Page 1

UTDOOR CONNECTION

JUNE 2019 ESTHERVILLE NEWS Find this publication online at www.esthervillenews.net under ʻSectionsʼ

STORIES, ADVICE AND INFORMATION FOR OUTDOOR LOVERS

Enjoying Memorial Weekend and what Memorial Day is all about I hope everybody had a great Memorial Weekend. Lots of family activities and get-togethers, but there is much more to Memorial Day.

BY STEVE WEISMAN OUTDOOR EDITOR

Johnny Campbell (center) holds his Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame plaque following the induction ceremony. At left is Emmet Brown, Director of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and to the right, Ted Takasaki, a hall of famer and fishing colleague who provided the introduction for Campbellʼs induction ceremony. Photo submitted

Campbell Inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame BY STEVE WEISMAN OUTDOOR EDITOR

For John Campbell, local guide and highly successful longtime professional walleye tournament angler, last Wednesday (May 15) was a true highpoint in his fishing career. That was the day Campbell, his family, longtime business associates, fellow tournament anglers and friends attended Campbell’s induction into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. Campbell says, “It was a very exciting day, a huge honor to be inducted with all of the great fishermen who have been recognized over the years for their contributions to the fishing industry.” Reflecting more on this honor, Campbell adds, “My wife, Juli and I visited the Hall 30 years ago and were in awe of the fishing legends. At the time, I believe Mike McClelland, Bob Probst, Gary Roach, Gary Parsons and Keith Kavajecz had just been inducted. Ted Takasaki and I were young guys just starting out on our journey.” For Campbell, having mentors in the fishing industry has been extremely important. “I really looked up to these pros and learned a lot from them. Spence Petros was a mentor who also taught me a lot. I fished with many great fishermen over the years including Chris Gilman, Jimmy Saric, Tommy Skarlis, Tommy Keenan, Perry Good, Jeff Taege, Pat Byle, Perry Parks, Jim McDonnell, Cliff Hoagland and many others. I learned from every one of them. It is a great honor for my family, and I want to thank all my friends and supporters!” The ceremony took place at the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum building at 3 p.m., with Ted Takasaki, fellow Hall of

Famer and longtime fishing colleague providing Campbell’s introduction to the Hall. Takasaki says, “It was a wonderful day, the weather was perfect! Very proud to have the opportunity to give Johnny’s Hall of Fame introduction.” Takasaki also reflected on what Johnny Campbell has meant to him. “You know, sometimes in our life there is one individual who can greatly impact and even change our life. For me, Johnny is that person. We met 40 years ago at a fraternity when we both were attending the University of Illinois. We both loved sports, but Johnny was also really into fishing. We ended up fishing together, took fishing classes from Spence Petros, the editor of Fishing Facts magazine, and we fished together as professional anglers. Johnny truly changed the course of my life. It’s enabled me to live the American dream; Johnny is the catalyst who inspired me to become a professional angler and become part of the fishing industry.” Following the ceremony, Campbell shared a reflection. “After learning of this award, I’ve taken time to reflect on my career from tournament angling to guiding here on the Iowa Great Lakes. I’ve walleye fished a lot of lakes across the country, and I truly believe that the Iowa DNR does a tremendous job of maintaining our walleye fisheries. We have some of the best waters in the country, not only for walleyes but for other gamefish, too.”

How he got to the Hall Campbell’s 25-year tournament career featured success at the highest level: the MWC, the PWT and the FLW circuits. “In 1991, Ted and I won the MWC Team of the Year title. It

was the only walleye circuit around, so all of the top tournament anglers were a part of it.” Campbell also won a couple of major titles along the way. Consistency was Campbell’s trademark, and he made the championships 24 straight years! His consistency has made him one of the top money winners of all time. It was truly a great run, but after 25 years as a professional angler, Campbell knew the wear and tear was getting to him, and it was time for a change. So, he left both the sales position in Chicago and tournament angling for a guiding career on the Iowa Great Lakes. Campbell began Campbell Fishing Expeditions in 2013. Campbell guides from May through October with two goals in mind: to teach clients how to become better anglers and to create an atmosphere of fun and excitement. “It has taken a lot of hard work, but I have enjoyed all aspects of fishing from being a kid fishing off the dock on West Okoboji, to the 25 years of tournament fishing and all of the seminars in the off season to the past six years of guiding. It’s been a lot of fun! I grew up in the Chicago area, but from the time I was little, my family would come and stay at Methodist’s Camp, and I fished, well, as much as you can fish when you are two years old!” the 62-yearold Campbell says with a laugh. Simply put, the rest is history! Yes, things have come full circle, from the two-year old fishing at Methodist’s Camp, to a 25-year professional angling career, to becoming a member of the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame inductee, to guiding on the Iowa Great Lakes with the hopes of having many more years making fishing memories!

