Feb 1, 2024
  • Land
  • Recreation
  • Wildlife
NWTF, Our Fiftieth and Beyond
by John Burk

The National Wild Turkey Federation is, and has been, considered a national leader in the nongovernmental conservation organization arena, especially as it relates to work with upland habitats, and, more specifically, the forested habitats that wild turkeys rely upon. Since their inception 50 years ago, Illinois chapters have been at the head of the pack in fund raising and putting dollars raised to work on the ground.

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Feb 1, 2024
  • Land
  • Research
  • Wildlife
The Role of Landscape Scale in Determining Mesopredator Abundances
by Nathan Proudman

Human modification of the natural landscape has been significant in the past century, with wild landscapes transformed into landscapes better fit for people. Transitional areas between agriculture and natural landscapes often create challenges for wildlife but not all species are negatively affected. Mesopredators, such as Virginia opossums, striped skunks and northern raccoons, have learned to navigate these complex environments safely.

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Feb 1, 2024
  • Land
  • Research
  • Wildlife
City Slickers: Coexistence strategies of coyotes and red foxes in the urban jungle
by Max Allen

Next time you’re strolling through Chicago, keep an eye out for more than just skyscrapers—coyotes and foxes are sharing our concrete wilderness. This study led by Alyson Cervantes sheds light on the secrets of the coexistence of these canids, adding a touch of wild drama to the urban scene. In the concrete jungle of the Windy City, these predators are not just surviving, they are thriving.

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Feb 1, 2024
  • Land
  • Recreation
  • Research
  • Wildlife
Where Did All These Things Come From?!
by Randy Smith

The continental population and range of “light geese,” a group of medium to small geese that breed in the Arctic and winter from central Illinois south to the Gulf of Mexico, shifted substantially in the last 40 years. Learn why the population jumped from historical populations around 750,000 to 1 million individuals to 10 million in the mid-1990s, and what that means for the Arctic ecosystem and goose hunters.

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Feb 1, 2024
  • Land
  • People
  • Recreation
  • Wildlife
A Brighter, Greener Future for Illinois: The IDNR Climate Action Plan
by Kathy Andrews Wright

Working in concert with a variety of partners, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is on track to reduce the agency’s carbon emissions to zero by 2050. In conjunction with the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center at the University of Illinois, more than 70 people from all facets of the agency developed a Climate Action Plan. Pilot projects will be undertaken to test new ideas before they are rolled out to the whole agency. The actions will create a brighter, greener future for IDNR and the people of Illinois.

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Feb 1, 2024
  • Land
  • Wildlife
The Barn Owl—Ghost of the Night
by Robert J. Reber

The large whitish, heart-shaped face of a barn owl, and light body color, separates it from the eight other species of owls occurring in Illinois. In addition to natural cavities, the once-endangered barn owl nests in farm buildings such as barns, cribs, and silos, as well as commercial grain elevators. Read here to learn more about the life history of the barn owl and what you might do to attract nesting owls to your property.

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Feb 1, 2024
  • Land
  • Wildlife
Spotted Lanternfly Spotted in Illinois
by Ryan Pankau, Tricia Bethke

On September 16, 2023, experts confirmed the arrival of a new invasive species in Illinois with the first documented occurrence of the spotted lanternfly. That insect was located in Cook County. Winter (January-March) is the best time to hunt for spotted lanternfly egg masses on trees, when the leaves are off and egg masses are easy to spot and remove. Destroying spotted lanternfly eggs before they hatch can help to reduce the number of adults and control the spread of this invasive pest.

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Feb 1, 2024
  • Land
  • People
  • Wildlife
Meet the Staff: Ross Albert, District Wildlife Biologist
by Kaleigh Gabriel

Through his role as a District Wildlife Biologist for Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Albert’s devotion to a career in conservation will continue. Within his assigned counties of Brown, Morgan, Pike and Scott, Albert will also oversee the improvement of many public land sites.

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Feb 1, 2024
  • Land
  • Wildlife
Start with One Yard: Bringing Back Beneficial Insects
by Laura Kammin

Goldfinches fly away to escape the cold. Woodchucks hibernate in underground burrows, safe from the snow. But most butterflies, bees and other insects must find ways to survive the winter with the cover that is available nearby. Leaf litter, standing flower stalks, and peeling bark can all be literal life savers—if they are allowed to remain on the landscape.

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Feb 1, 2024
  • Land
  • Recreation
  • Wildlife
Lessons Learned from My Love Affair with the Owls
by Gretchen Steele

In the quiet corners of the grasslands at Pyramid State Recreation Area, where the owls gaze upon the world, I found a subject for my lens and a lifelong companion. My love affair with short-eared owls became a journey of self-discovery, a voyage into the heart of nature, and an odyssey of lessons that continue to unfold each passing season.

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Welcome to the November 2023 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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