Currents: Carrol Henderson, supervisor of Minnesota’s Nongame Wildlife Program
Today: Carrol Henderson has been an employee of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) since 1974 and supervisor of the statewide Nongame Wildlife Program since 1977. Henderson has had a long career as a champion of Minnesota conservation.
I recently have been more occupied with writing than reading. I have been finishing development of a DNR conservation and management plan for restoration of common loons and pelicans lost to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. The plan will utilize funds paid by British Petroleum. The plan includes shoreline habitat preservation on some of our best coldwater cisco lakes in north-central Minnesota; development of a registry of lake associations who will agree to implement loon conservation and management actions to promote their production; encourage anglers to use nontoxic fishing tackle to avoid poisoning loons with lost lead jigs and sinkers; and monitoring of the birds populations.
There also is a project to divert pelicans from nesting on a shoreland-cropland site in Minnesota and back onto their previously used island rookery. Decisions on the allocation of money could be announced by midsummer, with funding beginning by mid-2019.
My wife, Ethelle, and I just returned from leading our 32nd annual birding trip in February to Costa Rica. Since then I have been summarizing our observations of more than 300 bird species with my previous notes from Costa Rica. I now have all of my bird sightings in Costa Rica since 1987 in a database of more than 28,000 sightings sorted by species, location, date, global positioning system, and elevation. This data is being made available to conservationists who are looking for information, such as that about the primary wintering areas of neotropical migrant birds like the golden-winged warbler.
Over the years we have led birding trips throughout Latin America, New Zealand, Tanzania and Kenya. We lead a couple birding trips each year. Last October we led a trip to Patagonia that was most amazing! We saw right whales, Magellanic penguins, elephant seals, black-necked swans, and Magellanic woodpeckers. The highlight was spending several days in mountains of Torres del Paine National Park in Chile photographing several pumas that were accustomed to the presence of humans. Were planning a birding trip to Colombia in January 2019.
I enjoy photography especially wildlife of Minnesota and Latin America. I use many of my Minnesota photos to promote wildlife conservation and donations to the nongame program through the checkoff on Minnesota tax forms. I have also used my photos in four field guides I have written on the wildlife of Costa Rica and in more recent books such as Oology and Ralphs Talking Eggs and Feeding Wild Birds in America.
I enjoy giving presentations (25 to 30 a year) about loons, trumpeter swans, nature photography, birding destinations, and conservation topics. Over my 45-year career I have given more than 1,200 presentations to audiences not only in Minnesota, but in Alaska, Florida, Jamaica, Mexico and Venezuela and also to students in Harbin, China, and Blagoveshchensk in eastern Russia.