Park programs are for the birds

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North America’s smallest falcon, the American kestrel, is the featured animal at the Aug. 3 Washington County Parks campfire program presented by the Warner Nature Center at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve. (Photo courtesy of Cornell University)

Washington County Parks programs are for the birds the next two weeks.
Bird banding, the American kestrel and two bird walks are programs offered at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve and St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park. Also covered at separate programs are animal camouflage, snakes and nocturnal animals.

Warner Nature Center naturalists present “Camouflage” from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday at the Lake Elmo Outdoor Amphitheater. Participants can look at real animal pelts and feathers, play camouflage games and go on a hike to spot animals hiding in wooded areas.

Birding enthusiast Shelley Bowman leads an 11 a.m. Saturday bird hike through the scenic prairie and wooded trails at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park. Participants should meet near the park’s outdoor amphitheater.

Warner Nature Center naturalists are back at the Lake Elmo park at 7:15 p.m. Saturday presenting a program on snakes. Visitors can touch a live fox snake and learn about snake behavior, hunting skills and their habitat.

Jim Fitzpatrick, Carpenter Nature Center director and licensed bird bander, presents a “Bird Banding program at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at St. Croix Bluffs park. Learn more about native songbirds as Fitzpatrick sets up devices to capture songbirds, then studies, marks and releases the birds back to their habitat.

Bowman returns to St. Croix Bluffs park to lead a 2:30 p.m. bird hike Aug. 3. Participants will meet near the park’s outdoor amphitheater.

The American kestrel is featured animal at 7:15 p.m. Aug. 3 campfire program by the Warner Nature Center at the Lake Elmo park. Visitors can discover the advantages and disadvantages of being a top predator by meeting a kestrel and learning why falcons are efficient hunters.

Como Zoo presents “Bump in the Night,” a program on nocturnal animals, at 7:15 p.m. Aug. 3 at St. Croix Bluffs park. Visitors can discover the secrets of living in the dark by exploring the world of nocturnal animals.

All programs are free with either a $5 daily or $25 annual parking permit.

Lake Elmo Park Reserve is at the intersection of County Roads 19 and 10, one mile north of Interstate 94 in Lake Elmo. St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park is along the St. Croix River on County Road 21 between County roads 76 and 78 in Denmark Township.

Call 651-430-8370 for information about Lake Elmo park programs; 651-430-8240 for information about St. Croix Bluffs park programs, or visit www.co.washington.mn.us/parks for information about all county parks and programs.

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