Dragonflies Continue to Thrive as Ecology Changes

June 20, 2020 clifftop CliffNotes

Ferocious predators roam the streams and meadows of Illinois’ wetlands and prairies.  These stealthy hunters lurk on the water’s surface or fly through the air, waiting for their next meal to come along.  And when it does, they strike with lightning speed and grab their unsuspecting victim.  No, we are not talking about the Creature […]


Columbines Dazzle Where Other Wildflowers Fear to Tread

May 15, 2020 clifftop CliffNotes

One of the most underrated of Illinois’ native wildflowers, wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), grows where other flora fear to tread—at the edges of cliffs and out of limestone boulders.  Columbine is not showy like other spring bloomers such as Virginia bluebell and Celandine poppy. Columbines are unassuming in their beauty with their nodding blossoms of […]


Sounds of Spring, Frog Style

April 19, 2020 clifftop CliffNotes

Have you heard them yet? Choruses of happy frogs and toads are celebrating spring by broadcasting their mating calls. Frog and toad reproduction is a noisy affair. Males of each species produce a unique mating call. Male frogs have one or two vocal sacs (depending on the species) and calls are produced by forcing air […]


Bobcat: Illinois’ Native Cat

March 22, 2020 clifftop CliffNotes

By Jennifer Kuroda, founder Illinois Bobcat Foundation The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is one of the more interesting and beautiful of our native wildlife species in Illinois. This handsome animal has tufted ears, a tawny coat with black spots, and a ruff of fur that flares from its cheeks and neck. Because they are apex predators, […]


Shed Hunting–A Deer Hunter’s Second Favorite Sport

February 22, 2020 clifftop CliffNotes

Almost as popular as deer hunting, searching for Whitetail deer antler sheds can be satisfying and provide exercise to boot!  Be sure to get permission to shed hunt on property that does not belong to you.  There is an Illinois law on the books that prohibits hunting for sheds on others’ property without permission from […]


Comprehending Animal Tracks Enriches Your Understanding of Nature

January 19, 2020 clifftop CliffNotes

The snow we experienced in mid-December brought with it the opportunity to discover an abundance of animal tracks, turning a simple path into a deer superhighway.  It’s fascinating to see where the critters go in their travels in the woods.  Perhaps they feel the same way when they see our footprints or UTV tracks. Let’s […]


Let’s Talk Turkey

December 8, 2019 clifftop CliffNotes

‘Tis the season for eating turkey. According to the National Turkey Federation, 88% of the Americans surveyed eat turkey on Thanksgiving.  That translates to 46 million turkeys consumed on Thanksgiving while another 22 million provide the main course at Christmas.  These birds are mostly commercially grown turkeys bred and raised for the sole purpose of […]


Thousands of Sinkholes, Hundreds of Caves, Dozens of Rare Species…. Recent Discoveries and New Data About Our Karst Landscapes

November 2, 2019 clifftop CliffNotes

Sinkholes are the most obvious karst landscape feature in southwestern Illinois. Using GIS tools and LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) images, over 15,000 sinkholes have been mapped in the area of Monroe, Randolph, and St. Clair Counties known as the Sinkhole Plain. Monroe County recently launched an interactive map showing sinkhole distribution in the county […]


Waterfowl Conservation in Southwest Illinois

October 7, 2019 clifftop CliffNotes

By Carl Handel, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Historically, Illinois was wetland rich and consequently a waterfowl abundant land prior to settlement. What emerged was a strong waterfowling tradition among its citizens that extended from the early days of market hunting to some of the best waterfowl research and conservation in the nation. […]


Bats: Shedding Light on Nocturnal Wildlife

September 8, 2019 clifftop CliffNotesUncategorized

By Vona Kuczynska, biologist with Wildheart Ecology If someone asked you to name ten different kinds of mammals, you may list off zebras, elephants, tigers, chimpanzees, or even dogs or cats. What may not immediately come to mind are bats, even though they make up one fifth of all mammals on our planet! There are […]


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