Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo

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July 23, 2014
North Star State of Mind

As a researcher I fantasize about what the world would be like if I could stroll up to a field site and have all the species present step out in single-file fashion, nod their beak, snout or what have you, and slowly saunter back into the wilderness.

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November 22, 2011
Long-Tailed Duck at Nature Boardwalk

A female long-tailed duck has been paddling and flapping her way around Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo for the last week and a half, much to the delight of local bird watchers. Long-tailed ducks are named after the very long, slender tail feathers of the male ducks of this species.

These birds are fancy dressers in more ways than one.

November 3, 2011
Preparing the Island for Spring

This week zoo horticulturists and wildlife biologists teamed up to prepare the island at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo for spring 2012. It’s important to manage this habitat this far in advance because of some very special visitors we expect may return to the island around April of next year: black-crowned night herons.


Mike Davenport and Vicky Hunt pull the boat ashore.
October 27, 2011
Autumn Meadowhawks Arrive Fashionably Late

Autumn meadowhawks are appropriately named for their habit of being the last dragonflies seen moving through an area in fall. (Most dragonfly species are spotted during the warmer spring and summer months.)


Photo by Mason Fidino

We’ve been seeing lots of autumn meadowhawks flying at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo lately.

October 24, 2011
It's Raining Rubies!

Starting at the time of last week’s rain, dozens of ruby-crowned kinglets have graced us with their presence at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Ruby-crowned kinglets get their name from the ruby-red spot on top of the male’s head. As they flit about in the prairie grasses, these adorable, tiny birds add another splash of red color to the brilliant palette already on display in the boardwalk’s fall foliage.

October 14, 2011
Bullfrog Mid-Metamorphosis

Growing up is hard to do…imagine what it must be like for a bullfrog! To become an adult frog, a tadpole must undergo an astounding transformation called metamorphosis.

This bullfrog, spotted at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, is nearing the end of this process and is sporting brand new land-worthy limbs as a result.

October 5, 2011
Time to Get Out the Winter Clothes

In spring, the arrival of brilliant yellow American goldfinches is a welcome sign that warmer temperatures are on their way. In fall, on their return flight, so to speak, their stopovers are bittersweet reminders that winter is now just around the corner.

October 3, 2011
Migratory Bird Profile: Pied-Billed Grebe

Fall migration is in full swing at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Some highlights so far have been frequent sightings of a female belted kingfisher and tons of warblers in mixed-species flocks including orange-crowned, black-and-white, Nashville and Wilson's Warblers.

In coming weeks, I will profile several of the migratory species that are making their way through Nature Boardwalk. The pied-billed grebe seems like a good place to start!

September 28, 2011
Northern Map Turtle

A new turtle species has made its way to the pond at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Back in August, I spotted it for the first time under the Lester E. Fisher Bridge, hanging out in a patch of algae.

September 16, 2011
Pandorus Sphinx Moth

This spectacular, massive insect is a pandorus sphinx moth. If I didn't know better, I'd guess this was a bug found in tropical rainforests or a similar exotic locale, far away from the asphalt and skyscrapers of downtown Chicago. But amazing as it may seem, this insect is found right here in the city.

September 13, 2011
Trio of Cormorants

A trio of double-crested cormorants has graced us with their presence at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Last year we saw one on October 5, so this is the second year in a row we’ve seen these birds come through the ecosystem in the fall.

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