Nachusa Grasslands – Illinois

Nature Conservancy Site of the Week #3

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Name: Nachusa Grasslands
Location: Northern Illinois near the city of Oregon.
Size: 2,500 acres

Nachusa Grasslands is one of the local Nature Conservancy sites I’ve been to quite often. I participated in a prescribed burn a few years ago and thought the place was truly awesome. Since returning a few times over the last years, I have been somewhat disappointed in the birdlife there. In fact, we found a new bird species there – the Prairie Flicker (actually, the Northern Flicker). We saw tons and tons of Flickers but not really any other birds.

However, the birdlife at Nachusa is wonderful. I’ve heard that Grasshopper and Henslow’s Sparrows nest there along with Dickcissels. I also believe Upland Sandpipers nest at Nachusa and apparently there is a healthy population of Badgers. Other wildlife includes a smattering of rare butterflies and a great variety of prairie plants.

Nachusa is like a blast from the past. This is how great expanses of Illinois used to look like before the land was ruined. Vast prairies full of life, color, and birdsong (and Flickers!). Volunteers at Nachusa also collect seeds to use for replanting there and elsewhere. Overall, Nachusa is great, even though I have been unsuccessful there. There’s always next year!

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