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Springtime in the preserves brings small, wonderful, and short-lived bursts of life

Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Special to suffredin.org

Springtime in the preserves brings small,

wonderful, and short-lived bursts of life

Spring beauty and blue violets

Spring beauty and blue violets at Busse Woods in Elk Grove Village by Maria Sacha

Don’t delay your plans to get outside for a walk in the woods! This time of year there can be a dizzying array of plants and creatures to observe. You can find spring ephemerals, or wildflowers that appear for only a few weeks each year, throughout the forest preserves in Cook County from early April through early June. For starters, look for spring beauty, Virginia bluebells, wild geranium, and others. Download and print the Field Museum’s Rapid Field Guide to help you identify what you discover, or use the Seek or iNaturalist apps on your phone.

Northern leopard frog

Northern leopard frog at Sundown Meadow Forest Preserve in Countryside by Derek Ziomber

By May, most amphibian species in Cook County have started their breeding rituals, attracting mates and laying eggs in ephemeral ponds. These small, yet mighty ponds dry out by the summer, but are critical to the success of our amphibious cohabitants. Throughout the forest preserves and beyond, toads, frogs, and salamanders spend the winter hiding under logs, in rotten wood, or in any hidden crevice with protection from the cold. Some frogs, like the wood frog, can even freeze solid in the winter and be fine after thawing out! Once temperatures reach around 45F in the early spring, the first amphibians emerge from hibernation, marking the beginning of mating season. Spring peepers and chorus frogs are among the first to begin calling, in the hopes of attracting a mate. Check out Calling Frog Survey’s guide to learn how to recognize different frog calls.

Friends of the Forest Preserves unites people to protect, promote, and care for the forest preserves in Cook County.

If you're inspired, please become a member, renew your membership, or make your donation today. Thank you!

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