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A Tip of the Hat The Iowa Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce certainly deserves a tip of the hat for taking the $21,312.52 profits from the 37th Annual Walleye Weekend and presenting an equal share to four protective associations: Center Lake Protective and Improvement Association, East Lake Okoboji Improvement Association, Okoboji Protective Association and the Spirit Lake Protective Association. All of these organizations are about protecting our local lakes. To me, this is a great example of giving back to the community. Each of these organizations can now determine how to best utilize this donation to help meet their vision and goals. If you’re not already a member of one of these protective associations, consider joining one. Anybody who spends time on our area lakes has a personal stake in helping protect our lakes. The old adage the more the merrier cer-

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Above all, I hope we all took the time to reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day. I recently read a quote by former President Harry S. Truman that pretty much sums up the true meaning of Memorial Day. “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifice.” Each Memorial Weekend my wife and I watch the National Memorial Day Concert held on the West Lawn of the U. S. Capitol. This year’s 30th annual concert, hosted by award winning actor Joe Mantegna and actress Mary McCormak on Sunday evening, was a highly emotional salute and tribute to America’s military heroes. The program certainly took those of us who watched on a rollercoaster ride of emotions from pride to empathy to sadness and back to pride again…for all of our country’s problems, we are truly the LAND of the FREE! Thanks to our veterans for their sacrifice! Happy Memorial Day to all!


MONDAY, MAY 6, 2019

ESTHERVILLE NEWS/ESTHERVILLE, IA

2B

OUTDOOR CONNECTION

Short tips for more fishing fun BY BOB JENSEN FISHING THE MIDWEST FISHING TEAM

We’re into the open water fishing season of 2019. In fact, summer fishing isn’t that far away. Sometimes we get too wound up in the details of catching fish, and that’s okay. Oftentimes minor details can play a large role in how many fish we catch, and how big those fish are. There are other things to keep in mind though that will also lead to bigger fish catches, and also add to our overall enjoyment of just going fishing. Following are some of those things. First thing: Don’t fish memories. It’s easy to remember that when we were fishing on Lake Big Fish last September we caught lots of fish off Point X in 30 feet of water. We’re now back on Lake Big Fish in June. Too many anglers will head back to Point X, find that 30 foot spot, and expect the fish to still be there. They probably won’t be. They might be on Point X, but in 10 feet of water or less. Remember, most species of fish move around quite a bit during the year. Catching them in a particular area in the fall doesn’t mean they’ll be there in the spring. Same thing is true with lures. While a crankbait was the hot ticket last summer on a weedline, the fish will probably prefer something moving a little slower in the spring or early summer. As the water warms, go with a faster moving bait. Slower moving baits are often better when the water is cold: Often, not always. Consider the shape and action of your bait. Frequently, the action of the bait you’re using will be a very important consideration. Many lure manufacturers make baits in a lot of different shapes and Not a big walleye, but the group of guys in this party caught lots this size and had a good actions. For instance, Strike King time sharing the fishing and the companionship. Thatʼs a win! Photo by Bob Jensen makes a bait called the KVD Jerkbait. It’s a long, thin bait that looks like a

