April 2021

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Illinois Department of Natural Resources
April 2021
Apr 14, 2021
  • Land
  • Wildlife
Wild Turkey—Improving Habitat for the Wild Turkey and Current Research Activities
By Kathy Andrews Wright

Want to attract wild turkeys to your property? Listen in to a Q&A on wild turkey habitat with Luke Garver from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

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A photo of Mike Wefer
A message from Chief Mike Wefer

Welcome to the February 1, 2021 edition of the online magazine OutdoorIllinois Journal, featuring timely, seasonally based stories about the Prairie State’s wildlife resources, with an expansion of content to include a broader range of subjects—including endangered and threatened species and Illinois’ unique, high-quality habitats and the people working to preserve, protect and manage these resources.

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February 2021
Feb 24, 2021
  • Wildlife
Birds of Prairie Ridge State Natural Area
By Kathy Andrews Wright

Bob Gillespie from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources joins us for a Q&A on grassland birds of Prairie Ridge State Natural Area. Listen in to learn tips for planning a trip at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area and more.

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Feb 23, 2021
  • Wildlife
Greater Prairie-chicken in Illinois
By Kathy Andrews Wright

Bob Gillespie from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources joins us for a Q&A on the Greater Prairie-chicken. Listen in to learn some of the brief history of the greater prairie-chicken and more.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Wildlife
Celebrating the Success of the Interior Least Tern
By Kathy Andrews Wright

January 12, 2021 was a day worth celebrating in the world of endangered species. On that day, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service formally announced that on February 12, 2021 the interior least tern would be stricken from the federal endangered species list.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Wildlife
We All Have a Role in Bolstering the Illinois Monarch
By Kathy Andrews Wright

Whether you reside in an urban, suburban or rural area, the work to bolster the monarch population is something each and every Illinois citizen can participate in. Read on to discover how you can give monarch butterflies a boost.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Recreation
Post-season Deer Scouting is a Great Mid-winter Activity
By Dan Stephens

While the most valuable information a hunter can rely on is their observations during the hunt, post-season scouting can provide useful information. It is not too early to begin preparations for the fall deer hunt.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Wildlife
The Workmanship of a Bald Eagle Nest
By Pam Otto

In late fall, we met to admire the structure from a distance while one of the builders eyed us from a branch. It looked like a Volkswagen Beetle slung upside down in a tree. An old-style Bug, that is. Dark brown in color. Oh, and made of sticks.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Land
The Illinois Natural Division System Classifies Illinois’ Ecological Variety
By Kathy Andrews Wright

In 1973, after extensively reviewing scientific records prepared by scientists, and crisscrossing the state himself, botanist John Schwegman led the effort to publish The Natural Divisions of Illinois.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Recreation
Growing Illinois’ Public Access Program
By Tammy Miller

Lack of access is one of the biggest issues facing sportsmen and women today. Fortunately, in 2010, a new federal access grant in the USDA’s farm bill called the Voluntary Public Access Habitat Incentive Program was announced.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Wildlife
The American Crow
By Valerie Blaine

At dawn on the winter solstice, I stepped outside to look for crows. The first raucous “Caw!” came within four minutes of sunrise. Over the years, I have watched crows, I have listened to crows, I have hunted them, and I have eaten them. In short, I am a fan.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Land
IDNR to Use Regional Conservation Partnership Program Grant to Build Soil Health
By Bob Caveny

By building soil health on state-owned lands, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources plans to demonstrate regenerative agriculture while assessing how cover crops benefit overwintering wildlife.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Research
Female White-tailed Deer Selection and Retention of Birth Sites
By Charles Nixon

Pregnant female deer are known to seek out areas to give birth that offer protection from predators. Research sheds light on characteristics and retention of birth sites.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Land
Partnership Effort Expands Services at Witkowsky State Wildlife Area
By Kathy Andrews Wright

Within the landscape of northwestern Illinois’ Witkowksy State Wildlife Area, a partnership effort has been creating 10 miles of trails where visitors can explore an ancient countryside that is unlike anything else in Illinois.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Wildlife
Coopers Hawk
By Robert J. Reber

Living in one locale for more than 70 years has its advantages. One of the pluses is seeing a once usual bird of your youth that became uncommon during your middle age become more common once again. Such is the case with the Cooper’s hawk.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Recreation
  • Wildlife
Wilson’s Snipe—It’s Real, Not Just a Running Joke
By Kevin Wright

The prank dates back to the mid-1800s. Undoubtedly you have heard of the running joke ‘sending them on a snipe hunt.’ Seriously, snipe are real and can be found working grassy shorelines across North America.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Wildlife
Good Natured: How Many Animals Died Due to The Cold?
By Pam Otto

Some species respond to the coming winter by migrating, others hibernate and many remain active. In nature, death is a daily occurrence, but some animals survive to perpetuate the population in the spring.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Wildlife
Fox Squirrel
By Robert J. Reber

Found particularly in rural areas, the common fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) is found statewide. Some live in urban environments, but not to the extent that gray squirrels do. Read further to learn more.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Recreation
Prepare for the Turkey Hunt
By Eric Bumgarner

Turkey season is just around the corner and it is time to make your plans, prepare your equipment, and scout your hunting area. Use this article as a checklist for the pre-season preparation needed for a successful hunt.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • People
Land Conservation Specialists Assist Landowners Navigate Farm Bill Conservation Programs
By Justin J. Shew

Although many workshops and field days exist throughout the state of Illinois to improve education on practices and programs related to private land conservation programs, one-on-one landowner support remains a key service provided by Land Conservation Specialists.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • People
Meet the Staff: Sam Klimas, District Wildlife Biologist
By Kathy Andrews Wright

Growing up in the St. Paul, Minnesota area, Sam Klimas enjoyed hunting and fishing. When it came time to choose a career he wanted one that blended his personal interests with working with animals in outdoors.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • People
Meet the Staff: Maureen Hurd, District Wildlife Biologist
By Kathy Andrews Wright

Maureen Hurd has been captivated by birds and other wildlife her entire life. During her childhood the discovery of a barn swallow nest under the porch led to more nest searching, which inspired her to seek a career in wildlife biology and management.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Wildlife
Shorebirds in the Illinois River Valley
By Luke Malanchuk, Mike Ward, Aaron P. Yetter

Shorebirds are notoriously long-distance migrants, and refueling areas are essential during these energetically taxing trips. The midwestern United States is an important region that provides many of these stopover wetlands.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • People
Mississippi Flyway Council
By Benjamin Williams

Political boundaries do not mean much to a bird, but they can significantly impact how wildlife managers are able to regulate populations and habitat. States and provinces along the route of migrating birds coordinate management efforts through the Flyway Council System.

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Feb 1, 2021
  • Wildlife
Creature Feature: Voles
By Laura Kammin

When talking about runways, many people envision planes landing at busy airports or maybe models strutting the latest fashions, but a biologist or gardener is just as likely to think: VOLES. Why? Read on to learn more.

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