Trillium Ridge Flora and Fauna
Animals - 62 species
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Purple Martin
Progne subis
Flying around back yard (rarely)
Their breeding habitat is open areas across eastern North America, and also some locations on the west coast from British Columbia to Mexico.
Purple Martins are aerial insectivores, meaning that they catch insects from the air. The birds are agile hunters and eat a variety of winged insects. Rarely, on occasion, they will come to the ground to eat insects. They usually fly relatively high, so, contrary to popular opinion, mosquitos do not form a large part of their diet.
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Barn Swallow
Hirundo rustica
Passing through a time or two
The Barn Swallow is easily recognized by its long forked tail. It was originally a cave breeder, but now the swallow nests almost exclusively on man-made structures.
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Tufted Titmouse
Baeolophus bicolor
Feeders, yews, pine
A common bird of forest and feeders in the eastern United States, the Tufted Titmouse is often seen foraging in groups with other birds. It is quick to scold predators and is easily attracted to the mobbing calls of other species. Tufted titmice tend to be curious about their human neighbors and can sometimes be spotted on window ledges peering into the windows to watch what's going on inside.
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Black-capped chickadee
Poecile atricapillus
Feeders, yews, pine
One of the most familiar and beloved birds in northern North America, the Black-capped Chickadee is a frequent visitor to bird feeders. Its apparently cheerful activity throughout the harshest winters has won it the admiration of many people.
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American Goldfinch
Carduelis tristis
Blue Spruce & feeders
Human activity has generally benefited the American Goldfinch. It is often found in residential areas, attracted to bird feeders installed by humans, which increases its survival rate in these areas. Deforestation by humans also creates open meadow areas which are the preferred habitat of the American Goldfinch. Contents [hide]
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Pine grosbeak
Pinicola enucleator
One female at seedcake feeder 5/2/09
The males are reddish with gray markings while the females are grayish, and have some yellow on their heads. They are approximately 9 inches long, and have a wingspan of around 14 inches. These are relatively tame birds, and often appear in small flocks. Feeds mostly on berries and seed. The Pine Grosbeak represents an ancient divergence of the ancestors of the bullfinches. Possibly, its ancestors were wind-blown individuals of a proto-bullfinch which arrived via the northern Pacific. True to their name, they "enucleate" berries, extracting the seed and ignoring the fruit. In most photos they berry guts all over their faces.
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Purple Finch
Carpodacus purpureus
North side feeder and blue spruce, 3/25/11. Likely a migrating stopover
Purple Finch: Breeds (Monogamous) from British Columbia east to Newfoundland, southward in the western mountains to California and from eastern Minnesota east to West Virginia. Spends winters south to the U.S.-Mexico border. Preferred habitats include mixed and coniferous woodlands and ornamental conifers located in gardens.
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American Robin
Turdus migratorius
All over
The American Robin is active mostly during the day and assembles in large flocks at night. Its diet consists of invertebrates (such as beetle grubs and caterpillars), fruits and berries. It is one of the first bird species to lay eggs, beginning to breed shortly after returning to its summer range from its winter range. Its nest consists of long coarse grass, twigs, paper, and feathers, and is smeared with mud and often cushioned with grass or other soft materials. It is among the first birds to sing at dawn, and its song consists of several discrete units that are repeated.
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Eastern Bluebird
Sialia sialis
Neighbor's elm - one sighting

American Tree Sparrow
Spizella arborea
white pine, yews, feeder (winter)
Small sparrow with a long notched tail. Adult: streaked back and wings, with two white wing bars; unstreaked gray-brown breast and belly, with a dark spot in the center. Juvenile streaky overall. Tail, rump, and nape of the neck solid gray. The upper mandible of the bill is dark and the lower is yellow. The head is mostly gray, with a rufous crown and eye-line.
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Indigo Bunting
Passerina cyanea
One sighting - in neighbor's elm
A brilliantly blue bird of old fields and roadsides, the Indigo Bunting prefers abandoned land to urban areas, intensely farmed areas, or deep forests.
