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Rockin’ Warbler

This past Saturday we conducted the annual Arb bird count. Since 2000, this survey has helped the Carleton community track changing bird populations. Of particular interest in the bird count is a group of small, difficult to identify birds—the warblers—that, as we speak, are in the midst of their spring…

Quaking Aspens, Cloning & You!

Walking through the Arb, it is not uncommon to run across a quaking aspen. And when you run across one, you are likely to run across a whole stand of them. But why is this? The answer is simple: you are surrounded by clones. Though aspen can reproduce sexually, the…

Asian Lady Beetles: Spawn of Satan or Harmless Knockoffs?

They look like cute little ladybugs when you see them one at a time. Innocent, spotted, and innocuous. However, as fall sets in, they start showing up in droves, and they swiftly move from cute bug to giant pest. These native lady beetle lookalikes are in fact invasive beetles native…

Invaders from Below

A subversive invasion is underway, and it is happening right below your feet. The keep has long-since been breached, the war already lost. Despite the best efforts of our native predatory birds, ants and mice, trespasser populations remain strong. I speak, of course, of the exotic earthworm. That squirmy slinker…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Frogs

It was just another day in southern Minnesota in the summer of 1995 when a group of middle school students went to collect frogs around a small man-made pond. As they gathered the frogs, people noticed with growing concern that a large proportion of the frogs in this pond were…

Who’s That Bird of Prey?

A large form glides across the sky far over- head. It has a wingspan of just over six and a half feet, yet weighs less than ten pounds. Its body is a deep brown, while its head and tail are a bright white. It is unmistakably a bald eagle. More…

ArbNotes

With the coming of spring, a blanket of growth is swiftly covering the Arboretum. First, you may notice the bright blue flowers carpeting large patches of forest floor. In some places they dominate, but they are by no means all there is to see. These blue flowers, delicate and with…

ArbNotes: Getting Squirrely

They are all around us. Small and easily overlooked, but always present: the thirteen-lined ground squirrel. This little critter lives in prairies, and can be found all over the prairies of the arb. Have you ever been out walking near shorter grass prairie and noticed a small, vertical form scanning…