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Voices from the Wilderness

April 06, 2013 at 06:34 PM

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Redpolls and sweetgum





At least sweetgum balls are good for something.

Dennis Oehmke, who has been photographing birds for years in Springfield, found a flock of common redpolls probing the sweetgum capsules for seeds.

“Some of the redpolls were finding loose seeds on the ground while others clung to the spiked fruit and extracted the seeds with their small pointed bills,” Oehmke wrote. “It is nice to know that the Sweetgum tree provides sustenance to a wide variety of birds, especially the redpolls, as they will soon need the most energy to return back to their arctic breeding grounds.”

Oehmke said he observed other birds feeding on sweetgum seeds, including the dark-eyed junco, pine siskin, house finch and American goldfinch.


Turkeys as far as the eye can see





They call it anecdotal evidence. But one look at Dennis Love’s photo and one might infer that wild turkeys are doing very well in Illinois.

Love shot this picture near Orangeville, north of Rockford.

A quick count turned up nearly four dozen turkeys — many displaying — in this photo.


Spring for the cold-blooded





The calendar said spring, even with some snow lingering March 29.

William Furry took this photo of a garter snake in the leaves, with some unmelted snow nearby.

“I took this shot this morning about 11 a.m.,” he wrote. “This is the second garter snake I’ve seen this year. The first was on March 8.”

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