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Chipping sparrow
Spizella passerina
All over - ground and low shrubs. A flock of 10-15 roosts in barberry on western border, uses it as hq while visiting various feeding stations and dried prairie plants during the day.
Throughout the year, Chipping Sparrows forage on the ground, often in loose flocks. Their diet consists mainly of seeds and crumbs of mostly any food, especially those fallen on the ground. Chipping Sparrows frequently forage directly from forbs and grasses, too. At any time of the year, especially, in spring, Chipping Sparrows may be seen in trees, even up in the canopy, where they forage on fresh buds and glean for arboreal arthropods.
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Dark-eyed Junco
Junco hyemalis
Ground around yews and feeder
A widespread and common small sparrow, the Dark-eyed Junco is most familiar as a winter visitor to bird feeders. It comes in several distinctly different looking forms, but all are readily identified as "juncos" by their plain patterning, dark hood, and white outer tail feathers.
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Red Fox Sparrow
Passerella iliaca iliaca
North side under spruce and yews
Migration stopevers enroute to/from Canada. We've seen them several years running, spring and fall, over a period of a few weeks. Multiple groups stopping off for a day or so each.
The Fox Sparrow is much larger than other sparrows. They scratch in leaves for insects and seeds and often make so much noise that they sound like a much larger animal.
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White-breasted Nuthatch
Sitta carolinensis
Feeders, pine
White-breasted nuthatches live in deciduous woodlands and mixed deciduous and coniferous forests. They prefer, older, more mature hardwood forests and may require the presence of oak trees. White-breasted nuthatches are also common visitors to backyard birdfeeders.
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Red-breasted nuthatch
Sitta canadensis
Feeder - two sightings winter 09
The Red-breasted Nuthatch applies sticky conifer resin globules to the entrance of its nest hole. It may carry the resin in its bill or on pieces of bark that it uses as an applicator. The male puts the resin primarily around the outside of the hole while the female puts it around the inside. The resin may help to keep out predators or competitors. The nuthatch avoids the resin by diving directly through the hole.
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European Starling
Sturnus vulgaris
Ground, feeders
European Starlings prefer urban or suburban areas where artificial structures and trees provide adequate nesting and roosting sites. They also commonly reside in grassy areas where foraging is easy—such as farmland, grazing pastures, playing fields, golf courses, and airfields.
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Northern Cardinal
Cardinalis cardinalis
Feeders, nest in spruce, honeysuckle
The Northern Cardinal, a frequent visitor to bird feeders is one of the most admired backyard bird species. A bird so admired that seven states have named it as their states bird.
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Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Pheucticus ludovicianus
Feeders, red oak (nest? - saw juvinile there too)
The heavy bill of the grosbeak is used to glean food from trees. Diet consists of insects, seeds, and some fruits. Their insect diet consists of beetles, locusts, cankerworms, tent caterpillars, tussock moths, gypsy moths and other insect pests, thus making them an economically beneficial species.
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Red-winged Blackbird
Agelaius phoeniceus
At feeders in early spring; usually a block away in marshland
One of the most abundant birds in North America, the Red-winged Blackbird is found in wetlands and agricultural areas across the continent. The black male can hide the brilliant red shoulders or show them off in a dazzling display. The striped female looks strikingly different than the male and could almost be mistaken for a large dark sparrow.
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Baltimore Oriole
Icterus galbula
At feeder by kitchen; in oaks in back
With its brilliant orange and black plumage, the Baltimore Oriole's arrival is eagerly awaited by birders each spring migration. Its preference for open areas with tall trees has made it a common inhabitant of parks and suburban areas.
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Brown-headed Cowbird
Molothrus ater
Ground, feeders
The Brown-headed Cowbird is the only brood parasite common across North America. A female cowbird makes no nest of her own, but instead lays her eggs in the nests of other bird species, who then raise the young cowbirds.
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Common Grackle
Quiscalus quiscula
Ground, feeders
A familiar sight on suburban lawns, the Common Grackle can be recognized by its iridescent purple and bronze plumage and long, keel-shaped tail.
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Blue Jay
Cyanocitta cristata
Ground, feeders. Winter of 2010-11: sizeable population (>10) visits regularly. They hang out in tops of surrounding oaks during the day, take turns visiting the feeders. They clearly favor peanuts; take them back up in the trees to eat.
