Fall foliage at the Franklin Farm.
Autumn on the Farm Autumn color highlights the woodlands and fields of the Franklin Demonstration Farm near Lexington, Illinois. © Mark Godfrey/TNC

Stories in Illinois

Illinois Nature Notes for October

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

Prairie grasses turn many shades of fall colors at the Midewin Tallgrass Prairie.

Little bluestem prairie and other tall grasses turn their own beautiful fall colors. On a windy day it looks like a sea at Nachusa Grasslands.

Kettles of migrating raptors such as red-tailed, rough-legged and occasional red-shouldered hawks can be seen gliding on wind currents up and over the river bluffs at Emiquon and Spunky Bottoms.

Tupelo gum seeds begin to fall, copper iris matures and oyster mushrooms appear in the Cache River Wetlands.  

Closeup of a ribbon snake, with its pale yellow and orange stripes, coiled on the ground.
Ribbon snake Ribbon snakes begin to pop up around TNC's Spunky Bottoms preserve just in time for spooky month. © Ryan Rasmussen/TNC

In October, snakes begin to move from bottomland wetlands to upland bluff hibernaria near Spunky Bottoms.

Cool days and cooler nights bring on the annual movement of snakes from bottomland wetlands to upland bluff hibernaria; snakes can be seen crossing County Highway 12 at Spunky Bottoms.

Blooms of pin weed, cardinal flower, Riddell's golden rod, New England aster, swamp beggars tics and boneset can be found at Kankakee Sands.

Coots and waterfowl such as mallards, gadwell, pintail and widgeon begin arriving in larger numbers in late October, while neo-tropical migrants such as warblers are moving through the upland forests at Emiquon and Spunky Bottoms.

Explore the Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns 7 preserves in Illinois and nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 millions acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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