Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo

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September 12, 2014
Black-Crowned Night Herons Thriving

Last winter the Chicago Park District, after consulting with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Urban Wildlife Institute, made the very difficult decision to remove a number of trees south of Nature Boardwalk in Lincoln Park. Many of these trees were ash that suffered terrible damage at the hands (well, actually mouths) of the emerald ash borer beetle, and became safety concerns.

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December 1, 2010
Blue-Winged Teal Makes Stopover at Nature Boardwalk

Many of us travel this time of year for holidays, so it’s fitting that we recently had a migratory bird stopover at Nature Boardwalk. From November 9–16 we saw a female blue-winged teal (Anas discors) swimming around the pond with a flock of mallards.

Blue-winged teals are common dabbling ducks in North America, where they are second in abundance only to the familiar mallards we see all the time at Nature Boardwalk.

November 19, 2010
Nature Boardwalk Nightlife

When you think of Chicago nightlife, the many restaurants and clubs of downtown Chicago probably come to mind. However, the scientists in the zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute are interested in a different sort of nightlife. We study the wildlife that live in urban areas, and many of these animals are nocturnal, meaning that they are mostly active at night.

November 12, 2010
100 to 1

The other day, as I was tallying American crows at Nature Boardwalk (all the birds at Nature Boardwalk are counted each weekday) my count was suddenly and dramatically disrupted. The crows started frantically flying off in all directions, making quite a ruckus.

What was going on? At first, I had no idea what all the fuss was about. After a few minutes, the flock (also known as a “murder”) of approximately 100 crows settled back down on the patch of grass they had previously occupied, and I resumed my count.

November 5, 2010
Whose Footprints Are These?

Today I found these footprints at Nature Boardwalk under the Lester E. Fisher Bridge. Can you guess what animal left these tracks?

November 3, 2010
Soaring Sunflowers

Sawtooth sunflowers at Nature Boardwalk have grown over 5 feet tall in as many months! These plants started out as tiny plugs back in the spring, and now I’ve seen sawtooth sunflowers around the pond that are taller than me (5’4”)!

Some of the tallest of these plants were knocked over due to the high winds we’ve been having in these last few weeks. However, this sort of thing is natural.

October 28, 2010
What’s That?

Can you tell what this picture is of? And no, it isn’t robot armor or a Martian’s appendage, which is what it reminds me of… This is a photo of an ordinary sight that can be found on any given day at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. The photo has just been zoomed in and cropped. Have a guess? Scroll down to see if you’re right.

That is the leg of a grasshopper.

October 25, 2010
Basking at the Boardwalk

Humans aren’t the only ones enjoying the warm, sunny fall weather we’ve been having at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Today there were three painted turtles basking on the partially submerged branches around the pond’s island. If you look closely, you can see that the one turtle photographed is taking in the sun and stretching out his back legs.

October 21, 2010
It’s Fall: Time for More Fish!

There are two seasons for fish stocking: spring and fall. Back in the spring we introduced the first batch of fish into the pond at Nature Boardwalk, consisting of bluegill, pumpkinseed and fathead minnows. Now it’s time to introduce the second batch, which includes largemouth bass, the pond’s top predator.

October 19, 2010
What’s Swimming Through the Shallows?

We stocked the pond at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo with fish in July, and we’re already seeing successful reproduction! Bluegill, pumpkinseed and fathead minnows have all produced fry (baby fish).


Fish fry in the waters of Nature Boardwalk.

To see these fish—the first generation since the pond’s transformation—look in shallow areas with some shade.

October 15, 2010
Bird Watching At the Pond

The migratory bird season is upon us, and we’ve been seeing all kinds of exciting new birds visiting Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Here are some of the species we observed just last week.

American Coot
The pond at Nature Boardwalk is the perfect place for this bird to rest and refuel, as its preferred habitat is wetlands with emergent vegetation around the edges.

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