thin minnow. In the right situation, it’s a killer. It’s designed to be cast out and reeled down so it’s a few feet below the surface. You then retrieve it by jerking the rod tip down. The bait darts ahead, then as you reel up the slack, the bait suspends. It’s really good in colder water, but will catch fish year ‘round. Next consider a bait like those in the Pro Model XD series. These are also hard baits that look like fatter minnows. This bait is also designed to be cast out and reeled in, but with this bait, when the retrieve is paused, the bait begins to float back to the surface. They’re similar in material to the KVD Jerkbait, but they’re also different. They’ll be productive under other circumstances, especially in the summer and fall. Something for those who fish private ponds Remember to get permission at the beginning of every year. Ownership sometimes changes, and sometimes the pond owner just wants to lessen the pressure on the pond. If you get permission to fish a private water, clean up after yourself and respect the owner’s policy on keeping or releasing fish that you catch. Last thing: Don’t base the success of your day of fishing by how many fish you catch or how big they are. Of course, we all want to catch some, and almost everyone likes to catch big fish, but the reality is that some days are better for catching than others. Enjoy all the things that are part of a fishing trip. If it’s solitude or companionship or scenery or whatever, be sure to include all of those elements when you’re reflecting on the success of your day of fishing. If you do that, you’ll enjoy your fishing even more. To see new and older episodes of Fishing the Midwest television, fishing articles and videos, go to fishingthemidwest.com

Prairie plants work their wonders through their root systems BY KILEY ROTH DICKINSON COUNTY CONSERVATION COMMUNITY RELATIONS COORDINATOR

Native prairie plants make wonderful habitat for wildlife like voles, turkeys, rabbits, ground squirrels, hawks and foxes. They provide both habitat and food sources for tiny creatures such as monarch butterflies, bumblebees and milkweed beetles. They are beautiful to look at. However, they are also important in a way that we can’t see. Deep down in the dark depths of the soil, prairie plants are working their wonders through their root systems as well. They act as a natural landscape sponge. Typical turf grass is an exotic species, like Kentucky bluegrass, and its root systems only grow about 4 inches deep. That means when rain falls more than those short roots can absorb, the water will pool and run off of the lawn and into the storm sewer. It takes with it sediment, pesticides and fertilizers that are on the landscape, and that dirty water then runs directly into the nearest body of water. In Okoboji, that is our Iowa Great Lakes. Native tallgrass prairie species have roots that grow deep. Compass plant roots can reach 15 feet, butterfly milkweed 12 feet and big bluestem 9.5 feet. They can absorb 9 inches of rainfall per hour before any kind of runoff occurs, and one acre of established prairie will intercept as much as 53 tons of water during a one-inch per hour rain event.

Display at the Dickinson County Nature Center shows the depth of prairie plant roots. Photo by Kiley Roth

Native prairie plants help water move through the watershed. Instead of runoff going into our storm sewers, native prairie plants help water absorb deep into the soil. With roots as deep as 5, 10 or even 15 feet --- approximately 70 percent of each plant --- they suck water deep into the earth. That w a t e r

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then makes its way through the local watershed, and as it does, the water is decontaminated and cleaned. By the time it ends up in the nearest body of water, that water is clean and clear.

are established, they require little or no watering. They can survive droughts better than exotic species, because their root systems grow so deep. There is no fertilization needed either. So, as you are contemplating Prairie plants assist with ero- They’re easy to care for. spring plantings this May, please sion. Natives are just that, native. That plant natives. Not only are they Native prairie plant systems are means that they are specially adapt- beautiful above ground, they are the best natural soil anchors on ed to live in our climate. Once they also hard at work below ground.

MEMORIAL, Continued from Page 1B tainly fits in here. The more members, the more money the protective associations have and the more the associations can do to help our waters. It becomes a win-win situation.

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earth, because they go so deep. One acre of established prairie can produce 24,000 pounds of roots, according to Iowa State University, and those root systems will make sure that the land stays in place.

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I know, I know. Be careful of what you wish, but we really need to have several good drying days in a row - for all of us. It would help our farmers and the flooding and high-water levels in our lakes! Plus, sunshine would certainly lift all of our spirits. Let’s hope things change, and we get some prolonged sunny days. It’s pretty obvious with all of these rainy days just where surface runoff issues exist. High water gives us the chance to identify those problem areas. Even so, there are potential answers. Look to your local Natural Resources

Conservation Service (NRCS) office to give suggestions and programs that will help address the flooding. In many cases, there are programs that can offer cost share to implement the practice and also funding for doing some of these practices. To me, working with the NRCS can give great insight into how surface runoff issues can be addressed. Plenty of opportunities to make a difference!

