Great River Birding Festival to feature Lake Pepin area
Audubon's Upper Mississippi River Campaign and the Mississippi
Valley Partners are proud to bring you the 1st Annual "Great
River Birding Festival" being held May 11 and 12, 2002.
Come explore the Lake Pepin area of the Upper Mississippi River
as we celebrate the beginning of spring, International Migratory
Bird Day, and the return of our feathered friends.
The festival will consist of over two dozen birding events and
special presentations by top-notch birders and naturalists from
the UMR region. Visitors will have opportunities to see live
birds of prey up close, as well as the basics of bird banding,
bird identification, and good birding ethics. In addition there
will be butterfly, wildflower and nature walks. Several area
artists will demonstrate their skills during the day and musicians
will entertain during the evening.
Held concurrently in 13 communities along the Lake Pepin shoreline,
the festival is the result of a partnership between Audubon,
the Mississippi Valley Partner communities in both Minnesota
and Wisconsin, and the MN and WI Departments of Natural Resources,
and Offices of Tourism. Participating communities include: Alma,
Bay City, Camp LaCupolis, Frontenac, Kellogg, Lake City, Maiden
Rock, Nelson, Pepin, Reads Landing, Red Wing, Stockholm, and
The cost of the festival is $2.00 - which will also entitle
festival participants to "Birder's Specials" being
offered to those wearing Festival Buttons by restaurants and
stores from the participating communities. Additional fees are
required for select events, including a two-hour Audubon guided
backwater birding tour on the river and a 5-6 hour birding tour
through the 1,200 acre Tiffany Bottoms in WI aboard an open car
railroad! (For these events, pre-registration is required.
To pre-register, go to website: www.lakecitymn.org.)
Saturday night in Frontenac will also include an evening reception
and keynote address by Al Batt, President of the Minnesota Ornithologist's
Union. There will also be live music entertainment in other
participating communities that evening.
Audubon's Upper Mississippi River Campaign seeks to educate the
public about the ecological significance of the Upper Mississippi
River, and the importance of a healthy Mississippi River ecosystem
for people, birds, fish, and wildlife. Mississippi Valley Partners
is a nonprofit coalition of thirteen communities devoted to promoting
the Lake Pepin area on both sides of the Mississippi River.
For additional information regarding the Great River Birding
Festival, please visit www.lakecitymn.org, or call Mary
DeRoos at the Lake City Tourism Bureau at 877-525-3248.
Weaver Dunes part of Great River Birding Festival
The Great River Birding Festival taking place on the shores
of Lake Pepin May 11-12. The festival is actually being held
concurrently in 13 riverfront communities on both sides of the
Mississippi, and includes nature discovery walks in the Weaver
Dunes in Winona County.
Saturday, May 11
Weaver Dunes Wildflower Walk -- Spend a beautiful spring morning
enjoying the sights and sounds of the Weaver Dunes Prairie in
Winona County. This unique dune habitat is home to a diversity
of prairie plants. During early spring you can expect to see
blooming prairie smoke, creamy wild indigo, prairie buttercups,
spiderwort, as well as many bird species, like Lark and Grasshopper
Sparrows. You may also get a chance to see (or hear) Sandhill
Cranes, Upland Sandpipers and Dickcissels. Program will be lead
by Jaime Edwards, MN DNR Nongame Wildlife Specialist
Meet at The Nature Conservancy Field Station parking lot of the
Kellogg-Weaver Dunes SNA (off Cty. Rd. 84)
Sunday, May 12
Birds of the Weaver Dunes Sand Prairie -- Come explore this special
and unique ecosystem situated along the Mississippi River. An
official Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) in Minnesota, this
site contains a rolling sand dune topography on a terrace where
the Mississippi, Chippewa, and Zumbro Rivers once came together.
