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.
Q: Someone told me that for the sake of birds, rice shouldn't be thrown outside after a wedding. Is this true? And is there a substitute for rice?
A: Instant rice is bad for a bird because it expands in its crop (throat) and can kill it. Some rice might be harmless to birds, but polluting sidewalks with rice is not recommended. Instead, use wild bird seed to throw at weddings. The seed will be cleaned up, naturally, within a few days and will also provide food for our feathered friends.
-Lori Naumann, DNR Nongame wildlife program information officer
Q: With nesting season over, what is the best method for cleaning out a bluebird house?
A: After birds are finished using the box remove all of the nesting material. If the box has a door, open it and leave it opened until spring. This way, rodents won’t chew on the door or the entrance hole to try to get in. If the box is soiled, spray a 10 percent bleach solution inside, wipe it out and let it dry. This should remove parasites and disinfect the box so it is ready for next year.
-Lori Naumann, DNR nongame wildlife program information officer
Q: Recently, the state Legislature made a change to allow open water waterfowl hunting for the first time in Minnesota since 1915. Why was the change made, and which bodies of water does it affect?
A: The change was made to provide a unique waterfowl hunting opportunity on a small number of lakes. Typically hunters in open water use layout boats, large decoy spreads and target diving ducks that often raft offshore. The bodies of water selected are large border waters (with the exception of Mille Lacs Lake) where open water hunting is already legal in the adjacent state/province and disturbance to ducks will be minimal. The other lakes are Lake of the Woods, Lake Superior, and Lake Pepin. On the Mississippi River south of Hastings, hunters must be in partially concealing vegetation or within 100 feet of the shoreline including islands, which is consistent with Wisconsin regulations on this stretch of river. On all these bodies of water, hunters must be at anchor.
-Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl staff specialist