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Prescribed burns may continue at Horicon into May
by Pam Rotella
1 May 2014

HORICON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, WISCONSIN - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service temporarily closed the floating boardwalk and auto tour on Good Friday, asking visitors to leave the area. Crews were visible along Highway 49, starting fires near the auto tour entrance.

Steve Lenz of FWS at Horicon said that the prescribed burns were designed to cut back on cool-season grasses, to make way for warm-season grasses that birds use for habitat. According to Lenz, because the nesting season has been delayed by this year's cold weather, burns may continue into May.

Prescribed burn at Horicon, visible from Highway 49.  Photo by Pam Rotella
Prescribed burn at Horicon Marsh, visible from Highway 49 near the auto tour, 18 April 2014. Photo by Pam Rotella.

After the burns were complete and the auto tour reopened, birds could be seen returning.

Canada Geese were swimming in the prescribed burn area later in the day.  Photo by Pam Rotella
Canada Geese were seen swimming in the area of the prescribed burn later in the day, 18 April 2014. Photo by Pam Rotella

An AmericanCoot swims in an area previously burned at Horicon Marsh.  Photo by Pam Rotella
A coot swim in a previously burned area at Horicon Marsh, 18 April 2014. Photo by Pam Rotella

In an area near the burn, trumpeter swans could be seen swimming in their usual nesting area.

Trumpeter Swans swim near the burned area in Horicon Marsh, 18 April 2014.  Photo by Pam Rotella
Trumpeter swans have returned to their nesting area and were swimming near the burned area, 18 April 2014. Photo by Pam Rotella

Along a closed trail near the burn, DAR whooping crane "Grasshopper" appeared to be watching the swans as he foraged with other birds.

DAR whooping crane grasshopper and other birds near the burn area in Horicon Marsh, 18 April 2014.  Photo by Pam Rotella
DAR whooping crane "grasshopper," his sandhill companion, and Canada geese forage near the burn area, 18 April 2014. Photo by Pam Rotella

All original content including photographs © 2014 by Pam Rotella.