June 15, 2017

Mystery of the Tiny Bouncing Spheres

What’s shaped like a ball and white, less than a millimeter in diameter, and bounces like a Mexican jumping bean?. Jumping oak galls; they form around the larvae of tiny wasps as they feed on leaves. As the larvae mature, the galls fall to the ground, where they overwinter and the stingless wasps emerge as adults the following spring.


A turkey vulture with wings open perched on a rock
Rob Kanter
June 08, 2017

Appreciating Turkey Vultures

If you watch the sky in warm weather, you’re likely to see large, soaring birds from time to time. In our part of the country, most of those large soaring birds you’ll see are turkey vultures, which you can recognize from a long way off without help from binoculars or a field guide.


Eastern Cottontail on hind legs in a field
Rob Kanter
June 01, 2017

Coexisting with Cottontails

Some people love rabbits. “Soooo cute!!! More bunnies please,” was the response from one friend when I posted a rabbit picture online recently. More people, perhaps, have mixed feelings about them. “Love bunnies, but baby just ate a large butterfly milkweed I bought a few days ago,” added another friend. There are also among us plenty of people who look at rabbits pretty much the same way Elmer Fudd looks at Bugs Bunny; some 60,000 Illinois residents hunt rabbits.