INHS Bulletin 39(4)
INHS Bulletin 39(4):
STATUS OF ENDANGERED AND THREATENED SAND AREA SPECIES OF THE ILLINOIS FLORA
The sand deposits in Illinois occur on glacial outwash plains from the Wisconsinan glaciation that ended 8,000 to 10,000 years before present. Approximately 70 species of endangered and threatened plants are known to grow in these deposits. In the course of gathering data for Bulletin 39(4), we determined the habitat fidelity and natural community types for 40 of these species that are restricted to glacial drift sand habitats. Plant community types, associated species, moisture requirements, and other data concerning each of the plant species were determined by reviewing the pertinent literature, searching the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Database, through discussions with botanists and natural heritage biologists, examination of herbarium specimens, and our studies of the vegetation of the Illinois sand deposits. Throughout the course of these studies, most of the nature preserves, state parks, and identified natural areas in the sand regions were visited on numerous occasions and vegetation surveys undertaken.
The information presented in this bulletin could allow rare plant conservation in Illinois to become more proactive by encouraging the selection of sites where in situ conservation efforts could be conducted by state, local, and nongovernmental organizations.
Phillippe, L.R., B. Molano-Flores, M.J.C. Murphy, P.B. Marcum, and J.E. Ebinger. 2011. Status of endangered and threatened sand area species of the Illinois flora. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 39(4):259–296.
INHS Special Publication 31: ILLINOIS BIRDS: A CENTURY OF CHANGE
Authors: Jeffery W. Walk, Michael P. Ward, Thomas J. Benson, Jill L. Deppe, Stacy A. Lischka, Steven D. Bailey, and Jeffery D. Brawn
2010, 230 p.
A project that began with two young men walking across rural Illinois toting shotguns and field glasses evolved into the first systematic bird survey in North America (Hickey 1981). When Stephen A. Forbes, Director of the Illinois Natural History Survey from its creation until 1930, directed Alfred Gross and Howard Ray to travel the state in 1906, no one in the country had yet attempted to count all the species of birds they observed across habitats, with a specific and repeatable method. Through 1909, Gross and Ray crisscrossed the state in all seasons, by foot, horseback, train, and steamboat, while counting and collecting the birds they saw.
In the mid-1950s, Richard and Jean Graber were newly hired ornithologists at the Illinois Natural History Survey. Among the first projects they undertook was to repeat the 50-year-old surveys during the summer and winter months of 1956-1958. The Grabers’ 1963 publication, “A Comparative Study of the Bird Populations of Illinois, 1906-1909 and 1956-1958,” remains the standard for assessing changes in bird populations of the state for the first half of the 20th century. With the exception of two obscure summer bird censuses by the U. S. Biological Survey (Cooke 1915, 1916), data on bird populations are scarce for most of North America until the Breeding Bird Survey began in the mid-1960s (Peterjohn et al. 1995).
From 2007-2009 we collected additional data that provide a bookend to what is now a 100-year bird survey. We present a summary of the changes to the summer bird populations and habitats across the state over the past century. Whereas our use of air-conditioned vehicles on interstate highways, use of Global Positioning System satellites to record our movements, and analysis of data on laptop computers would have been pure fantasy to our predecessors, their methods for counting birds in the field have been essentially retained.
This study provides three snapshots spanning a century. Important changes in the avifauna undoubtedly occurred within these windows, such as those documented by Charles Kendeigh at Trelease Woods near Urbana from 1922 to 1976. Kendeigh (1982) reported a spike in the abundance of arthropods and the forest birds that feed on them in the 1950s, when Dutch elm disease eliminated a common canopy tree and there was a surge of plant growth from the understory. The unique span of time and geographic scale are this study’s strengths. In Illinois, where land cover and land use have changed dramatically owing to agricultural practices and development, insights into the dynamics of bird communities and populations over a diverse suite of habitats are crucial to understanding the past, present, and future sustainability of the avifauna across Illinois and the Midwest. Our goal for this book is to summarize the results of surveys conducted across all three time periods. We direct our findings to a broad audience under four major headings: The Changing Illinois Landscape, Bird Communities Through Time, Species Accounts and Looking Back, Moving Forward.
INHS Manual 13: FIELD GUIDE TO THE SPHINX MOTHS OF ILLINOIS
Authors: R. Wiker, James G. Sternburg and John K. Bouseman
2010, 155 p.
Most of us, whether aware of it or not, have had an encounter with a Sphinx Moth. Whether fighting their caterpillars in gardens as they devour the foliage of our tomato plants and grape vines, marveling at their ability to fly like a Hummingbird in all directions as they sip nectar from the flowers along our walkways, or just being amazed at the often beautiful colors and intricate geometric shaped wings of one that landed near a porch light overnight, these beautiful insects are always around us, waiting to be discovered and appreciated This guide treats all species known to have been found and those likely to be found in Illinois and surrounding states. Anatomical drawings, colorful sketches, and abundant color photographs illustrate sphinx moth anatomy, pupation, and species characteristics. As with any facet of science, there is always more work to be done. During the writing of this book, we succeeded in documenting a large breeding population of the Cypress Sphinx in Illinois. No doubt, at some point in the future, one or both Pine Sphinx species will be found as well.