Published December 02, 2012, 12:00 AM

Field reports: Golden eagle anded in Duluth has flown into Iowa

The golden eagle captured and banded Nov. 12 at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory in Duluth has moved from Ladysmith, Wis., across the Driftless Area and is near Clayton County, Iowa, according to the Golden Eagle Project based in Wabasha, Minn.

By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune

The golden eagle captured and banded Nov. 12 at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory in Duluth has moved from Ladysmith, Wis., across the Driftless Area and is near Clayton County, Iowa, according to the Golden Eagle Project based in Wabasha, Minn.

The eagle, a male thought to be at least 5 years old, was trapped by Frank Nicoletti, director of banding at Hawk Ridge. Soon after, the bird was fitted with a GPS transmitter that allows officials with the Golden Eagle Project to follow the bird’s movements.

The eagle’s locations are noted each hour during daylight hours and stored in the small transmitter. Every three days, the locations are sent to a satellite, which e-mails the data to Mark Martell at Audubon Minnesota.

The eagle has been dubbed No. 53 or “Jack” for tracking purposes.

Golden eagles that migrate through northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin often spend their winters in southeastern Minnesota or western Wisconsin. The Golden Eagle Project was started in 2008 to track some of those eagles and to learn more about what kinds of habitat they use while wintering.

Snowmobile trails may not be ready to ride

Minnesota’s snowmobile trails officially opened Dec. 1, but several conditions must be met before trails are open and ready for travel, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

  • The ground must be frozen to allow for crossing of wet areas.

  • Adequate snow cover — about 12 inches — must be on the ground to allow for trail packing and grooming.

  • Landowner permits that allow trails on private land must be in place.

  • Trails must be cleared of deadfalls. Signs must be in place, and gates must be opened.

    “Although we have had a few cold days and many northern Minnesota lakes are forming ice, the ice is not yet thick enough on most lakes to support foot travel or snowmobiles,” noted Bob Moore, DNR Grand Rapids area supervisor. “Ice thickness can vary greatly from one lake to another, and from different areas of the same lake.”

    The DNR recommends a minimum of 5 inches of new clear ice for snowmobiles.

    Snowmobile clubs and trails crews are preparing trails, but it could be a few weeks before those trails are ready. Work in many wet or swampy areas cannot begin until those areas freeze.

    Minnesota has more than 22,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails; more than 21,000 miles of them are maintained by local snowmobile club volunteers.

    Trail users are encouraged to call in advance or research online to get local conditions for the area they plan to ride. State trail conditions are posted each Thursday on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov.

    Seven shooting accidents reported in Wisconsin

    Seven shooting-related incidents were reported during Wisconsin’s gun deer season, Nov. 17-25, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. One was fatal.

    The total of reported incidents for 2012 was below the 10-year average, which is nine.

    More than 25,000 students complete the state’s hunter safety program every year, thanks to the work of more than 3,800 volunteer hunter education instructors. Wisconsin marked its one-millionth graduate in 2012. Before the hunter education course started, hunter fatalities during the season commonly ran into double digits.

    Ten new conservation officers trained in Minn.

    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources welcomed 10 new conservation officers to its ranks during a ceremony Nov. 20 at Camp Ripley in Little Falls, Minn. The ceremony marked the conclusion of three months of intensive training.

    Training sessions at the conservation officer academy included confiscations and forfeitures; warrants and exceptions; emergency vehicle operation; self-defense; watercraft laws; recreational vehicle safety and regulations; game identification and enforcement; hazardous materials; crime scene management; evidence collection; and aquatic invasive species identification.

    The new officers will spend the next four months afield with experienced conservation officers to gain on-the-job training in natural resources management and law enforcement before receiving their initial field station assignment.

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