Tag: Wildlife

Signs of Spring

By Mike Traynor


We were barreling headlong toward an early spring until an unwelcome inconvenience, commonly known as February, intervened to slow our momentum. Since we Chicagoans are long accustomed to meteorological suffering and betrayal, we took that setback (mostly) in stride.  Sights are now set for March 20, at 3:37 AM CST – the Spring Equinox — when nature explodes outward, saying “ta-daa”!  In northern climes, this is a season representing new life and renewal. It brings renewing warmth, light, growth, change, and even hope.  We bipedal creatures naturally focus on our own species’ spring antics, yet there is so much more underway just beyond our doorstep.  As life quickens, try to set aside quiet time to marvel at the antics of all the creatures around you.  That might prompt a deeper understanding of new ways to find growth and renewal in your own life.  At a minimum, you are certain to find joy waiting for you.

Here are some photos of what may be waiting for you. These photos were all taken in Lincoln Park in April and May of 2020. They will all be back very soon now.  No further meteorological suffering and betrayal will dare slow us down again!  Then again, since we do live in Chicago, don’t quote me on that.  Happy Spring!




Mom has her baby firmly gripped as she carries the kid out of the hollow tree nest where it was born, up to the treetop’s elevated nest. Time for Mom to give flying lessons!  She carried three baby squirrels out of that hollow and up the tree in rapid succession.


Black-crowned night herons are rare, and yet Lincoln Park is full of them. After a stay near the waters for rest upon arrival in the area, they build nests high up in tall trees to bear their young. The youngsters are very noisy!  This parent is taking off from its nest, showing a full wingspan.  I think it is going to get earplugs.


It looks as if cardinals must have first learned to fly by watching the motion of airplane propellers. Or could it be the other way around? Either way, this cardinal is showing expert aerodynamics.


This is the Methuselah of pond turtles.  It is enormous. At its age and girth, it can do pretty much whatever it wants, as long as it does things slowly.


“Birds do it, bees do it, gotta feeling even fish do it…”  Let’s be honest. Have you ever really seen a fish “do it”? Now you have.  This photo is PG-rated.


Mother robin thought she found a very secure nest. Little did she know it was at nearly eye level in a public gazebo. Despite the odds, all ended well and chicks flew off for a new life in a new world.  Welcome to Earth kids!  Personally, I have found Earth to be my favorite planet so far. 


Imagine the warmth of lying under a “goose down comforter”.  These goslings need no imagination to feel that. Momma goose spreads her personal down comforter over perhaps 25 or 30 newborn goslings curled up under her wings. You would not believe so many goslings could fit until they all decided to scatter. Then Mom looks like she is exploding out in every direction.  


Here is a sitting duck – literally. This photo was taken with the camera about six inches from the duck’s beak. The duck sat unperturbed, offered a world-weary glance, and asked why the bipeds just cannot stop taking pictures of it?