A familiar sight at bird feeders, the boldly patterned Blue Jay is unmistakable. It is abundant in the East and is extending into the West, using food and shelter provided by humans.
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Carolina Wren
Thryothorus ludovicianus
Feeder & on front porch. Two of them used the concave ends of rolled-up shades as a sleeping cubby
Singing one of the loudest songs per volume of bird, the Carolina Wren's "tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle" is familiar across the Southeast. It is a common bird in urban areas, and is more likely to nest in a hanging plant than in a birdhouse.
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American Treecreeper
Certhia americana
White Pine on north side (yes, with chicadees and nuthatches!)
Throughout N. America
The Brown Creeper is best known for it's very active foraging behavior of flying to the base of a tree, spiraling upwards in search of food, and then flying to the base of another tree to begin the process again. In addition to constantly scouring crevices in tree bark for food, they also build their nests under flaps of loose bark. In the winter, Brown Creepers can often be found in mixed flocks with Chickadees and Nuthatches.
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Coopers hawk
Accipiter cooperii
In white pine, ambushing birds at feeder - photo is taken thru kitchen window
A medium-sized hawk of the forest, the Cooper's Hawk specializes in eating birds. It is built for fast flight through the obstacle course of trees and limbs.
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Red-tailed Hawk
Buteo jamaicensis
In oak trees, occasionally on ground with kill.
The Red-tailed Hawk is a medium-sized bird of prey. It breeds throughout most of North America. The Red-tailed Hawk is carnivorous, and an opportunistic feeder. Its diet is mainly small mammals, but it also includes birds and reptiles.
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Bald Eagle
Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Oak trees at back of lot
The bald eagle's natural range covers most of North America, including most of Canada, all of the continental United States, and northern Mexico; winter visitor to this area
The plumage of an adult bald eagle is evenly dark brown with a white head and tail. The tail is moderately long and slightly wedge-shaped. Males and females are identical in plumage coloration, but sexual dimorphism is evident in the species, in that females are 25% larger than males. The beak, feet and irises are bright yellow. The legs are feather-free, and the toes are short and powerful with large talons. The highly developed talon of the hind toe is used to pierce the vital areas of prey while it is held immobile by the front toes. The beak is large and hooked, with a yellow cere. The adult bald eagle is unmistakable in its native range.
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Red-bellied woodpecker
Melanerpes carolinus
The most common woodpecker in the Southeast, the Red-bellied Woodpecker is a familiar sight at bird feeders and in backyards. Yes, its belly is covered in a light red wash. But this woodpecker is easier to spot by the red on the back and top of its head.
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Hairy Woodpecker
Picoides villosus
The most widespread resident woodpecker in North America, the Hairy Woodpecker is one of the most familiar too. It comes readily to bird feeders and is found in a variety of habitats.
Downy Woodpecker
Picoides pubescens
Feeders, house, trees
The smallest and most common American woodpecker, the Downy Woodpecker is found throughout most of North America from Alaska to Florida. It lives in a variety of habitats from wilderness forests to urban backyards, and comes readily to bird feeders.
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Mourning Dove
Zenaida macroura
Ground, feeders, nesting in backyard cherry
Mourning doves are highly adaptable birds and are found in a wide variety of habitats. They are more common in open woodlands and forest edges near grasslands and fields. They are most abundant in agricultural and suburban areas where humans have created large areas of suitable habitat.
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Eastern Wild Turkey
Meleagris gallopavo silvestris
Roost in oaks winter 08-09; ground by feeders, woods, neighborhood
Wild Turkeys are surprisingly agile fliers and very cunning, unlike their domestic counterparts. Turkeys are very cautious birds and will fly or run at the first sign of danger. In flight they can reach a speed of 50 miles per hour (80 km/h).[citation needed] They usually fly close to the ground for no more than a quarter mile (400 m). Turkeys have many vocalizations: "gobbles," "clucks," "putts," "purrs," "yelps," "cutts," "whines," "cackles," and "kee-kees." In early spring, male turkeys, also called gobblers or toms, gobble to announce their presence to females and competing males. The gobble can carry for up to a mile.
