A cardinal sits in a tree at TNC's Nachusa Grasslands preserve.
Nachusa Grasslands Cardinal in snow. © Charles Larry

Stories in Illinois

Illinois Nature Notes

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

January brings animal tracks and breeding bobcats. See below for all the natural events occurring throughout Illinois' diverse habitats this month and what our Conservation Director recommends!

  • Along the Mackinaw River and at Kankakee Sands, white-tailed deer and coyote can be spotted.
  • Bald eagles are in peak season at Emiquon looking for fish and other food.
  • Become a nature detective on a snowy day at Nachusa Grasslands or Indian Boundary Prairies and look for the tracks of coyotes, deer, fox and many other active winter mammals.
  • While the wetlands have iced over at Spunky Bottoms, muskrats are busy building their lodges, which can be up to eight feet wide and five feet tall.
  • For bucks, rutting season is ending, and they begin to shed their antlers, but for bobcats and beavers breeding is just beginning in the Cache River wetlands.
  •  At Midewin, enjoy a snowy hike or some cross country skiing while winter raptors such as long and short-eared owls, rough-legged hawks, northern shrikes and northern harriers fly overhead.