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Cardinal. (tlparadis / Pixabay)

The National Audubon Society’s annual bird count is underway. Now in its 121st year, the tally gives researchers and conservationists a good picture of how North America’s bird populations are changing.

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In this June 2, 2019, file photo, a fresh monarch butterfly rests on a Swedish Ivy plant soon after emerging in Washington. (AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster, File)

Trump administration officials are expected to say this week whether the monarch butterfly, a colorful and familiar backyard visitor now caught in a global extinction crisis, should receive federal designation as a threatened species.

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Interspersing native plants with solar panels can benefit pollinators. (Andreas Senftleben / Pixabay)

Incorporating pollinator habitat into large-scale solar installations makes sense for wildlife, but what about the bottom line? Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago aim to answer that question.

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People dump everything, including the kitchen sink, in Cook County's forest preserves. (Courtesy of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County)

Fly dumping, or the illegal dumping of waste, was already a problem at the preserves, but it’s gotten worse in 2020, according to officials.

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The Navy Pier flyover. (WTTW News)

Chicago’s lakefront trail has been battered by winter storms this year and closed down by the mayor. But there is some good news on horizon: the long-awaited Navy Pier flyover appears to be close to completion.

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Great Kiskadee (Liam Lysaght / Pixabay)

Great Kiskadees don’t normally roam north of Texas, so the first-ever sighting in Illinois caused quite a commotion, attracting birders from across the state to Will County.

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Former farmland within the Grant Woods Forest Preserve will become a demonstration site for climate-adapted seeds. (Courtesy of Lake County Forest Preserves)

Lake County Forest Preserves is launching an ambitious conservation research project to determine whether it’s possible to preserve natural areas by proactively preparing for climate change. 

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In this photo provided by the University of Vermont Health Network, IT staff at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, Vt., continue work to scan thousands of the hospital's computer systems for malware on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. (Ryan Mercer/University of Vermont Health Network via AP)

By targeting health care providers with attacks that scramble and lock up data until victims pay a ransom, hackers can demand thousands or millions of dollars and wreak havoc until they’re paid.

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We could be in for some wild weather this winter, meteorologists said. (Pasja1000 / Pixabay)

This winter we’re in for a La Nina cycle, which is known for increased storminess and has produced some wild weather over the years.

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Cook County Forest Preserve stewardship days have looked different during the coronavirus pandemic. (Forest Preserve District of Cook County / Facebook)

Green spaces have seen unprecedented use during the pandemic, which has left land stewards overwhelmed by crowds, but heartened to see so many new visitors.

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River ice. (ArtTower / Pixabay)

The agency is recruiting volunteers to keep a watch on river ice in the Chicago area. Ice Spotters help with early detection of ice jams, which can cause major flooding.

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Strong winds are creating high waves along the Lake Michigan shoreline. (Nikkiwjourney / Pixabay)

Strong winds are creating dangerous conditions along the lakeshore, prompting the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications to issue a lakeshore flood advisory until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

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(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Is there a middle ground between obliterating leaves and letting nature take its course? We asked an expert from the Chicago Botanic Garden.

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Sandhill cranes. (ladymacbeth / Pixabay)

More than 25,000 migrating sandhill cranes are making a pit stop at Indiana’s Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area. The bird’s numbers have rebounded thanks to wetland conservation efforts, but now climate change threatens to undo that progress. 

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The Cook County Forest Preserves have offered respite during the pandemic. (Forest Preserve District of Cook County / Facebook)

Throughout the pandemic, nature has proved its worth as an outlet and resource, benefiting people’s physical, emotional and mental well-being. Now the question is, will people return the favor?

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A red-tailed hawk, perched outside Jewel-Osco, 3400 N. Western Ave., on Nov. 21, 2020. (WTTW News)

A red-tailed hawk, stoically perched atop a chain-link fence, was spotted Saturday outside a Jewel-Osco in Roscoe Village. Raptors are more common in the city than most people think, said a local hawk expert.

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