A flock of hundreds of snow geese fill the sky
Spring Migrations Snow geese and other species arrive at Emiquon. © Michael Wilhelm

Stories in Illinois

Illinois Nature Notes

Find out which plants and wildlife you can spot this month!

Snow goose migration is in full swing at Emiquon, where it is not uncommon to see flocks of birds up to 100,000 strong, and American bald eagles spiral and chase each other mid-air as they begin courtship rituals that will hopefully lead to building nests near Sister Creek.

In the Cache River Wetlands, flying squirrels and other wildlife give birth to their babies, wild turkeys begin nesting, ospreys migrating through are highly visible, mourning cloak and spring azure butterflies begin to flitter, black morels pop up in the woods and bright yellow swamp buttercup and shoots of green featherfoil emerge from the swamps.

While the frost is melting at Nachusa Grasslands, prairie and woodland prescribed fires sweep the landscape and revitalize the soil and seed beds for another growing season.

 

A bald eagle lands on ice with its wings outspread.
Bald eagles March is courtship season for bald eagles. © Nathan Lovas/The Nature Conservancy

Great Plains pocket gophers are busy digging up new mounds at Kankakee Sands, while bluebirds arrive and red-headed woodpeckers begin building nests.

As the ice thaws at Spunky Bottoms, waterfowl such as mallards, common merganser and ring-necked duck begin utilizing the wetlands again.

Sandhill cranes often take rest from their migration at Indian Boundary Prairies while Western chorus frogs sing and gray foxes roam the grasses.

At Midewin, robins search for rising earthworms, sandhill cranes refuel during their spring migration and the “cree-ee-ky” mating calls of chorus frogs ring out.