Chicago Park District
The Chicago Park District's Urban Naturalist blog features great stories and topics about outdoor and environmental programs, policies, and initiatives. The Park District strives to encourage all our patrons to connect to the natural world and works to develop awareness, appreciation, knowledge and stewardship of the natural resources within the city of Chicago.
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Winter Highlights at the North Park Village Nature Preserve
Mar 05, 2013
In January, black and gray Snowbirds, white and gray Chickadees, steel-blue and white Nuthatches blend into the North Park Village Nature Center woodland color palate, but the flamboyant Cardinal dots the trees with brilliant red plumage. A hike through the snow, or even through mud, reveals a world of wildlife; now out of sight, they’re waiting for their turn on the preserve trails after you leave. Do you know who’s been on the North Park Village Nature Preserve by looking at the tracks?
Later this winter we learn if the Great Horned Owl pair in the North Park Village Nature Preserve are parents. If they are, dad will bring the hatchlings yummy meals of White-footed Mice. Should the weather warm up for a day or two, Mourning Cloak butterflies will unfurl from their overwintering tree bark crevices to enjoy the sunlight, then flutter back for protection from the inevitable return of cold.
A few weeks ago, sap began rising in maple trees and trickling into suspended jugs. Now, on a sunny day in March, the sap flows so readily that the jugs require frequent emptying. Red-winged Blackbirds welcome spring with their usual rude behavior of dive-bombing anyone who walks around the North Park Village Nature Preserve's wetland. But don’t be offended, they’re just protecting their nests from perceived predators – us!