We believe in connecting people with nature. Our monthly programs are FREE and open to the public. Most meetings are held the 4th Tuesday of each month at Quarry Hill Nature Center. Our speakers give presentations about a wide range of topics - not just birds.
April 8, 2021 - Kestrel Cam! - Kirk Payne (former naturalist at Quarry Hill) and John Ryder have put up a nest camera on one of their Kestrel boxes, and it is now live-streaming on YouTube. Thank guys for letting us share in this developing story! Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEA9szY8z7c
April 8, 2021 - Heron Rookery Update - The Rochester Post Bulletin reported that the land use decision has been delayed until May 18 - their complete story is here:
Photo by Dave Gross
April 3, 2021 - Quarry Hill Walk - 30 people came out for our walk at Quarry Hill this morning and although we didn't see a lot of birds - we sure couldn't complain about the weather! Bright sun and 60's is pretty nice for early April. We did see a new bird for the year - a Brown-headed Cowbird and spotted our first butterfly - either a Comma or Question Mark (we didn't get a look at the underside to make a positive ID). Get outside when you can. Songbird migration will be ramping up soon!
Save the Great Blue Heron Rookery
March 25, 2021- Today a small group of ZVAS Board members were invited to visit a Great Blue Heron Rookery in SW Rochester. We saw more than 30 herons in and around more than 2 dozen nests. Some were already displaying courting behavior. We were astonished - none of us were aware of this site - but thankfully a few local landowners have known about it and protected it for the last 30 years.
Now this site is being threatened with a housing development, even though the land is only marginally suitable for housing. This is the ONLY known heron rookery near Rochester - it would be a tragedy to lose it. We hope you'll like and follow the "Save the Rookery" page that concerned neighbors have created to provide information on how you can help.
Your help is urgently needed!
Reach out to your local representatives, and the Rochester Township board members. Tell them YOU CARE. Tell them NOT to allow building permits that destroy this critical habitat located along Boulder Creek, edged by 60th Ave SW. (Note: there is no public access to this site at this time - please do NOT attempt to find them as they will be breeding soon.) This rookery, hidden away in the woods, is our whole community's treasure.
Let's protect them.
Matt Kitzmann, Seat 1
Brian Mueller, Seat 2
Jeff Orth, Seat 3
Brian Zmolek, Seat 4
Jamie Neisen, Seat 5
You can also call and email your County Commissioner:
March 23, 2021 - BATS!
We'd like to thank Kristen Lear for presenting last night's zoom program about bats - it was was pretty cool. Did you know bats are the world's only flying mammal? There are more than 1,400 species worldwide (8 species live in Minnesota) and many are in serious trouble through loss of habitat. In our area white-nose Syndrome, an exotic fungus that appeared in 2006, has killed an estimated 99% of the Little Brown Bats in Minnesota ... and we need those bats to eat our mosquitoes! You can learn more about bats and the work being done to save them at https://www.batcon.org/
March 22, 2021 - Owl commotion
A Great Horned Owl nest in NW Rochester has been all over Facebook and the news media ... and we get it ... it's not often you find an owl nest that is so accessible. And these owls have so far been very tolerant of all the commotion.
To avoid distressing the owls beyond their tolerance point, please consider viewing them from your car. The owls are used to car noise, but not to people talking loudly and making sudden moves. If you do get out of your car to get a better view, please move slowly, be quiet and only stay a few minutes. If you visit the site and there are already 5 or 6 cars watching, please come back at another time. DO NOT FLY DRONES anywhere near this nest.
Also - please be aware that the owlets will soon begin "branching". This means they will move out of the nest and perch on nearby branches where they will flap and exercise their wings. Sometimes they fall to the ground. If you see this happen DO NOT "rescue" them. The parents will feed them on the ground and may even attack you if approach the chicks or leave the road.
So go see the owls - safely - from a distance. Thank you!
Here's some more info about treating owls with respect:
Thanks KAAL TV - for getting the word out on how to keep the the Owls safe in NW Rochester. Good advice from Karla Bloem of the International Owl Center and Joel Dunnette, President of Zumbro Valley Audubon. Watch the clip here.
Advocacy - Learn how to contact your senators and representatives to speak up for the environment.
Zumbro Valley Audubon needs your help to pay for programs, printing brochures and outreach supplies to teach kids and adults about nature. Donate to Zumbro Valley Audubon via giveMN.org
Another easy way to support ZVAS is to shop at Amazon Smile. You’ll find the same low prices and selection as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to the charitable organization of your choice. We hope you'll pick Zumbro Valley Audubon!
Visit smile.amazon.com to get started.
© ZVAS 2021 - Zumbro Valley Audubon Society - PO Box 6244 - Rochester, MN 55903