Bald Eagles: Skilled Hunters, Opportunist Scavengers, Masters of the Sky

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The Bald Eagle is in a word, majestic. When it’s seen in flight against a clear blue sky in a pristine wilderness setting, the image is stunning. One need not travel to the wilds of Alaska or the rugged lakeshores of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to encounter bald eagles; more than a few winter right here in our midst.

Sightings of bald eagles in Oakland County are no longer rare events, and they are not restricted to the “wilder side” of our county. Close encounters may even occur in highly developed areas with significant human intrusion. During the winter months in northern climates, it’s all about available food. Where the food is, the eagles are. The favorite food of the bald eagle is fish, and that takes us to nearby Monroe County, home of one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the nation.

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Beavers, Muskrats, Lodges, Dams, Caches and Push-ups!

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The shortest day of the year draws near. First ice is already forming in the shallows of marshes and wetlands. Those signals of nature’s way indicate that the clock of winter preparedness is rapidly ticking away for two semi-aquatic mammals that live in our midst, and are often confused: the beaver (Castor canadensis) and the muskrat (Ondatra zibenthicus). Both species are dependent on aquatic environments. Both species build lodges in the water. Both species can stay underwater for about fifteen minutes. Both have the ability to created dens in river banks and lakeshores by using the claws on their front paws. However, the muskrat loses out totally when it comes to felling trees. The beaver, and the beaver alone, is the master logger. Continue reading

Lost Lake Nature Preserve: One Preserve, Two Counties, An Autumn Hike

 WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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“To those devoid of imagination, a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.” Aldo Leopold.

Leopold is widely acknowledged as the father of wildlife conservation in America. Those words from his timeless classic, A Sand County Almanac, were first published in 1949, one year after Leopold died while fighting a fast moving grass fire on his neighbor’s property.

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