Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo

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February 24, 2014
Sharing Notes on Urban Wildlife

For the past few years the Urban Wildlife Institute has been chronicling the diversity of wildlife at Nature Boardwalk and Lincoln Park Zoo. We use motion-triggered camera traps to collect photographs of mammals (coyotes, raccoons, etc.), conduct visual observations of birds and butterflies, and even deploy hoop-net traps to monitor the turtle populations in our ponds.

Older Stories

June 12, 2012
Plant of the Week: Lanceleaf Coreopsis

 
As if summoned by royal decree, Coreopsis lanceolata has rapidly mustered its lances like shining knights circling the round table of the pond at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Its shimmering, yellow, daisy-like flowers currently dominate the site and will dazzle through early summer.

June 4, 2012
Red-Winged Blackbirds Fledging at Nature Boardwalk

Breeding season is upon us at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Baby snapping turtles have been spotted, adult dragonflies are often seen flying in tandem and numerous swallow species, sparrows, and, of course, black-crowned night herons are nesting in or around the area.

One of the more recognizable bird species nesting at Nature Boardwalk this year is the red-winged blackbird. The males of this species are easily identified by the red shoulder patches on their wings while the females are more the color of this fledgling I spotted on Nature Boardwalk’s southwest side.

May 31, 2012
Plant of the Week: Golden Alexanders

 
Golden alexanders, found in sunny locations throughout the Nature Boardwalk site, is a native perennial prevalent in damp woods and meadows, thickets, glades and prairies. It features flat-topped clusters of tiny yellow flowers bunched atop stems. Both basal (base of the stem) and stem leaves are compound biternate (divided in three) with toothed leaflets.

May 25, 2012
A Sora Stops Off

The sora is a secretive water bird that often spends its time in tall vegetation in freshwater marshes and wetlands. This individual was first spotted at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo in the middle of March, about two weeks earlier than wildlife biologists saw one in 2011. The warmer winter this year could be a potential reason why this member of the Rallidae family was spotted sooner than expected.

April 24, 2012
False Indigo Flourishing at Nature Boardwalk

Prairie and native plants are now emerging for the season at Nature Boardwalk. One of these, false indigo (Babtisia australis), looks to be even more robust this year.

Like most of the prairie plants with more of their biomass below ground, false indigo spends its first few years developing a substantial root system before showing off significant above-ground growth.

April 6, 2012
Where Are the Bunnies?
 
Did it seem like there were fewer cottontail rabbits around this winter than there were a few years ago? It certainly seemed that way to me. Rabbits are known to have cyclic populations, reproducing rapidly, increasing to enormous densities and then crashing to a low before rising yet again.
March 28, 2012
The Pond from a Snapping Turtle’s Point of View

A radio transmitter will let scientists track this snapping turtle at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo--just as they've tracked painted turtles at the pond since 2010!

Lincoln Park Zoo biologists have been tracking painted turtles at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo since September 2010.

March 19, 2012
Black-Crowned Night Herons Arrive Early

Black-crowned night herons have returned to Lincoln Park! On Wednesday, March 14, we saw the first three adults resting in some trees on the island in the pond at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo.

In previous years, adult black-crowned night herons have arrived at Nature Boardwalk around the beginning of April.

February 28, 2012
Bunnies Are Homebodies

Each rabbit is tagged with a unique number. The ear tag on the left is red, indicating the rabbit was seen in 2012. Photo by Marian Vernon.

February 10, 2012
What Do Bees Do in Winter?

A honeybee during warmer weather.

The brown and gray terrain of a winter garden or natural area such as Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo may not appear to be very lively.

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