Coming in April — Walk with me and my husband to see the annual spring dance of woodcocks. Crazy aerial courtships displays! It’s April 6. sign up through the Chicago Botanic Garden. https://register.chicagobotanic.org/tickets/show.asp
What did our oak woodlands look like before settlers came in? Learn that and more at this up and coming workshop:
“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Wherever a mature oak grows, its fruits – the acorns – often can be found scattered on the forest floor. Because rarely does an oak tree produce more than a few acorns before age 20 and since it can take as many as 100 years for a tree to reach peak acorn production, acorns symbolize perseverance and patience. Able to live 150, 200 or even 500 years, oaks tie Americans to their heritage like no other tree species.
Wildflower Magazine published this and other stories about stately trees in a recent issue. I’m the author of the article about the mighty oak.
Take a look: Perfect trees
It won’t overwhelm you like the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls. It’s not as big as Yellowstone Park. In fact, it’s probably not as large as a nearby forest preserve.
But to some, the 93-acre Dokum Mskoda Sedge Meadow Nature Preserve in Lake County is even more beautiful than a tropical rain forest, and to protect its rareness and subtle beauty, it was recently designated an Illinois State Nature Preserve.
The photo below was provided courtesy of the Liberty Prairie Conservancy
It’s not only the time of year for humans to express their love. Great horned owls are doing the same, hooting at each other with their deep voices. By now, some female great horned owls are already sitting on eggs, which will hatch in a few months.
For more about these fascinating night-time creatures, see my article in TribLocal.
The photo below was provided to TribLocal by Joan Sayre. All rights reserved.
TribNation, which tells readers how we journalists get our stories, asked me to write about the snakes in the wine chiller feature.
Let me know: Do you love snakes or hate them?
Hey, how about a photo of a bucket of snakes for all those afraid of reptiles? Here ya go:
Here’s my latest nature story in the Chicago Tribune.
Dozens of snakes slumbering the winter away underneath abandoned railroad tracks faced a wake-up call that could have proved fatal.
A construction crew was preparing to repair the tracks near the decommissioned Zion Nuclear Power Station — work that would have disrupted their hibernation and exposed them to the frigid cold of a winter’s morning.
But thanks to two biologists and a schoolteacher with a warm spot for reptiles, nearly 200 garter, brown and western fox snakes have a new temporary home — a 6-foot-tall wine chiller in Lake Forest. The snakes now occupy the dark cool spaces usually reserved for fine chardonnays and cabernets.
For more, click here.
Some of the largest numbers of crows can be found in winter roosting in Danville, Illinois. Each year they get counted around Christmastime, and typically the numbers are 100,000 to 200,000 or more. This roost number actually dropped when West Nile virus first came — giving folks a new appreciation for these loud, dark birds that are actually among the smartest of avian species.
For more, click here.