Looking out my window, the snow has stopped and the squirrels are celebrating. One is descending a tree limb, snow flying in his wake like a snowboarder on a rail. Our new puppy, Fargo, having met snow for the first time, has his nose buried in a snow bank, prospecting for sticks and other hidden treasures.
Fresh snow adds depth to the Driftless Wisconsin landscape. I’m not talking about white stuff up to your ankles. I’m talking contrast. Suddenly that deer hiding in the woods pops out, as if painted there on white canvas.
Reminds me of the days of my youth when televisions still had a contrast button. You could turn the knob and sharpen the image of the Lone Ranger chasing bad guys on his white horse every Saturday morning.
No adjustment needed for winter in Driftless Wisconsin. The contrast is just fine, thank you.
Unlike the flatlands where winter landscapes stretch to the horizon, Driftless Wisconsin offers another dimension. Towering bluffs, wooded hillsides, and rolling farm fields, draped in white linen, rise up and insist you take notice.
My favorite winter scenes are on the river roads; highway 35 along the Mississippi and highway 131 following the Kickapoo. The rivers look deceptively calm this time of year, covered with ice and broken by occasional stretches of open water. River bluffs rise from either bank, offering overlooks of the river to visitors and eagles alike.
We can imagine the “bird’s eye” view of the eagle soaring over these magnificent landscapes. Or we can simply watch the eagles instead. Eagles, absent of summer’s foliage, are also more visible this time of year. They can be seen perched along the river near open water, waiting for their next meal.
Two upcoming events celebrate the eagle’s prominent place in Driftless Wisconsin. Prairie du Chien will observe its annual Bald Eagle Appreciation Days on February 27 – 28. You’ll be able to see six raptors from the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center; impressive from a distance, even more so up close and personal. See a life-size eagle’s nest and take a look for eagles outside through one of the spotting scopes.
Ferryville, situated on the banks of the mighty Mississippi, will celebrate Bald Eagle Day on March 7. The annual event will feature a live eagle program and plenty of activities for the kids. Lois the Owl will also be present, supervising the always popular hooting contest. And Chloris Lowe of the Ho-Chunk Nation will talk about the importance of the eagle to Native American culture.
Of course there are birds of all kinds visible during the winter in Driftless Wisconsin. The Kickapoo Valley Reserve Bird Club will welcome all to the Reserve’s Visitor Center on February 14 for the . Club members will explain the world-wide event, help count birds at the feeder, andGreat Backyard Bird Count assist with identification of birds observed through binoculars and spotting scopes.
With so many things to see and do during the winter in Driftless Wisconsin, you’ll hate to see spring arrive. Well, maybe not, but it makes the wait more enjoyable.