October 2010

The DNR communications team works with agency experts to develop the weekly questions and provide the answers. This feature addresses current DNR issues, interesting topics, or the most frequently asked questions from around Minnesota.





The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is compiling weekly waterfowl migration reports throughout the fall hunting season. What is the purpose of these reports and what will they show?

The waterfowl migration and hunting reports are a compilation of information from state and federal wildlife managers across Minnesota. The information provides an assessment of local habitat conditions, weather, waterfowl migration in each area, and other pertinent information, such as hunting pressure and hunting success, if available. Each report also includes tables that show actual waterfowl count data from weekly surveys

The purpose of the weekly reports is not to pinpoint specific hunting locations but simply provide hunters with additional information for the areas they hunt. This will allow hunters to compare survey counts from week to week or last year, and gauge what waterfowl migration is like throughout the hunting season. Birdwatchers may also find the information contained in the reports useful.

The reports are updated each Thursday, and are available on the DNR’s website.

- Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl staff specialist



Why do trees change color in the fall and what determines if we have a good display on a given year?

Those magnificent colors you see in the fall are actually there all summer, it’s just you can’t see them because of the green chlorophyll in the leaves. As our days get shorter and the temperatures cool down, trees cease green chlorophyll production, causing the yellow chlorophyll to show. Any sugars trapped in the leaf react with each other in the presence of sunlight to form the reds and oranges – thus the more sun, the more brilliant the colors. The best weather conditions are the same ones we enjoy in the fall – bright, cool days and chilly but not freezing nights. The slightest change – too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry – can slow the process or cause trees to lose their leaves before they change color.

Minnesota is fortunate to have many excellent places to view the changing season, from the northern hardwood forests along the North Shore to the prairie regions of the state. To get the latest information on when and where the fall colors are expected to be at their peak, check out the DNR’s website at www.mndnr.gov/fall_colors.

- Linda Radimecky, Fort Snelling State Park naturalist



DNR Question of the Week Archive