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An Illinois River Almanac

Jason Haupt's Energy and Environment Blog
Animal of the Week

Animal of the Week: Rat Snake

If you have read some of my other blogs or articles, you are well aware of my stance on snakes. I believe that the only good snake is a hungry snake. Snakes have many benefits in the ecosystems where they are found. One of the most common snakes in Illinois is the Rat Snake and it is a beautiful example of the snakes found in Illinois. There are two Rat Snakes found in Illinois - the Gr...

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Animal of the Week: White-breasted Nuthatch

A small bird that is found in parks, yards, and seen at bird feeders throughout the year is this week's animal of the week. The White-breasted Nuthatch is a small agile bird that is often seen going down a tree head first. The White-breasted Nuthatch is the largest of the nuthatch family. Though it is the biggest in its family, the nuthatches are small birds. They have a large head, sho...

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Animal of the Week: River Otter

Everyone loves a comeback story, and going from nearly extirpated in Illinois and on the state endangered species list to being delisted in 2004 is the ultimate comeback story. Fun-loving, playful, and cute are just a few of the descriptions that are used to describe the River Otter. The River Otter is among the most recognizable mammal in Illinois because of its apparent playfulness, and its l...

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Animal of the Week: Ruby-throated Hummingbird

As the weather is changing we are hearing more birds in the morning and we are beginning to see more birds. One bird that is always fun and exciting to see each year is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. The Ruby-throated Humming is found throughout Eastern North America. It is only found in Eastern North America and its habitat does not overlap with any other species of hummingbird except the Blac...

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Animal of the Week: Coyote

This week we are going to look at the largest member of the dog family found in Illinois. The Coyote has a poor reputation particularly among farmers. But is this reputation truly deserved? Coyotes are relatively easy to recognize. They are about the size of a small German Shepherd, much larger than most people think, and come in a wide variety of colors and markings. They have a long b...

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Animal of the Week: Red-tailed Hawk

One of the most prolific birds of prey seen in Illinois is the Red -tailed Hawk. They are frequently seen along roadsides perched in trees, on light poles, and fence poles. When you see a hawk, you are most likely seeing a Red -tailed Hawk. Red-tailed Hawks are large hawks with rounded wings and short tails. There are several "morphs" of the Red-tailed Hawk, but they are most commonly b...

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Animal of the Week: Bobcat

Quiet and mysterious, the Bobcat is an animal found in Illinois. Most people either do not know it is found in Illinois or will go their entire life never seeing one. It is the only native wild cat still found in Illinois. The Bobcat is this week's animal of the week. Though most people have never seen one in the wild, they could probably identify a Bobcat if they ever saw one. The Bobc...

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Animal of the Week: Snowy Owl

Some animals have the ability to capture our imaginations, interests, and attention. One such animal is the Snowy Owl. These birds have added some magic in many minds. In the Harry Potter books, Harry's owl was a Snowy Owl. Since these books and movies have come out, it seems like this bird has gained some attention and grown in popularity. Here in Illinois, these birds are just as mysterious,...

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Silver Fox

Animal of the Week: Red Fox

Foxes evoke a variety of responses. Someone who keeps chickens or other ground dwelling bird species see them as pests, something to be feared, or something to be destroyed. Historically, this is the response to foxes and still seems to be the response when a farmer hears that there is a fox in the area. I can remember when I volunteered for an animal rehab center three fox pups were brought in...

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