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Great Horned Owl
Bubo virginianus
Spotted landing in oaks in back; heard many nights
Found from the Arctic tundra to the tropical rainforest, from the desert to suburban backyards,
The Great Horned Owl is one of the most widespread and common owls in North America. We hear it most nights
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Mallard duck
Anas platyrhynchos
Just drop in occassionally, usually in spring
The Mallard inhabits most wetlands, including parks, small ponds and rivers, and usually feeds by dabbling for plant food or grazing; there are reports of it eating frogs It usually nests on a river bank, but not always near water. It is highly gregarious outside of the breeding season and will form large flocks, which are known as a sord
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Great Blue Heron
Ardea herodias
Back yard Dec '12 - three sightings. Twice landed in oak tree, once on ground. Might have had its eye on neighbor's backyard pond.
The great blue heron breeds from southern Canada south to the West Indies and Mexico. It winters as far north as southern Alaska and southern New England.
Largest of the North American herons with long legs, a sinuous neck, and thick, daggerlike bill. Head, chest, and wing plumes give a shaggy appearance. In flight, the Great Blue Heron curls its neck into a tight 'S' shape; its wings are broad and rounded and its legs trail well beyond the tail.Look for Great Blue Herons in saltwater and freshwater habitats, from open coasts, marshes, sloughs, riverbanks, and lakes to backyard goldfish ponds. They also forage in grasslands and agricultural fields. Breeding birds gather in colonies or 'heronries' to build stick nests high off the ground. The great blue heron migrates in the fall, although some stay in the northern part of their range.
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Fox squirrel
Sciurus niger
Nesting in oaks, roam the yard. Frequent the feedlot in winter, playing in the white pine and blue spruce
The Fox Squirrel's natural range extends throughout the eastern United States, north into the southern prairie provinces of Canada, and west to the Dakotas, Colorado, and Texas. Fox squirrels are most often found in forest patches of 400,000 square metres or less with an open understory, or in urban neighborhoods with trees. They thrive best among trees such as oak, hickory, walnut and pine that produce winter-storable foods like nuts.
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Black squirrel
Sciurus carolinensis
Occasional visitor to winter "feedlot" (north side of property around white oak and yews)
As a melanistic variety of the eastern grey squirrel, individual black squirrels can exist wherever grey squirrels live. Grey mating pairs may produce black offspring, and in areas with high concentrations of black squirrels, mixed litters are common.[1] The black subgroup seems to have been dominant throughout North America prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century, since their dark colour helped them hide in virgin forests which tended to be very dense and shaded. As time passed, hunting and deforestation led to biological advantages for grey coloured individuals.[2] Today, the black subgroup is particularly abundant in the northern part of the Eastern Grey Squirrel's range.
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Grey squirrel
Sciurus carolinensis
Nesting in oaks, roam the yard. Frequent the feedlot in winter, playing in the white pine and blue spruce
Although the gray squirrel is found in parks and yards, woodlands are its preferred habitat. It builds its den in tree branches, inside a hollow trunk, or in an empty birds nest. It usually lines the nest with moss, thistledown, dried grass, and feathers and builds a cover. A gray squirrel will build several nests or dens and use them all. When a female has young, the nest is theirs alone, but winter nests are often shared to generate warmth.
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Tamias minimus
Eastern chipmunks mate in early spring and again in early summer, producing litters of four or five young twice each year.The young emerge from the burrow after about six weeks and strike out on their own within the next two weeks. Chipmunks have an omnivorous diet consisting of grain, nuts, birds' eggs, small frogs, fungi, worms, and insects
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Prairie vole
Microtus ochrogaster
burrows in several meadow areas
They part the grass at the ground level to make 2-inch wide runways between the entrances to their burrows, or from the burrows to their food source. There is an example leading from the pachysandra by the big white pine to the meadow surrounding the bird feeder. Another leads from the rock wall at north edge of front prairie to the streambed. We find myriad trails when snow melts showing their complex network under the snow of passages to/from nests and feeding sites.
