Ask the Expert

Wisconsin State Farmer
This snowy owl was spotted sitting on the fence post on Red River and Lincoln Townline Road. These birds prefer open areas such as farmland, beaches and break walls.

Q: Where can I see snowy owls in Wisconsin?

A: Snowy owls are back and I have seen several reports of them throughout the state. These birds prefer open areas such as farmland, beaches and break walls. They are also often found at airports. Snowy owls are regularly seen at places such as Horicon, as well as in harbors and break walls along Lake Michigan. Buena Vista Grasslands is also a popular viewing spot. When searching for snowy owls, be sure to scan the tops of silos and telephone poles, as well as the ground,  as these are their favorite hunting locations.

Q: I saw a pileated woodpecker at my feeder. Are these birds rare?

A: While not rare, it is a treasure to see a pileated woodpecker as these birds are quite wary and, despite their large size, can easily hide in the forest as we walk past. In fact, these crow-sized woodpeckers will often just move to the far side of a tree as you walk through the woods. These birds prefer larger tracts of deciduous forests, though they appear to be adapting quite well to urban areas and backyards. They will feed on suet feeders and other types of food, including whole peanuts provided at backyard feeders.

Q: My roses are still blooming. Should I be worried?

A: Looking at the forecast, there is no reason for concern over the next few weeks. Just enjoy the blooms. Feel free to mulch up at any time, depending upon your schedule. I've noticed many new buds forming on roses, even after a few chilly nights last week.

Q: Is it too late to transplant ferns?

A: As long as the soil is workable, and with the plentiful rains we are receiving this week, you should be fine to move the ferns.