Welcome back to another spring term everybody! It’s been a long hard winter, but it looks like the winter is finally over and it’s a great time to get back outside. I know most people assume that the Arb is still too muddy to explore in the early spring, but we’ve gotten quite lucky this year and many areas are already completely free of mud and snow!
With the exception of the trail that hugs the Canon River next to Hillside Prairie and the areas near Kettle Hole Marsh, the Lower Arb trails are in great condition for runs and rambling walks. The Upper Arb trails are in even better condition, with only two areas where the trails are muddy. Although the highland prairies are nice and dry, off-trail areas are still pretty wet. If you have a good pair of waterproof boots though, you should have no problem getting around, and you might also get the chance to see some really cool stuff.
Right now, many birds are returning to Minnesota after the long winter, my favorite of which is the Eastern Bluebird. The Eastern Bluebird is a beautiful Robin-sized bird with a brilliant orange breast that blurs into the bright blue color of its wings and face. They typically live in open prairies or meadows. Look for them near the nesting boxes throughout the Arb.
The Arb’s wild turkey population is also celebrating the coming of spring. Turkeys are currently in the midst of their mating season and this means that all the male turkeys are out there strutting their stuff for the females. Male turkeys have a hilarious mating dance which consists of them fluffing up all their feathers until they look like the turkeys kids paint during Thanksgiving and prancing around and on the females. I recommend checking out the Youtube videos of this and then heading out to the Arb to see this dance in action!
- Forrest Williams '16, for the Cole Student Naturalists