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Striped skunk
Mephitis mephitis
Prowl yard at night - raid squirrel feeder
The Striped Skunk has a black body with a white stripe along each side of its body; the two stripes join into a broader white area at the nape. Its forehead has a narrow white stripe. About the size of a house cat, it weighs 2.5 to 14 pounds (1.2–6.3 kg) with a body length (excluding the tail) of 13 to 18 inches (33–46 cm). The bushy tail is 7 to 10 inches long (18–25 cm), and sometimes has a white tip.
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Procyon lotor
Nest in hollow oaks in woods; prowl yard at night
Studies have shown that raccoons are able to remember the solution to tasks up to three years later. Raccoons are omnivorous and usually nocturnal, and their diet consists of about 40% invertebrates, 33% plant foods and 27% vertebrates.
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canis latrans
Technically not IN the yard, but seen repeatedly on the street in front and in neighbor's (unfenced) yard.
Throughout North America
Despite being extensively hunted, the coyote is one of the few medium-to-large-sized animals that has enlarged its range since human encroachment began. It originally ranged primarily in the western half of North America, but it has adapted readily to the changes caused by human presence and, since the early 19th century, has been steadily and dramatically extending its range.[55] Sightings now commonly occur in a majority of the United States and Canada. Researchers studied coyote populations in Chicago over a seven-year period (2000–2007), proposing that coyotes have adapted well to living in densely populated urban environments while avoiding contact with humans. They found that urban coyotes tend to live longer than their rural counterparts, kill rodents and small pets, and live anywhere from parks to industrial areas. The researchers estimate that there are up to 2,000 coyotes living in "the greater Chicago area" and that this circumstance may well apply to many other urban landscapes in North America.[
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Red Fox
Vulpes vulpes
Back yard; lying curled in a spot of sun by the serviceberry, visits regularly, climbing fences easily
The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the largest of the true foxes and the most geographically spread member of the Carnivora, being distributed across the entire Northern Hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to North Africa, Central America and Asia.
Red foxes are social animals, whose groups are led by a mated pair which monopolises breeding[clarification needed]. Subordinates within a group are typically the young of the mated pair, which remain with their parents to assist in caring for new kits.[10] The species primarily feeds on small rodents, though it may also target leporids, game birds, reptiles, invertebrates[11] and young ungulates.[12] Fruit and vegetable matter is also eaten on occasion.
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Virginia opossum
Didelphis virginiana
prowl yard at night

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Eastern Mole
Scalopus aquaticus
around the patio, in bluestem meadow
Moles are insectivores and eat mainly insects, larvae such as white grubs and earthworms. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat slugs, snails, millipedes and centipedes, and spiders. Moles will also eat plants such as the seeds of corn, grasses, oats and wheat. Moles pose no public health concerns. While molehills and tunnels may be an inconvenience, they are evidence of a healthy ecosystem. Where possible, mole activity should be allowed. They eat large numbers of grubs and other insects, and they help aerate the soil. In Illinois, moles are protected by the Wildlife Code.
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Northern Short-tailed Shrew
Blarina brevicauda
burrow in northwest meadow; seen in flowerbeds in back
northeastern region of North America
Shrews have sharp, spike-like teeth, not the familiar gnawing front incisor teeth of rodents. Shrews are distributed almost worldwide. In general, shrews are terrestrial creatures that forage for seeds, insects, nuts, worms and a variety of other foods in leaf litter and dense vegetation, but some specialise in climbing trees, living underground, living under snow or even hunting in water. Shrews must eat 80-90 % of their own body weight in food daily.
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Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
Sylvilagus floridanus
In front meadow, under pines, in grasses

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American toad
Bufo americanus
All over; several have "houses" near garage; when we had a pond they bred in it and we had thousands of toadlets
Throughout large portions of North America
American toads, Bufo americanus, are only native to the Nearctic region. These toads have an immense ability to adapt to their surroundings as long as there is a source of semi-permanent water for them to use in the breeding season. This quality has allowed them to successfully colonize suburban and agricultural areas.