Some dunes are as high as 30 feet. Plant species to be found
include Pine Oak, Burr Oak, and Jack Pine. Keep a lookout for
Eastern Meadowlarks, Orchard Orioles and Grasshopper Sparrows
Same meeting spot as the Wildflower Walk
Sunday, May 12
Weaver Dunes Butterfly Walk -- Join Flicker Ridge Naturalist,
Scott Mehus, as he leads a field trip on wildlife's new "it"
species: butterflies. The Weaver Dunes are the perfect place
to search for prairie butterflies like the endangered Regal Fritillary
and the Karner Blue Butterfly. Expect to see 20 or more other
species, and lean some helpful tips on buying binoculars and
books for butterfly watching.
Same meeting spot as the Wildflower Walk
Mosquito-transmitted viruses likely to reach Minnesota this
Horses especially vulnerable, vaccine available
Mosquito season is approaching and Minnesotans, especially
horse owners, need to be on alert for two mosquito-transmitted
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a viral disease transmitted by
infected mosquitoes to animals and people. In 1999, the virus
was first detected in the United States in New York City. The
virus has spread westward to 28 states, including Iowa and Wisconsin.
It is expected to reach Minnesota this spring. To date, 149
people in the US have become ill with WNV. In 2001, 731 horse
cases were identified in 19 states; 63 percent of those cases
were from Florida.
Most people bitten by an infected mosquito will not get sick.
Symptoms include mild, flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache,
and body aches. Rarely, severe illness develops, but signs include
high fever, neck stiffness, muscle weakness, convulsions, and
WNV poses a serious threat to horses. Symptoms include lethargy,
hindquarter weakness, involuntary muscle contractions, loss of
coordination, head tilt, circling, convulsions, paralysis, and
coma. In 2001, 33 percent of horse cases died or were euthanized
as a result of their illness.
A vaccine for West Nile Virus for horses has been granted a conditional
license by the USDA. It is recommended that horses be vaccinated
annually at least 3 weeks before the mosquito season. The vaccine
for Eastern Equine Encephalitis will not protect against WNV.
Western and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (WEE and EEE)
are other viruses that can be transmitted when an infected mosquito
bites a human or horse. These diseases are rare in humans but
can be life threatening. EEE was documented in Minnesota for
the first time last year, with three confirmed cases in horses.
No human cases have ever been reported in Minnesota.
Most WEE and EEE infections in humans do not cause any symptoms
or illness. When people do develop illness, symptoms are similar
to WNV and can include high fever, fatigue, aching muscles, a
stiff neck, and tremors or confusion. Although illness is rare,
when it does occur, death rates in children can be 5 percent
for WEE and greater than 50 percent for EEE. Illness survivors
may have brain damage and long-term disabilities.
In horses, symptoms of WEE and EEE are similar to WNV and can
include fever, loss of appetite, drooping eyelids and lower lip,
aimless wandering and circling behavior, blindness, and inability
to stand. The infection is fatal to horses in 40% of cases with
WEE and more than 90 percent with EEE.
Horses can be vaccinated against WEE and EEE. Outbreaks of EEE
often occur several weeks before the illness is documented in
humans. People cannot contract WNV, WEE or EEE directly from
"There is no human vaccine against these viruses; therefore
people should take precautions such as using mosquito repellants,"
said Jeff Bender, DVM, MS, assistant professor, CVM public health
program. "Outdoor activities should be avoided at dawn or
dusk when some mosquitoes are most active. Eliminate potential
mosquito breeding habitat on or around property. Horses owners
should contact their veterinarians regarding vaccination of horses
or to report any suspicious illnesses they see in their horses."
Minnesota Department of Health, Department of Natural Resources,
Minnesota Board of Animal Health, the Metropolitan Mosquito Control
District, and the CVM are actively collaborating to watch for
evidence of these diseases and keep the public informed. The
CVM and Medical School are jointly developing outreach strategies
to veterinarians, physicians and public health officials about
the epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of WNV.
For more information: U of MN College of Veterinary Medicine
www.cvm.umn.edu; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov;
US Department of Agriculture www.aphis.usda.gov; and the MN Department
of Health www.health.state.mn.us.