Donʼt forget about fishing I’m serious. When we get the kind of weather we have had where there are 4-5 rainy days for every sunny day, it’s easy to become discouraged and not go fishing. However, take the time to go because this time of year-right now-is prime time fishing time! With the cool weather, clouds and rain, the water temperatures are a little

behind. This past Sunday morning, we were fishing bluegills on East Okoboji and the surface water temperature only it 59 degrees by noon. Normally, by the end of May, the bluegills are heading to the shallows to prepare for the spawn. However, we found these fish in 8-10 feet of water and the females were not close to spawning. So, I’m guessing through mid-June, we should find the bluegills, crappies and yellow bass in their spawning areas. Don’t forget Center Lake. Some nice crappies along the shoreline. When you think of northwest Iowa, there are some great fisheries: Black Hawk Lake, Center Lake, Clear Lake, East Okoboji, Lost Island, Silver Lake (Lake Park), Spirit Lake, Storm Lake, Trumbull Lake, Tuttle Lake and West Okoboji. Let’s go fishing!


MONDAY, MAY 6, 2019

ESTHERVILLE NEWS/ESTHERVILLE, IA

3B

OUTDOOR CONNECTION

Speed Rig Walleyes Editor’s note: Jason Mitchell hosts the popular outdoor program Jason Mitchell Outdoors which airs on Fox Sports North on Sunday mornings at 9:00 am. More information can be found online at www.jasonmitchelloutdoors.com. Follow on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. BY JASON MITCHELL

Rigging has continued to evolve over the years and remains a deadly way for catching walleye throughout the season. Rigging can be a lot of different things depending on the angler and region. The classic live bait rig was a simple sliding walking or egg sinker above a small swivel that was attached to a three to seven-foot snell in which a size eight to four live bait octopus hook was used to present a crawler, leech or minnow. This classic rig was often meant to be fished slow so that the live bait could do the work. Night crawlers were sometimes given a puff of air. Minnows or chubs were often hooked through just the top lip. Rigs were meant to be put in front of fish and the natural seduction of live bait often triggered fish. This classic live bait rig is probably how many people (myself included) learned to live bait rig for walleye. Add in some back trolling with an old two stroke tiller just to be nostalgic… still love the smell of two stroke exhaust. Over time however, rigging has evolved into faster presentations that work much better for covering water. In fact, many rigs today fish more similarly to a classic bottom bouncer and spinner presentation. Many of these rigs are designed to be fished faster than a mile per hour. What I find is that many of these rigs really shine as a precursor to the classic spinner harness. There is also that in between transition when fish are starting to move, and you need to cover water. What we often find is that we might catch fish right away in the morning on a spinner but as the water gets flat or the sun gets high, we can pick off more fish by toning down the presentation towards a traditional rig.

Speed Rig Now what is considered a speed rig? A speed rig is any rig that needs some speed to work properly. An octopus hook and redtail chub will catch fish sitting still. A spinner harness needs to move through the water for the blades to turn. A speed rig is something more subtle than a traditional spinner harness that also typically doesn’t need as much speed but still needs to move through the water to get the right action. Could be a Macs Smile Blade or Northland Tackle Banana Blade. Perhaps a simple Slow Death Hook. Other variations include propellers, Spin and Glows, and floats. For most of these rigs, speeds might range between .7 to 1.5 miles per hour. Most of these rigs work extremely well fished a touch slower than a traditional spinner harness. Most of these rigs also seem to usually work best behind a bottom bouncer. Since you don’t ever have to stall or slow down to a crawl with these types of rigs, there is no advantage to using a sliding slip sinker. Drag and force the fish to load the rod tip up. This also isn’t necessarily a finesse game, don’t be afraid to use ten to fourteenpound monofilament as the heavier mono seems to drag behind the bottom bouncer without twisting as you speed up. What you will often find as summer progresses is that speed kills. We often find that we catch more fish with these rigs by bumping up the speed. The variations and combinations are endless but here are a few of my favorite tweaks on rigs that catch a lot of fish for me each season. By no means is this the end all and I continue to learn new ways to fish this presentation each season. The following however are confidence measures. Stuff that has caught a lot of fish and continues to work each season.