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Green frog
Rana clamitans
In drainage ditch
We had a fishpond for years that always attracted several green frogs and occasionally bullfrogs. The pond is gone now but we still have at least one green frog living in the drainage ditch out front.
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Spotted Salamander
Ambystoma maculatum
Salamanders are declining everywhere. We have seen several over the years, but not recently. Of course, we aren't doing as much digging and disrupting of hiding places in recent years, so we will optimistically assume the little guys are still out there. Adults can live up to 30 years and remember where their breeding pool was. If a predator of the spotted salamander manages to dismember a part of a leg, tail, or even parts of the brain/head, then it can grow back a new one.
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Tiger Salamander
Ambystoma tigrinum
We are going from memory of a few years back, but believe we recall finding both tiger and spotted, both in the woods and occasionally under rocks near the house.
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Heterorhabditidae beneficial nematode
Lawn and meadows
Entomopathogenic nematodes are extraordinarily lethal to many important soil insect pests, yet are safe for plants and animals.
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Steinernema beneficial nematode
Steinernema feltiae
Lawn and meadows
Entomopathogenic nematodes are extraordinarily lethal to many important soil insect pests, yet are safe for plants and animals.
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Stone Centipedes
tbd tbd
Everywhere that's dark, damp, and decaying.
We have a variety of centipedes, generally found in decaying wood and leaves. Photos in link are representative
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Boxelder bugs
Boisea trivittatus
On boxelders (duh!)
They used to gather (see wiki article in link 3) on the south side of the garage each year; after teardown and rebuild, they gather on a wall of the house in nearly the same spot
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Black carpenter ants
Camponotus pennsylvanicus
stumps and deadfall
In their natural environment, carpenter ants nest in dead trees and other dead wood. This enhances decay, which has ecological benefits. Carpenter ants are large (¼ in–1 in) ants indigenous to many parts of the world. They prefer dead, damp wood in which to build nests. Sometimes carpenter ants will hollow out sections of trees. The most likely species to be infesting a house in the United States is the Black carpenter ant, Camponotus pennsylvanicus. However, there are over a thousand other species in the genus Camponotus.
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Monarch butterfly
Danaus plexippus
Spotted twice on milkweed in southwest meadow; 2009; in summer 2010 were present in front meadow and feedlot meadow all season. Photo is in feedlot.
The monarch is perhaps the best known of all North American butterflies. Monarchs are especially noted for their lengthy annual migration.
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Armadillidium vulgare
under stuff
They are characterised by their ability to roll into a ball when disturbed. They typically feed on moss, algae, bark and other decaying organic matter. They are usually found in moist areas such as decomposing leaf matter and soil.
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Wood Louse
Porcellio scaber
under stuff
They typically feed on moss, algae, bark and other decaying organic matter. They are usually found in moist areas such as decomposing leaf matter and soil. Sowbugs differ from pillbugs in that they are somewhat flatter with appendages on rear, cannot roll into a ball.
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Purple Martin Barn Swallow Tufted Titmouse Black-capped chickadee American Goldfinch Pine grosbeak Purple Finch American Robin Eastern Bluebird
American Tree Sparrow Indigo Bunting Chipping sparrow Dark-eyed Junco Red Fox Sparrow White-breasted Nuthatch Red-breasted nuthatch European Starling Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Red-winged Blackbird Baltimore Oriole Brown-headed Cowbird Common Grackle Blue Jay Carolina Wren American Treecreeper Coopers hawk
Red-tailed Hawk Bald Eagle Red-bellied woodpecker Hairy Woodpecker Downy Woodpecker Mourning Dove Fox squirrel Black squirrel Grey squirrel
Chipmunk Prairie vole Eastern Wild Turkey Striped skunk Raccoon Coyote Red Fox Virginia opossum American toad
Green frog Great Horned Owl Tiger Salamander Spotted Salamander Eastern Mole Northern Short-tailed Shrew Eastern Cottontail Rabbit Mallard duck Great Blue Heron
Heterorhabditidae beneficial nematode Steinernema beneficial nematode Stone Centipedes Boxelder bugs Pillbugs Wood Louse Black carpenter ants Monarch butterfly