Al Batt: Common hawks in Minnesota?

Published 5:38 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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Echoes from the

Loafers’ Club Meeting

I was named after my father.

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Your father’s first name was Al?

No, his last name was Batt.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Deep thoughts occur as I drive past his drive. I led a bus tour. A member of the group showed me her ring. She introduced it to me because it came with a story. Her marriage had ended. She liked her wedding ring more than she liked her ex-husband, so she had her wedding ring repurposed into a lovely and tasteful piece of jewelry called a divorce ring. She would have done the same to her ex-husband if she could have.

Unsolved mysteries

You’ve all been there. You’re in the car with your significant other at chow time.

“Where do you want to eat?”

“Anywhere is fine with me.”

“What do you feel like eating?”

“I don’t care. What are you hungry for?”

“It doesn’t make any difference to me. You pick.”

“I picked the last time. It’s your turn.”

“What did you pick the last time?”

“I don’t remember, but I know I picked something.”

“Well, what don’t you feel like eating?”

We try to whittle it down until the hunger subsides or Dr. Phil chimes in.

After being diagnosed with terminal pleural mesothelioma, singer-songwriter Warren Zevon appeared on David Letterman’s TV show. Letterman asked him what he had learned about life. Zevon said, “Enjoy every sandwich.”

That is wonderful advice, but even that wisdom doesn’t make it any easier to find a place to take nourishment.

I’ve learned

If you’ve never had a car accident, you’re a wreckless driver.

An ohnosecond is that fraction of a second it takes us to realize we just made a big mistake. It often occurs right after we hit the “send” button.

It’s not true that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. That’s a Granny’s myth.

Genetic testing has found that 41.12% of the chronic speeders on the road today have Bigfoot in their DNA.

Bad jokes department

How can three elephants stay dry under one tiny umbrella? They use it on a sunny day.

Did you hear about the glitter factory blowing up? It’s all over town.

What’s orange and sounds like a parrot? A carrot.

What is the end of everything? The letter G.

I called the Tinnitus Hotline, but it just kept ringing.

Nature notes

Roger Truax of Albert Lea wondered what the most common hawk is in Minnesota and Iowa. The red-tailed hawk is the most commonly seen raptor here and the most common hawk in North America. They’re the large highway hawks that find our roads to be excellent hunting grounds.

Chimney swifts are sooty gray and often called “flying cigars.” Their narrow and curved wings move with quick, shallow wingbeats. Their bodies are tube-shaped, and their tails are short and squared at the tip. Swifts can be confused with swallows. If you see flashes of blue or orange, that’s probably a swallow. If the bird has long, skinny wings that look like they’re fluttering, that’s a swift; if it has thick wings tapering near the ends, that’s a swallow. Swifts tend to hunt high above, over buildings or trees, while swallows are likely to swoop low.

Samaras, more commonly referred to as helicopters, whirlers, twisters, spinners or whirligigs, are the winged seeds produced by maple trees. Red, silver and Norway maples produce the largest quantities. Silver maples drop theirs in late spring, and red maples in late spring or early summer and fall. Sugar maple samaras ripen from early summer into fall. Red maple samaras are red, in contrast to those of sugar maple, which are green in spring. Box elder samaras are V-shaped pairs that are winged and similar to those of a sugar maple but smaller and ripen in late summer or early fall. They often stay on trees all winter. Squirrels, chipmunks and other animals eat most of the seeds. Every few years, maples produce a glut of seeds, which gives the trees a better chance of producing viable seedlings and the seed eaters more than enough food. The theory is this overwhelms the animals that eat the seeds.

Meeting adjourned

“I should dearly love that the world should be ever so little better for my presence. Even on this small stage we have our two sides, and something might be done by throwing all one’s weight on the scale of breadth, tolerance, charity, temperance, peace, and kindliness to man and beast. We can’t all strike very big blows, and even the little ones count for something.”—Arthur Conan Doyle.