Alex Palmer's Natural History Notes and Thoughts

Thoughts and reflections on various social and environmental issues, as well as naturalist observations from the great outdoors.

The little metropolis on the prairie: Chicago’s commitment to wildlife conservation

As I was riding the train from Northwest Indiana to Chicago, somewhere near the Illinois

border I saw a Cooper’s Hawk fly onto a power line in a run-down old neighborhood. I was

quite frankly surprised to even see a raptor that is common in cities, as I was mentally

preparing myself to spend the day in a big hectic city.

In recent years, the Chicago Park District has created, maintained, and restored

manyprairies and lakeshore habitats throughout the city.  It is apart of a committment the

city made to protect migratory bird rest-overs and to provide green spaces and

wild places for the people of one of the largest cities in the world.

Here are some photos to prove this:


Before Chicago became a big city, most of the land along this area of Lake Michigan was prairie and sand dunes.

The Chicgao Park District has been working tirelessly to restore and reintroduce lakeshore ecological communities to provide wildlife habitat and scenic places for recreation.

And it seems to be working. Chicago is on a migratory bird "flight path" where birds are flying to and from the tropics to Northern Canada. As they make their long journey, they sometimes must stop and rest for food and shelter. Areas like this, despite being so close to urban Chicago, are important for the vitality of these animals.

A view of Lake Michigan, as seen from the Fallen Firefighter and Paramedics Memorial Park. Chicago, IL. November 2010.

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One response to “The little metropolis on the prairie: Chicago’s commitment to wildlife conservation

  1. Dad November 22, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Our cities are getting back in touch with nature. Thanks to Rachel Carson and others since.

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