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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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.

February 3, 2012
An Unexpected, but Welcome, Visitor

An unexpected visitor has made its way over to the pond at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. This gorgeous male wood duck was spotted paddling about in the open water just last week. Spotting this bird, with his exuberantly colorful plumage, is sure to brighten even the dreariest winter day. This flashy duck draws your eyes with iridescent greens and purples, a spotted chest and a flamboyant crest that extends out from the back of his head.

January 12, 2012
Black-Crowned Night Herons Stop Over

Black-crowned night herons have been spotted on the island at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo as recently as Tuesday. While a few herons resting in the trees from time to time pales in comparison to the rambunctious colony that made its home at the site last year, these occasional visitors are of interest because they represent a new development.

January 9, 2012
Christmas-Morning Coyotes

Wildlife cameras reveal that a variety of creatures were stirring at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo on the night before Christmas this year, including this pair of coyotes. This photo was taken on 12/25/11 at 3:09 a.m. by a motion-triggered wildlife camera positioned in a grassy area near the pond at Nature Boardwalk.

As this photo highlights, coyotes are active mainly at night in urban areas.

December 20, 2011
What Do Painted Turtles Do in Winter?

Painted turtles in climates like ours hunker down for winter and don’t emerge until the sun is out and plants are sprouting again in the spring. On particularly cold, blustery winter days, I tend to think that isn’t a bad plan!

Painted turtles bask at Nature Boardwalk in this photo from April 2011.

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