RFI: December mammals in Chicago area


a member of birdforum recently emailed me wondering what winter mammal possibilities would be present in the above area or within a days drive. I am guessing not much, but haven’t done much travel in that area. Can anyone give me suggestions for places he might be able to visit nearby that would offer mammals?


  • Matt Miller

    I guess this depends if he/she has a lot of U.S./North America experience and has seen the common species, or if he hasn’t seen many of the North American species.

    If it’s the former, there’s probably not a lot that you could do.

    If this is a first trip here, you could see a lot of the common species in December. There is a lot of farmland within driving distance of Chicago, or you could visit Wisconsin, Michigan or Northeast Iowa.

    I have some experience with Northeast Iowa. Effigy Mounds National Monument is a nice reserve. Visiting there and surrounding state parks and farmlands, you could reasonably see white-tailed deer, raccoon, coyote, Virginia opossum, striped skunk, gray & fox squirrel, cottontail rabbit, etc. Beaver, mink and muskrat are all possible in wetland areas. Nothing unusual–but he could at least get the common species if he hasn’t been here before.

    If he’s looking for specialty or hard-to-find species, I think it’s going to require a lot more effort.

    I’d be happy to be more specific if he’s not seen the common species.

  • Coke Smith


    Take a look at our travelblog. We often go to the Chicago land area and I always try to get a little mammaling in while visiting the fam. Here are a couple pages from the blog that may be of use:



    The DuPage Country forest preserve network is especially impressive and well designed. You should have some good luck.

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