If you are anything like many of us at the Wildlife Medical Clinic, then staying at home 24/7 takes a toll on you! However, this is a wonderful chance to spend some time outside (while practicing social distancing) and see the beautiful natural ecosystem of Illinois. We are lucky to have a variety of animals living just outside our doorstep that can help make staying at home that much more entertaining. With all of this newfound time, why not explore just how much there is to see outside? We present to you a scavenger hunt of things to find, see, hear, and experience, all from your own backyard! This list contains many different things that can be found in our region of Illinois. Good luck finding all of them and be sure to document your adventure with some pictures along the way! You can share your photos with us on Facebook!
- Red-tailed hawk (pro tip: look for one flying above or perched on a telephone pole)
- The sound of an owl “hooting” (pro tip: the coo-OOO-ooo call of a Mourning dove can sometimes be mistaken for an owl – don’t be fooled!)
- An eastern cottontail rabbit
- An eastern gray squirrel jumping between trees
*Bonus point* can you spot both an eastern gray squirrel and a fox squirrel?
- The sound of a Canada goose honking
- Wildlife footprints in the dirt/mud
*Bonus point* can you identify what animal it belongs to?
- A snake slithering across the ground
- A wildlife animal actively eating something
- An interesting spider web
- A turtle basking in the spring sun
- A duck quacking
*Bonus point* can you tell what kind of duck it is?
- Evidence of a new animal life (pro tip: baby bunny nests often look like a pile of messy brown grass, chirping of hungry chicks can be heard during daytime hours, and baby ducks/geese often stay close to mom!)
*Bonus Point* pick up 5 pieces of trash on your adventure to help the environment stay wild!
We hope this activity provided some fun outside time experiencing all that nature has to offer! Please include us in your fun and share any pictures of wildlife you took while on your scavenger hunt. Remember, wildlife is amazing and always best at a safe distance! While you’re honing your skills on social distancing, make sure to keep your distance from wildlife as well to enjoy the signs, and keep everyone safe and healthy. Happy scavenging!
While the University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic is not able to accept new patients at this time, we are anxious to get back to work providing care to our local wildlife just as soon as it is safe to do so! If you come across an animal who needs help, please contact your local licensed wildlife rehabilitator for guidance. A list of those rehabilitators can be found by clicking here.
Animals who are clearly suffering may alternatively be brought to the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital for euthanasia. The Wildlife Medical Clinic is returning phone calls and can provide additional guidance if you need help protecting a nest or getting an animal care it needs. Stay safe, we wish you well!
This scavenger hunt was created by Jamie Booth, class of 2023.