Sharptailed grouse.

A habitat workshop to assist private landowners in maintaining, enhancing and restoring habitat for sharp-tailed grouse, woodcock, golden-winged warblers and ruffed grouse will be held on Saturday, May 3, at Long Lake Conservation Center southeast of Palisade.  

All of these bird species, except ruffed grouse, are listed as “species in greatest conservation need” by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This designation means their populations are rare, declining or vulnerable to decline and are below levels desirable to ensure their long term health and stability.

Sharp-tailed grouse are of particular concern due to their long term population decline in Minnesota. Aitkin County and western Carlton County are home to the remaining stronghold of this unique, native grouse in east central Minnesota. Landowners with dancing grounds (leks) on their land or within two miles of them are especially encouraged to attend. Their land can provide the habitat necessary for sharp-tailed grouse breeding, nesting and brood rearing habitat.        

The workshop runs from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and includes information on the biology and habitat requirements of sharp-tailed grouse, woodcock, golden-winged warblers and ruffed grouse, and technical and financial assistance programs for assisting implementation of habitat projects. Each registrant will receive an aerial photo of their land for a work period during which they will get assistance in developing habitat project ideas. Coffee, fruit and muffins will be served at morning break, as well as a sack lunch. The early afternoon will consist of a habitat tour. An optional, evening, woodcock “sky dance” program will occur at 8:30 pm.

This event is made possible and free to attendees thanks to sponsors that include the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Aitkin & Carlton County Soil & Water Conservation Districts, DNR, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Pheasants Forever, Minnesota Sharp-tailed Grouse Society, Woodcock Minnesota, American Bird Conservancy, Ruffed Grouse Society and Wildlife Management Institute.      

For more information and to register, contact Scott Kittleson at the Aitkin NRCS office at 218-927-2413 x101 by April 24, with your name, address, phone number, land location (twp., range, section, forty), sack lunch order, and interest in the evening sky dance program.

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