Think Spring with Winter Magazine

We appreciate the input we receive from readers answering our quarterly 60-second surveys, and from the suggestions we pull many future story ideas. One idea repeatedly showed up—sometimes from multiple commenters in a single survey. Given the growing amount of interest we’ve seen, the winter 2017-2018 issue of Illinois Audubon magazine addresses the popular request—how to attract birds and pollinators to the home landscape.

Surprised that our winter magazine is about gardening? If you are like us you like to “escape” from the bitter winds of winter and spend an evening pouring over the stack of seed catalog that have been arriving, planning for the day when you start working the sun-warmed soil, an ear cocked for the songs of arriving migratory birds.

The winter issue also is featured during Bald Eagle Weekend at Starved Rock State Park, where we reach out to visitors and showcase the work of Illinois Audubon Society. New members will walk away from the January 27-28, 2018 event with a copy in hand.

Fortunately for us, we have a number of excellent resources within our membership and around the state, and they have helped us assemble this issue.

Building on a childhood interest in insects, today Terry Miesle is active in the Native Bee Awareness Initiative and leads bee walks at Fermilab and the James Woodworth Prairie. Miesle’s article provides interesting insights on the importance of maintaining an untidy winter garden.

Writer and photographer Michael Jeffords serves on the board of the Friends of the Cache River Wetlands and relates how the group utilized a grant from the Illinois Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and a team of volunteer gardeners, to create 12 demonstration pollinator gardens.

No one knows how to attract birds to the backyard better than Wade Kammin, a life-long bird watcher and owner of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in Springfield. Kammin’s article provides excellent tips on creating a landscape that satisfies the nesting and shelter requirements for backyard birds.

Botanist Christopher David Benda shares ideas on development of native plant gardens to attract wildlife. His article explains the importance of considering site characteristics, and diversifying the bloom periods and colors of what you plant.

Susan Dees Hargrove challenges our understanding of the food plants of butterfly and moth caterpillars, explaining that some species are food plant generalists, while others are more picky eaters. Take the test and see how many you get correct.

Nothing is better than learning from someone’s personal experiences, and thanks to birding author Sheryl DeVore we can learn first-hand how her small, suburban landscape has evolved over the past 35 years.

Author of the book Birdscaping in the Midwest, Mariette Nowak summarizes tips for creating a hummingbird garden, a woodland bird garden, a winter bird garden and a migratory bird garden.

Gardeners throughout Illinois have been recognized by the Illinois Audubon Society for creating quality wildlife habitat on their property. Carolynn Benninghoff, former board member, coordinates the Society’s Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary Program and authored a story describing how easy it is to submit an application and be recognized for your commitment to creating a bird- and butterfly-friendly landscape.

Our issue also contains the popular Species Profile, featuring the ruby-throated hummingbird, and three pages of News, including summarizes of work on Illinois Audubon Society sanctuaries, recent bird-related research and a listing of the Society-sponsored field trips on the 2018 calendar.

Watch your mailbox for this information-packed magazine. Not an Illinois Audubon Society member? Join HERE.  Become a member and receive the magazine—find opportunities throughout the year to participate in field trips and events.

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