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New Kid's View

Family lured Jerrianne and her husband to South Milwaukee in 2002 from Southern California where she worked as, first, a journalist, then, as a court information officer. She now stays busy with media-relations consulting, playing with her three grandchildren (part of the lure), writing, discovering her new environs, and hoping her garden will produce before the first fall frost.

An Answer to the Whooo

Betsy Abert, birds, Christmas, ecologist, ecology, Friends of Grant park, GHOW, Grant Park, Great Horned Owl, hawk, migration, Noel Cutright, Oak Creek Power Plant, owls, peregrine falcon, reproduction, screech owls. long-eared owls., Warnimont Park, WE Energies, webcams, winter

South Milwaukeean and Friends of Grant Park board member Betsy Abert sent me an email the other day. Referring to my post of January 3 about hearing the call of some kind of bird at night and wondering what it was, Betsy wrote:

It likely was an owl that you heard, and specifically, a Great Horned Owl (GHOW).  In the northern realms of our middle west kingdom here, the GHOWs are the first birds to breed and nest in the annual cycle of things.  So, you may have heard an individual searching out another individual for purposes related to home-making and reproduction.  They generally begin this process around the start of winter/Christmas, and are sitting on nest by early January. 

They often nest in tree snags (cavities) or in vacant hawk nests comprised of sticks, and are a good meter of local ecological health, as they rely on a steady supply of mostly small mammals and birds to feed the one or two chicks hatched and fledged every year. Usually they nest in Grant and Warnimont parks where some dead trees remain with spacious cavities.  In the last two years, a pair of GHOWs has taken up residence in a nest box located on the Oak Creek Power Plant stack.  The box was erected as part of a WE Energies sponsored Peregrin Falcon recovery program, and has delivered a steady annual crop of once endangered falcons to the area (and beyond).  For the second year in a row, a GHOW has nested in the original box, and being the top of the food chain for birds, it was feared that the owl might kill the resident pair of (very perturbed) falcons. Thus a second box was erected for the falcons, and they wisely took up nesting in it, and likely shall do so again this year. 
You and others may watch the proceedings of this amazing annual event on webcams installed in the boxes.  Check out the website for hourly snapshots of the owls and eventually the falcons (in spring) at  It features five falcon boxes, and the owl box on top.  It is believed that this year's owl is sitting on one or two eggs.
Also, one of the top ecologists in the country will be at the Grant Park Golf Course Clubhouse on Thursday, March 5, [6:45 p.m.] as a part of the Friends of Grant Park series about our local Ecology.  He is Noel Cutright PhD; he'll share a power point presentation titled, "Bird Migration: Following the Flyways - Facts, Fiction & the Future".  I'll send you more information on that if you wish, as the date approaches. 
So, keep your ears open!  The park and parkway host a couple different owl species, including screech and possibly long-eared owls.  Their whoo whoos are quite different than the GHOW you heard! 
So, there you have it. Not only an explanation about my nocturnal hooter, but information about a presentation next month on birds. Hope to see you there!

Them Garlic Mustard Pickers!

Community, donation, Franklin, Garlic Mustard Pickers, Mitchell Field, Oak Creek South Milwaukee, polio, Rotary Club

What a great group! In exchange for the Rotary Club of Mitchell Field having the most excellent Garlic Mustard Pickers play (if you've ever heard them, you know what I'm talking about) at its annual fundraising auction in October, them Garlic Mustard Pickers turned around and donated $250 to Rotary International's PolioPlus project -- an all-out effort to eradicate polio from the face of the Earth.

What good will $250 do against such a mammoth problem, you might ask? It's called one step at a time. $250 here, $250 there and pretty soon you've got eradication in all but four countries in the world. Yes, that is only FOUR -- as in 4 -- countries left that have not been eradicated of polio. The four left to go are Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nigeria. So the Garlic Mustard Pickers' very generous donation is going to do a LOT of good. Way to go, Garlic Mustard Pickers! Way to go Rotary International!

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Moving Forward

activists, Community, local produce, mass transit, Oak Creek, parks, progressive, South Shore, trees

Trees, parks, mass transit, local produce were among concerns on the minds of about 25 progressive-minded activists who got together this afternoon for their first post-2008 campaign meeting. In addition to the aforementioned topics, the group discussed a name. Tentatvely, it's South Shore Community Group. Also decided was the next meeting date, time and place: Sunday, March 22, 1 p.m., Oak Creek Library, 8620 South Howell Avenue, Oak Creek. For more information, about the group, its mission and goals, and the next meeting, contact Kathleen Slamka,

Friends of Grant Park Reminder

Betsy Abert, bird migration, Friends of Grant park, Grant Park Golf Course Clubhouse, Noel Cutright

Friends of Grant Park friend Betsy Abert would love to see a big crowd at the group's meeting next Thursday, March 5 at the Grant Park Golf Course Clubhouse. The meeting's scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m. 

As part of the Friends of Grant Park "Local Ecology" series, Betsy says, one of the country's top ecologists, Noel Cutright, Ph.D., will speak and show a power-point presentation on "Bird Migration: Following the Flyways - Facts, Fiction & the Future".

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