Slow Death Long before Mustad trademarked the name “Slow Death,” Lake Oahe guides Dave Spade and others were cleaning up on tournaments using this special half crawler rig that incorporated a bent gold Aberdeen hook. I still like to bend my own hook and find that the action is much better on the light wire Aberdeen hook than any of the heavier

The author Jason Mitchell explains some deadly rigging tactics that use faster speeds for triggering midsummer walleye. Photo submitted

hooks that you can now buy. Simply take a size four Gold Aberdeen long shank hook and put a thirty-degree bend in the wire. For maximum dance, use the tail section of the worm and pull these rigs right around 1.3 miles per hour. Watch the rig next to the boat to see if the tail is flapping and dancing. The right action is more of a shimmy, not a corkscrew. When you know what this is supposed to look like and get it right… it out fishes any hook you can buy. Snell length is typically short, around 30-36 inches. Now I am just going to come out and say this… If you put a Slow Death style hook behind a blade or put any number of beads or hardware ahead of the hook, the wobbling is lost, and the hook drags through the water just like any other hook. So… with that being said, many of the Slow Death type harnesses are a joke. Sure, they catch fish, but they catch fish the same as if they were tied with any other long shank hook. Something to consider when tying rigs or buying rigs. The Slow Death action is deadly, but you lose that action once you start adding Smile Blades, props and floats above the hook.

Magnum Floater/ Leech Combo There are many floating jigs and float combinations and they all work well. One of my favorite ways to fish a leech however come midsummer is to use a large floating jig head on a three-foot snell and use a jumbo leech. At around a mile an hour, the jig head will really wobble adding a lot of action to the leech. The larger round head floaters seem to work the best because they will wobble as you dial up the speed. To pull leeches at faster speeds, lightly step on them and hook them through the nose.

Long Shank/ Propeller Rig

Magnum Floater/ Leech Combo

Burning minnows fast on rigs is deadly effective on many lakes. The beads and propeller seem to almost ballast the minnow so that the minnow simply drags through the water straight without excessive spinning. Double hook a fathead, rainbow or shiner on a long shank hook so that it hangs straight and cover water. If the minnow is spinning out of control and the snell is twisting bad, use a heavier snell. We often burn these rigs at speeds up to a mile and a half an hour. Half crawlers and leeches can also be used on these rigs. Don’t be afraid to use this tactic with longer snells that are up to five to six feet in length. Keep your hardware to a minimum… couple of small beads and a small prop and keep your speed up to over a mile an hour.

Butterfly Blades/ Smile Blades

Many of the rigs above (apart from the modified Slow Death type hook) are rigs with some type of hardware. Don’t assume you always have to add some eye candy onto the rig. We still catch a lot of fish on plain hook rigs or rigs that have a single bead and we often fish these rigs fast and catch fish. Threading the nose of a whole crawler on a classic bait keeper hook and burning that crawler behind a bottom bouncer at over a mile an hour is deadly come midsummer. When using rigs at these faster speeds, don’t worry about feeding fish the crawler as any stall in momentum will cause the bottom bouncer to tip and add a lot of resistance. If you start missing fish on a whole crawler, simply pinch down the crawler until you start hooking up. What I find is that when fish hit crawlers at these faster speeds, they typically eat the whole crawler. A few other thoughts are that this style of fishing takes a different mentality. You must fish fast enough to cause the bait to lift and to get that desired action. The props must turn, the crawler must roll and wobble if you are using a Slow Death style hook. The strikes typically load up the rod. With this type of fishing, you will often be effective by simply placing the rod in a rod holder and the fish will just be on… pounding the rod. If you choose to hold the rod, you are going to have to get in the habit of dragging the fish along and letting the rod load up. Almost seems like fish just hang on the bait and as the bait slides and drags through their mouths, the fish choke up on it even more. This isn’t finesse rigging where you have the bail open and feed the fish line but what you will find come midsummer is that these faster more aggressive rigging tactics can be much more effective.

