Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

New INHS Publications


The INHS Publications Office is currently producing a two-volume set, Waterfowl of Illinois. The first volume (Special Publication 21) is a comprehensive hardbound treatise covering the history and status of waterfowl in Illinois from the 1800s to the present. The second accompanying volume (INHS Manual 7) is an abbreviated field guide of Illinois waterfowl. This 80-page softbound book is designed to be taken into the field for easy identification of the waterfowl living throughout the state. These books may be purchased separately or as a set. Please see end of article for ordering information and date of availability. 



Illinois lies in the heart of the Mississippi Flyway with waterfowl breeding grounds to the north and the wintering grounds to the south. Because of the high quality and abundance of its wetlands, Illinois has historically welcomed legions of nesting and migratory waterfowl and other waterbirds. The prairies prevalent in east-central Illinois prior to European settlement were rich in wetlands. The renowned Winnebago Swamp, Kankakee Marsh, northeastern glacial marshes, and baldcypress-tupelo gum swamps in the southern tip of the state were remarkable wetlands that complemented the luxurious bottomlands of the river floodplains.

A strong and colorful waterfowl tradition emerged in the Prairie State, particularly along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. Private duck clubs were established in the late 1800s, some of which remain in operation today. Market hunters found abundant supplies of waterfowl that were shipped to restaurants throughout the eastern United States. Carvers of wooden decoys and the makers of duck calls embellished the Illinois waterfowl tradition. The first large-scale trapping of waterfowl in the United States took place near Browning on the Illinois River in 1922. Few other states have such a rich history and depth of waterfowl information.

Although its landscapes have changed dramatically in the past two centuries, Illinois still hosts significant numbers of waterfowl and other waterbirds, especially during fall and spring migrations, and will continue to do so. There is an indescribable lure about waterfowl that captures our interest, whether we are birdwatchers, conservationists, outdoor enthusiasts, or hunters. We want to know what kinds of waterfowl frequent our state, when, where, how many, what they eat, where they nest, and what we can do to enjoy or help them.

From 1980 through the mid-1990s, the data included in The Waterfowl of Illinois were gathered and summarized to complete a picture of waterfowl biology and history of this region of the Midwest. Because of the longevity of the Illinois Natural History Survey (established in 1857) and its waterfowl program (begun in 1938), the strong heritage of waterfowl in the region, and the importance of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, a compendium of this waterfowl knowledge was essential.

These books focus on Illinois and include a flavor of the history of waterfowl intermingled with biology and management. The work summarizes more than a century of waterfowl information and provides a library of references, a wealth of figures and color photographs, and a brain trust of facts. Chapter subjects include waterfowl populations and their distributions, habitat, food habits, hunting traditions, harvest, banding, management, nesting, the history of Canada Geese, and the biographies of some of the biologists who advanced the knowledge of waterfowl in the twentieth century. The information presented in this endeavor will be of interest to those who appreciate the wetlands and the waterbirds they sustain in the Mississippi Flyway. The abbreviated field guide makes available selected highlights from its companion volume.

Editor's note: This is a historical document. As such, the prices and terms for these publications are not necessarily accurate. Please view our current publications and pricing at the following link:

Both books are available for $69.95, or the book separately for $59.95 and the field guide for $14.95. Prices include shipping. Waterfowl of Illinois is expected to be ready for shipping in August 1999. To order contact Katie Roat or Stephen Havera by phone at 309-543-3950; by mail--Waterfowl Book, Illinois Natural History Survey, P.O. Box 590, Havana, Illinois; or 

Stephen P. Havera, Center for Wildlife Ecology


Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Illinois
A field guide to aid biologists, naturalists, land managers, law enforcement officials, and students in the identification of the amphibians and reptiles found in Illinois. Full-color photographs of all 102 species plus information on habitats, natural history, and distribution. (hardcover)

Editor's note: This is a historical document. As such, the prices and terms for these publications are not necessarily accurate. Please view our current publications and pricing at the following link:

300 pages

To order Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Illinois, please call 217-333-6880 or write to:
Illinois Natural History Survey
Distribution Office
607 E. Peabody Drive
Champaign, IL 61820.

Books will be available to ship in August 1999.


A peer-reviewed scientific publication of a study of the toxic effects of zinc shot ingested by game-farm Mallards. INHS Bulletin 36(1) is the most recent publication in our prestigious Bulletin series, which has been continuously published since 1876.

Editor's note: This is a historical document. As such, the prices and terms for these publications are not necessarily accurate. Please view our current publications and pricing at the following link:

This bulletin may be purchased for $10 per copy by sending a personal check or money order made out to the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) to the following address:

INHS Distribution Office
607 E. Peabody Dr.
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 333-6880.

A free publications catalog listing all publications currently in stock is available upon request at the telephone number above. The catalog may also be accessed on the Web at URL:

Illinois Natural History Survey

1816 South Oak Street, MC 652
Champaign, IL 61820

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