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MAZINAIGANPAGE8SPRINGSUMMER2013WILDLIFEMilleLacsReservationMinn.Providingsuitablehabitatforthewinged-onesespeciallythosewhomaketheirhomesonthereservationandwhosepopulationsappeartobeincrisisisamissionoftheMilleLacsBandofOjibweDepartmentofNaturalResourcesandEnvironmentDNREaccordingtoKellyApplegateDNREwildlifebiologist.MilleLacsBanddoesalotofhabitatrestorationmakingthebesthabitatwecanforanimalsthatarehereApplegateexplains.Itmakemoresensetosavespecieswhiletheyarehereratherthanwaitforthemtobelisted.BirdsareoneareaoffocusfortheDNREstaffwithfourtargetspeciesthecommonternpurplemartinchimneyswiftandthered-headedwoodpecker.Allhavedecliningpopulationsandallremainresidentonornearthereservation.GayaashkoshenscommonternOfthefourtargetspeciesthegayaashkoshenscommonternisinthemosttrouble.ItisonMinnesotasthreatenedspecieslistandonlyfivebreedingcoloniesremaininMinnesota.OneisonMilleLacsLakesHennepinIslandandiscurrentlythelargestcolonyofthefive.DNREhasbeenco-managingthecolonywiththeUSFishandWildlifeSer-vicesince2000.Itrequiresintensivemanagementincludingtheconstructionandmaintenanceofagull-exclusivegridthree-feethighandinrowsthreefeetapartonhalfofHennepinIsland.Aggressivebaashkawaa-gayashkwagring-billedgullspillageternnestsforeggsandchickstofeedtotheirownyoungApplegateexplainssotheideaistokeepthegullsintheirownarea.Ifwedidntmanagelikewedotheterncolonywouldbegoneinoneyearhesays.Becausegullshaveawiderwingspreadthantheternstheyshyfromthegridfearingentanglementwhereastheternscomfortablyflyinunderthegridandhavenoproblems.Butgullsarenttheonlyproblemfortheternswhomakeshallownestsinopengravelorsand.Theislanditselfisdegradingbecomingsmallerandmorewaterislikelytofloodovernests.Thisisalsoaprobleminhigh-wateryearsonthelake.Waveactioncanwashawaytheeggsandchicksresultinginpoorreproduction.Followingastructureddecision-makingworkshoptolookatoptionsfortheislandsternsmanagersoptedtofortifytheislandwithrockandsubstrateinordertoraiseit.Thiswinter30yardsofpeagravelwereaddedtothenestinggroundwhiletheternfamilieswereawayenjoyingwinterintheGulfcoast.Comenestingseasonmanagersperformaweeklyeggcountandbandchickswithstandardgreenfederalmarkingbands.Bandingstartedafterthe2010GulfoilspillpromptedbyfearthatthewinteringternscouldrunintotroubleintheGulfhowevertherehasbeennoevidenceofthat.Despiteintensemanagementreproductionratescontinuetoseesaw.Lastyearwasnotagoodreproductiveyearfortheternsbut2012gainedabout150-200chicksarelativelygoodyear.TheBandscontinuingconcernfortheHennepinIslandternsstemsfromtheBandsculturaltiestotheIslandandtheirviewofwildliferesourceswhichissocompleteandveryinvolvedApplegateexplains.AcormorantcolonyalsoexistsonSpiritIslandwhichDNREmonitorsfordisease.ThetwoMilleLacsLakeislandsmakeuptheMilleLacsNationalWildlifeRefugeknowntobethesmallestnationalrefugeatlessthanoneacre.ItsforthebirdsMilleLacsBandfosterssurvivalofdecliningspeciesBySueEricksonStaffwriterGridssetonMilleLacsLakesHennepinIslandservetokeepgullsfrominvadingnestingsitesforthecommontern.Withawiderwingspreadthegullsbecomeensnaredinthestrunglineswhereastheternseasilyfyunder.PhotobyTrailCameraU.S.FishandWildlifeServiceInsetGayaashkoshens.PhotoJohannSchumacherVIREOGichi-zhaashaawanibiisiipurplemartinThepopulationofthegichi-zhaashaawanibiisiihasdecreasedby78inMinnesotaApplegatesays.Itsstatusisdeclining.ItsevenworseinthewiderGreatLakesregionhometomanyOjibwetribesaccordingtoApplegatewhoisalsothedirectorofthePurpleMartinWorkingGroupheadquarteredattheDNRE.TheWorkingGroupsfocusistorestorethepurplemartinpopula-tionbyhelpingwithfostersitesandpublicmartinhousingsites.WorkinggrouppartnersincludeAudubonMinnesotaMinnesotaDepartmentofNaturalResourcestheNationalPurpleMartinConservationAssociationandtheCircleofFlightConservationProgram.InadditiontheBandworkswithYorkUniversityinCanadatowardsthepreservationofthespecies.TheWorkingGroupcanactuallyincludeanyonefromabackyardenthusiasttoahigh-levelscientificresearcher.ThepurplemartinisamongonlyacoupleofbirdspeciesthathasevolvedtobecomedependentuponmanApplegatesays.ItseemedtostartintheSouthwestwhentribesuseddriedgourdsforstoringgrain.Smallholeswouldgetinthegourdsperhapsfrommiceorsquirrelsandthebirdswouldmaketheirneststhere.Nativepeoplefoundgoodusesforthepurplemartin.Firstwasforentertain-mentbywatchingthebirdsanticsswoopingandsoaring.TheywereconsideredagiftfromtheCreator.Secondamartencolonywouldkeepawayhawksandcrowsandothergardenpredators.Martinsareveryprotectiveoftheircolonysitessochaseawayinvadersandthirdtheyaregreatalarmclocks.Atthecrackofdawntheywillbechirpingaway.TheMilleLacsBandiscurrentlyhometofivecoloniesofpurplemartin.Onecolonythatresidesinarackoftwenty-fourartificialgourdsjustoutsidetheelderlycenterprovidesentertainmentthere.Eachcolonyhostsabout30to50nest-ingpairs.Therearealsopublicsiteswhicharemartinhousesconstructedwithjust14holes.Thehopeisthatnewpairswillgoouttopeopleintheareawhoaretryingtoattractthem.Purplemartinhousessomethingontheorderofminiatureapartmentbuildingsareconstructedtobestar-lingresistantbymakingtheentryholetoosmallforstarlingswhooftentakeovertheintendedpurplemartinfacilities.Muchofthepurplemartinrecoveryisaccomplishedonacostsharebasis.Partiesmustpurchasetheequipmenti.e.housesbutWorkingGroupexpertswillhelpwithset-upandprovideinformationonhowtoattractthebirds.Birdsareattractedusingpurplemartindecoysaswellassoundrecordings.DNREperformsweeklynestchecksattheBandspurplemartinnestingsites.Theyhavealsoplacedbean-sizedbackpackscontaininggeo-locatorsonsomebirdsaspartofon-goingcollaborativeresearch.Thegeo-locatorsregistersunriseandsunset.Fromthatinformationmanagerscanfigurewhereabirdislocatedwithinafifty-mileperimeter.OneofMilleLacsBand-managedpurplemartinswastrackedtoBrazilandback.Thegoalfor2013istohave24geo-locatorde-ploymentsandtoband2000birdsacrossMinnesota.WorkingwiththebirdmigrationlaboratoryofYorkUniversitythestudytodatehasbeenpublishedintheRoyalSocietyofBiologylettersatopscientificjournalrepresentingthefirsttimeaMilleLacsBandmemberauthoredinascien-tificjournal.ThestudywillalsobepublishedinTheAukanationalornithologistpublicationthisspring.BandingstudiescoordinatedinthestatehavealsobeenpublishedinTheLoonaprestigiousornithologypublication.Formoreongichi-zhaashaawanibiisiipurplemartinincludingmartinhousesandmanagementformartinlandlordscheckoutwww.purplemartin.org.MemitigoningwegaaneshiinhchimneyswiftAlsocalledflyingcigarsthechimneyswiftischaracterizedbyashortbrownbodyandlongwings.Swoopingbetweenbuildingsafterflyinginsectsatdusktheswiftsareoftenmistakenforbatshowevertheyareactuallyarelativeofthehummingbird.Theswiftsalsosuffereda50populationdeclineinthelastfortyyears.Manyswiftsmovedfromtheirtraditionalhomesinhollowedtreestumpstonestinbrickchimneysastheirhabitatwastakenoverbysettlementthustheirnamechimneyswifts.Chimneyswerenormallynotusedduringthenestingseasonsotheaccommodationsworkedoutwell.Largeindustrialsmokestackscouldhousethousandsofswifts.Howevertodaytherequirementtolinechimneyflueswithmetalhasfurtherdeprivedthespeciesofhousing.Swiftsattachtheirnestsalongverticalsurfacesthenestslookingalmostlikeasmallcurvedvarietyofshelffungusonatreetrunk.WithfeetlikegrappleGichi-zhaashaawanibiisii.PhotoGlennBartleyVIREOPurplemartincondo.PhotobyKellyApplegateSeeMemitigoningwegaaneshiinhpage10