Mark your calendar for these Northwest Illinois Audubon Society February 2018 events

Northwest Illinois — Formed in 1971 the Northwest Illinois Audubon Society works to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. Our local Chapter’s purpose is to engage in any such educational, scientific, investigative, literary, historical, philanthropic and charitable pursuits. Below are some upcoming Northwest Illinois Audubon Society events you’ll want to mark your calendar for.

Winter Birding Fieldtrip to Nachusa Grasslands

On Saturday, February 3rd at 8:30 a.m. the Northwest Illinois Audubon Society will be hosting a fieldtrip to Nachusa Grasslands to look for wintering birds. Nachusa is a 4,000 acre preserve of mostly prairie, with a smattering of woodlands/savannas and wetlands. The preserve is located in Lee and Ogle counties and is owned by the Nature Conservancy. During winter months some unusual birds may be seen using the grasslands including: Short-eared Owl, Rough-legged Hawk, Northern Harrier, Turkey, Pheasant, Golden Eagle, and Northern Shrike. The group may catch a glimpse of one or more of the unusual species along with sightings of some of the more usual wintering species. There is also a good chance the group will be able to view the bison herd at Nachusa Grasslands, now numbering over 100 animals. The birding will mostly be done by car, but there may be a couple of opportunities for walking if anyone desires. There is no cost to participate in the fieldtrip and membership is not required. The fieldtrip will conclude with a lunch in Oregon, IL. A group will carpool from the Staples parking lot in Freeport, located at, 1722-1724 South West Ave., at 8:30 a.m. or the Forreston Municipal Parking Lot at the intersection of Route 26 and Route 72 in Forreston at 8:50 a.m. To join the fieldtrip or for more information contact Laura at 815-541-8958 or lauradufford@gmail.com.

Bats – Beyond the Myths Program on February 6

On Tuesday, February 6th at 7 p.m. the Northwest Illinois Audubon Society will host a presentation given by Barbara Williams. Barbara has been a bat booster for forty years and started monitoring bat populations by eavesdropping on their vocalizations in the spring of 2016 with the goal of getting some basic information on the relative abundance of different species of bats that live in Northern Illinois.

Barbara is a life-long student of natural history. She worked in Rockford at Burpee Museum’s biology department for about ten years tending and cataloguing the collections, creating exhibits and preparing specimens of plants, insects, birds and mammals.

Bats represent one quarter of all mammal species on earth yet they are widely misunderstood and persecuted. If we look past our prejudices we see that bats are inextricably linked to the health of our environment and our agricultural systems. Globally they consume huge quantities of crop pests and provide pollination services worth billions of dollars. In the tropics bats disperse forest seeds promoting rapid reforestation worth many millions of dollars.

The program on February 6th will examine our local bats and the challenges they face. It will also include a quick tour of the world’s bats and attitudes that people have toward bats in different cultures. Barbara will also present information on the risks and benefits of welcoming bats to your landscape and ways you can accommodate and encourage bats without conflict.

The program will include a demonstration of the bat detection microphone and recorder that Barbara is using to monitor bat populations in Winnebago County. The program will be held at St. John United Church of Christ, 1010 Park Blvd., Freeport. Northwest Illinois Audubon Society meets on the first Tuesday of every month from September to May, and meetings are free and open to the public. For information visit nwilaudubon.org. or call Teresa at 815-238-3963

Northwest Illinois Audubon to Offer Library Programs

The monthly program “Wildlife Wednesday,” hosted by The Northwest Illinois Audubon Society, will take place from 10:30 to 11 a.m. on February 7 at the Freeport Public Library, 100 E. Douglas St. The program is geared for children two to seven years old. The theme will be “Dinosaurs”, and there will be story time followed by an activity. For information, visit nwilaudubon.org. There is no cost to participate in this program.

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Cover photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org

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