Archived Articles May, 2024

Preparing for the Return of Hummingbirds in the Midwest

As spring arrives in the St. Louis metro area, hummingbirds are making their way back to their breeding grounds. The arrival of these tiny, iridescent birds is an eagerly anticipated event for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. The Ruby-throated hummingbird, the primary species seen in Missouri and Southern Illinois, typically begins to arrive around mid-April. Male hummingbirds are usually the first to appear, followed by females a couple of weeks later.

Hummingbirds exhibit a strong homing instinct and often return to the area where they were born. Put out hummingbird feeders by mid-April to ensure that early arrivals have a food source. Hummingbirds have excellent memories and may return to the same feeders year after year. Create a Nectar Solution by mixing one-part white sugar with four parts water, boil the mixture to help prevent fermentation, and allow it to cool before filling the feeders.

With Spring Comes the Morel Mushrooms

Mushroom hunting, particularly for morels, is a popular activity in Southern Illinois. The best time to hunt for morels in Southern Illinois is during the spring, especially after light rains and when the weather starts to warm. Morels tend to appear in Illinois woodlands each spring, offering a culinary delight to successful mushroom hunters.

Morels can be found in various locations, but they are often associated with certain trees like dead elms, old ash, and apple trees. They thrive in moist and cool environments, so look for them in forested areas, particularly around the aforementioned trees. The season for hunting the tasty fungi has a short window, and typically spans from late March to mid-May. The exact timing can vary based on spring weather conditions.  Happy hunting!

The Giant Sinkhole on Illinois Route 185, and Its Local Impact

In the heart of Southern Illinois, a colossal sinkhole has captured both attention and concern. Located between Hillsboro and Coffeen, this geological marvel has led to the indefinite closure of Illinois Route 185. Over a weekend, the sinkhole made its dramatic appearance near Illinois Route 185. Measuring approximately 50 feet in diameter, it emerged in a farmer’s field, catching the eye of passersby and transportation authorities alike. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) swiftly responded by closing the affected section of the highway to ensure public safety.

IDOT has engaged a geotechnical consultant to assess the situation thoroughly. Until the evaluation is complete, Illinois Route 185 will remain closed, ensuring the safety of motorists and preventing any further incidents. Sinkholes are not uncommon in certain regions of Illinois.

Southern Illinois, this area, including regions near Granite City, experiences a higher incidence of sinkholes. Factors such as underlying geology, water drainage patterns, and human activities contribute to their formation. Activities such as mining, construction, and groundwater extraction can exacerbate sinkhole formation. In some cases, abandoned mines or boreholes contribute to sinkhole development.

April 2024 Archives