By Mdf - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Meet Your Orange, Black, Golden Yellow Neighbors

Few people realize that a fairly obscure Englishman nobleman named Cecil Calvert, (1605 – 1675) is directly responsible for the name of a major American city, the name of major league baseball team, and the name of a familiar neighborhood songbird. In today’s world Cecil Calvert is celebrated as Lord Baltimore. And, for the next several … Read more

Meet Your Neighbors: Nighthawks

By Jack MacRae The nighthawks are dining.  They appear at dusk in our October skies, swooping, darting and snatching bugs in their big mouths.  As neotropical migrants, nighthawks are on their way to Argentina where they’ll hang with the gauchos for the winter. Common nighthawks are slim, medium sized birds with big black eyes, long wings and short legs.  Their … Read more


Meet Your Neighbors: Do Birds Poop in the Woods?

by Jack MacRae Most birds do their best to maintain a tidy nest.  Removing eggshells, stray feathers, and bits of food is serious business for avian parents.  And of course, there is loads of excrement. Some baby birds defecate every time they eat, up to 13 times a day.  Fortunately, nature provides disposable bags to help with housekeeping.  Fecal sacs are … Read more

Meet Your Neighbors: The Duck with a Golden Eye

By Jack MacRae Goldeneyes don’t dabble. They are diving ducks with a talent of Olympic proportion. They’re synchronous divers. When feeding, all the birds in one section of a flock may dive at the same time. They swim to the bottom of lakes and rivers in search of crunchy food. Analyses of their stomach contents … Read more

Great Blue Heron

Birds, Bales and Waters of the United States

When Illinois became a state in 1818, 8 million acres of wetlands or 23% of the state’s land area provided critical habitat for a wide variety of mammals, birds, fish, mussels, amphibians, and insects. Today only 1.2 million acres remain. 90% of Illinois’ wetlands have been destroyed! The new administration’s attempt to roll back the … Read more