I watched the movie “The Big Year” recently and really enjoyed it — in spite of the bad reviews.
It’s the story of three birdwatchers (played by Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson) who are competing to see the most species in the U.S. in a calendar year.
I used to be a fairly avid birder and even held the record for a short time for a “big day” in Dakota County. (A big day’s like a big year. But shorter.)
Watching the movie and reminiscing about my birding days made me think about dusting off the binocs this spring and taking it a little more seriously.
That made me wonder about all the other birders around the lake, and how easy it would be nowadays to report on the birds everyone’s seeing.
And that made me think I’d set up a Facebook page for Mille Lacs birders to post species they’re seeing this spring. So I did.
Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mille-Lacs-area-birders/230445020386124 and hit “like.” (When I get more likes, I can choose an easiser url.)
When you see new species this spring, post them on the wall. If you’re not on Facebook, email bird sightings to email@example.com or call them in to (320) 676-3123.
Good things happening
Our website is not keeping up with our needs or meeting our changing standards as the Internet continues to improve, so we’re in the process of a significant upgrade of both the Messenger and Aitkin Independent Age sites. The launch should occur in April or May, and you’re gonna like the results.
We’re also trying to do more with our Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you haven’t liked us on Facebook yet, please go to http://www.facebook.com/millelacs and click “like.” You’ll get links to new stories posted on the website. While you’re at it, go to http://www.facebook.com/wallyfinn and like Wally’s page, too. We’ll be using it more and more for links to fishing reports, videos, etc.
If you also enjoy our sister paper to the north, visit http://www.facebook.com/aitkinage and click “like.”Ice-out contest
I came across an old Wally Finn column from 1982 in which he said an old 1910 paper said the ice went out on March 31. Since 1979, the earliest was April 2 in 2000.
Since we haven’t had an ice-out contest for a long time, we thought we’d revive the tradition this year.
We’re going to use the contest to draw you to our Facebook page. Go to http://www.facebook.com/millelacs to post your prediction on our wall.
Predictions need to be for the date and for “a.m.” (midnight to noon) or “p.m.” (noon to midnight).
If there’s more than one who chooses the right date and time, we’ll draw the winning names.
The winner will receive $50 in chamber bucks for Isle or Onamia, and the next two will get a free subscription to the Messenger.
Since it might go fast, the deadline to enter is this Friday, March 23, at midnight!
Huskie high five
Finally, congrats to the Isle girls on a great season and memorable trip to the state tournament. I was lucky enough to see a couple games this year and was impressed by the Huskies’ speed, fundamentals, competitiveness, and wonderful smiles. Watching them grow and succeed over the years reminded this old curmudgeon of the value of sports and the exuberance and vitality of youth — something we can all aim to emulate, regardless of our age.
Brett Larson is the editor of the Messenger.