Butterfly Blades/ Smile Blades

I have long been a fan of Smile Blades and have recently fallen in love with the newer Butterfly Blade Rigs from Northland Fishing Tackle. These blades turn at extremely slow speeds and will wobble at even slower speeds. They create a lot of flash and keep turning on sharp turns or stalls in speed. They just catch fish. My favorite way to tie these rigs is to use the old school bait keeper hooks that have barbs on the shank or simply use a long shank Aberdeen. On both hooks, I thread about half a crawler up past the knot. These rigs also work well with both leeches and minnows.

Long Shank/ Propeller Rig

Plain Jane

Plain Jane

Go Outdoors Iowa Licensing System now available DES MOINES — The DNR’s new hunting and fishing license system, Go Outdoors Iowa, is now available. The new system makes it easier and more convenient for the public to get hunting and fishing licenses, manage your profile information, apply for controlled hunts, and report harvests. People can still go to a license retailer to get their licenses. To log into the new system, go to License.GoOutdoorsIowa.com. From there, provide your Date of Birth, Last Name, and Last Four Digits of your Social Security Number to log in or create your

customer account. If you have purchased an Iowa fishing or hunting license or hunting application before, this will bring you to your customer home page. If you are new to the system, you will be required to create an account by completing the customer information form. Once complete, you will be redirected to your customer home page. As has always been the case, you will still have to provide your social security number to purchase a fishing or hunting license. All information is secure, confidential and will not be shared. Once you complete a purchase

through the new system, you'll have the opportunity for autorenew. This is a feature that allows you to automatically renew any applicable licenses/permits when they are about to expire using a stored payment method. If you choose to enroll, you will receive an email notifying that your eligible licenses will be renewed using Auto Renew 10 days prior to the expiration date. ou may adjust your auto-renew settings (including stored payment) any time before your license(s) expires through your customer profile. Note that eligi-

bility to participate in the autorenew program varies by license type, and many hunting licenses with special rules or a season quota may not be eligible for auto-renew. Upgrading your paper license

When you purchase a license and/or permit through the system, you may be asked if you would like to upgrade to a durable card for $5. This optional, durable card is a valid form of proof of purchase that will not be damaged by water, sun, dirt, or regular wear and tear like the traditional paper document. The card is made of credit card-like material that con-

tains your customer and license information on one side, and features artwork from Iowa artists on the other side. If you choose to purchase a hard card, it will be mailed to the license holder in approximately 5-7 days. You will get a paper print out of the license so you can still hunt and fish immediately after purchase. For those who have a lifetime license, you can pay the $5 fee for the hard card and have the lifetime license printed on the hard card and mailed to you. Also, the hard cards can be purchased as a gift for someone other than the buyer.


MONDAY, MAY 6, 2019

ESTHERVILLE NEWS/ESTHERVILLE, IA

OUTDOOR CONNECTION

Bird watching

This monthʼs photos features a variety of birds who could land in your backyard. Above are a male scarlet tanager and a male American redstart; at right is an orange-crowned warbler and below are a female scarlet tanager and a Tennessee warbler. Photos by Mike Fredrickson

4B

Is it okay to look in a birdʼs nest? DES MOINES - This time of year is very busy outdoors. Birds are in the process of building and rebuilding nests, sitting on eggs or taking care of their young. However, not all birds nest at the same time. Some start as early as mid-February, such as great horned owls. And some as late as August, such as the American goldfinch. Children - and many adults - want to help the bird nesting process, which can be a benefit or a fatal problem for the birds. Help by providing structures for eastern bluebirds, wood ducks, American kestrels and house wrens, to name a few. Houses should be built ahead of the appropriate nesting season, erected in the correct habitat, maintained to serve the birds and allow you to enjoy your efforts. This can be a great activity to involve someone new to the outdoors. Watching birds is a popular activity. Make a game by observing birds and keeping a list. In time, you may want to add binoculars and a bird identification book, such as Birds of North America, a Golden Field Guide from St. Martin’s Press by Chandler Robbins, Bertel Bruun, and Herbert Zim. But what about looking in the nest? Disturbing the nesting process creates problems - checking nests at inappropriate times, handling chicks or allowing pet access to the area is detrimental. It is OK to observe birds from a distance, whether using binoculars or peering at a nest outside your win-

dow. Some birds use the same nest each year, so leave them for reuse. Get out this spring and watch the birds near your house. You will be amazed at what you see!

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