Wild turkey hens with newly hatched young poults are still being seen. Nests I have observed or heard about are each a simple depression of dead leaves, on dry ground, in a forested area. Typically eight to 15 eggs (smaller clutches by younger birds) are laid in May or early June. Incubation is by the female alone, and starts after the last egg is laid, and usually takes 28 days.
The new poults — small bundles of fluff — are able to run soon after hatching and can make short flights at two weeks old. Growing up quickly is an advantage. Although they feed on seeds, nuts, berries and insects on the ground, wild turkeys roost in trees at night, which is a much safer place. Cared for by the hen, the young birds remain with her through the coming winter, and then set out to live as adults on their own.
If you missed the lilac shrub bloom in southern Minnesota in mid-May and ending about Memorial Day, or just want to experience lilac fragrance and visual beauty a second time this year, head for the North Shore of Lake Superior. Also blooming at this time in the cooler climate area are native wildflowers such as starflower, bunchberry and the moccasin-flower. In addition a garden escapee, the non-native lupine with its multicolored flowers growing in dense clusters is now blooming. Lupine is a native of the western states. When in bloom it lines the roadsides with a dazzling display of mostly blue, purple and pink. A beautiful plant, lupine has elongated spikes of pea-like flowers, palmate leaves and stands more than 2 feet tall. Large patches of blooming lupines are impressive not only along the North Shore but also inland, but there is a big downside: Lupines crowd out native plants.
Not counting seconds, our longest daylight days of the year are from June 20 to 25. On June 26, the first minute of daylight is lost. Birds begin singing about 4:30 a.m., American robins first. Young house wrens, song sparrows, blue jays, northern cardinals and Baltimore orioles are fledging (leaving their nests). Adult Canada geese are quite vulnerable now having lost their flight feathers during the annual molt. Look for them to be flying again close to July 20 or soon after.
Juneberry (also called serviceberry) fruit is ripening and is good eating for many birds and other wildlife and humans. In northern Minnesota, especially the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Wilderness and Superior Hiking Trail, the black flies are numerous and bothersome, so bring head nets to protect yourself. The large green luna moths show up around night lights. Minnesota lakes have been warming and many are in the low 70s. The cutoff for safe swimming is 70 degrees.