake within 100 feet of docks, rafts, piers and buoyed restricted areas.
Personal watercraft operators must also follow these laws in addition to speed restrictions that apply specifically to PWCs. PWC operators cannot operate at a speed greater than slow-no-wake within 200 feet of the shoreline of any lake. They also are required to cut back to slow-no-wake speed when passing within 100 feet of other boats, including other PWCs. This law applies to both rivers and lakes.
Slow-no-wake is defined as the minimum speed required to maintain steerage. Speed violations are the primary source of boating complaints in the summer. Speed is also a frequent cause of boat crashes, especially at night.
People operating boats at night need to slow down to avoid colliding with people, boats or structures on the water. Running lights are required from sunset to sunrise.
When on unfamiliar waters, boaters are responsible for knowing all the rules. This means checking at boat ramps for local ordinances that might further regulate boating on that body of water.
For any questions call Warden Paul Sickman at 715-684-2914, ext. 120. Have a safe and fun boating season.