Pileated Woodpeckers on a Whim

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpeckers are North America’s largest species of woodpecker. These beautiful forest birds have a wingspan of up to 30 inches and measure from 16 to 19 inches in length, with a size and shape that’s most noticeable when they cling to the trunk of a tree.

Their eye-catching triangular red crest that sweeps off the back of their heads is a perfect identification clue, even for a novice birder. As for the name “pileated,” it refers to the species’ red crest, and is derived from the Latin word pileatus which means “capped.”

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Veteran Resources in Oakland County

Oakland County Veterans Memorial

Oakland County is dedicated to honoring the service of more than 70,000 veterans who call the county “home.” The mission of the Oakland County Veterans’ Services team is to obtain the maximum benefits available to veterans and their families, while making the process as simple as possible.

Finding, applying for, receiving, and maintaining veterans’ benefits can be confusing and frustrating. Oakland County’s highly trained and accredited Veteran Benefits Counselors provide professional services at no charge.

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Chicory: Queen of the Roadside!

blue chicory blossoms

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The sultry days of summer are here. Goldfinches flutter over meadows. Dragonflies patrol the sky. Bullfrogs sound off from ponds. Tomatoes ripen on vines.Crickets sing to the night. Rabbits are everywhere. Thunder rumbles. But it’s chicory (Cichorium intybus) that really proclaims that the heat of summer is on.

Chicory is one of our most abundant midsummer flowers but sadly, it also carries the demeaning title of being classified as a weed. I guess that’s technically correct since it’s a non-native plant that grows profusely along many rural roadsides and other areas that have disturbed, well-drained soils that are bathed in full sunshine. However, their beautiful periwinkle blue flowers on spindly stalks make them an unmistakable sign of summer. It’s abundance in mid-August also reminds me summer is at its peak and the season will soon fade away.

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Flying Dragons of Summer!

An upclose Yellow-legged Meadowhawk

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Dragonflies have ruled the skies of planet Earth since before the time of the great dinosaurs. They survived cataclysmic extinction events that eliminated other species and set back human evolution In the blink of an eye, dragonflies can change their flight direction, speed, and elevation with aerodynamic skills that even the most advanced, high-tech drone cannot master. Dragonflies can detect, track, pursue, intercept, catch, and consume flying prey that are plucked from the air. Perhaps this makes them one of nature’s finest tuned killing machines, true masters of aerial predation. Some of these perching “flying dragons” appear to smile, just as this Yellow-legged Meadowhawk seemed to do. 

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2020 Fire & Ice Festival in Oakland County

The Fire & Ice Festival in Downtown Rochester is back January 17th–19th for another year of family fun and winter festivities that you can enjoy for FREE. The three-day community celebration will be packed with events like tube sledding, ice skating, dog sled rides, cross-country skiing, ice sculptures along Main Street, fireworks on Friday and Saturday night, The Big, Bright Light Show, live music, TasteFest, and so much more!

The Fire & Ice Festival will be the inaugural event to commemorate Oakland County’s bicentennial year.

“We can’t think of a better way to kick off celebrating Oakland County’s 200th year than with the Fire & Ice Festival in Downtown Rochester,” said County Executive David Coulter. “We welcome everyone to attend our free winter festival to take part in the winter fun.”

The Fire & Ice Festival runs from 5 – 9 p.m. Friday, January 17; 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday, January 18; and 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday, January 19. The fireworks are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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