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One of the three capybara, just arrived at the Brookfield Zoo. (Jim Schulz / CZS-Brookfield Zoo)

Capybaras, native to Central and South America, are the largest members of the rodent family, tipping the scales at 130 pounds. Three of them have just arrived at the Brookfield Zoo.

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If marsh birds like the pied-billed grebe, pictured, return to Powderhorn Lake, conservationists will judge the wetlands restoration a success. (simardfrancois / Pixabay)

A wetlands restoration project is underway at Powderhorn Lake Forest Preserve in the Calumet region, where construction of a human-made water control device will recreate a more natural system of drainage.

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Modern sunbirds also have long tail feathers. (Jason Weckstein / The Field Museum)

Scientists have uncovered the fossil of a bird that lived 120 million years ago, and it definitely had flair, including unusually long tail feathers. These flashy feathers probably didn’t help the bird achieve aerodynamic flight, but they might have helped him find a mate, according to new research.

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The endangered rusty patched bumble bee. (Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Four years after the rusty patched bumble bee was placed on the endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its final recovery plan for the insect, a plan critics say manages to go too far and yet not far enough at the same time.

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(WTTW News)

The nonprofit El Valor has raised thousands of monarchs, and each year the community comes together for a butterfly release. 

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A red-rumped parrot, one of the bird species that has seen its bill size increase. (Credit: Ryan Barnaby)

Some warm-blooded animals are experiencing shifts in their body shapes, likely as a response to the pressures of climate change, according to a new review of existing research.

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A Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth at Brookfield Zoo receives a COVID-19 vaccine. (Cathy Bazzoni / Chicago Zoological Society-Brookfield Zoo)

Animals at Brookfield Zoo have begun receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, with Lincoln Park Zoo soon to follow, as federal and state officials approved the use of the inoculations.

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One of the 2020 photo contest winners, taken at Oak Forest Heritage Preserve. (Credit: Sharon Dobben)

Dig those images of flowers, birds and trees out of the iCloud and enter them in the forest preserve district’s annual photo contest. Winning images will be featured in the district’s 2022 calendar. 

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More than 30 million migrating birds will pass over Illinois in the coming days. (Dariusz Grosa / Pexels)

With close to 100,000 birds expected to pass over Chicago this weekend, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and its partners have issued a “lights out” alert for the city, encouraging building owners and residents to turn off as many lights as possible between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

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Volunteers are needed for beach cleanups in September. (Courtesy of Shedd Aquarium)

As beach season winds down in Chicago, the Shedd Aquarium is hosting a series of weekend cleanups to clear the shoreline of a summer’s worth of litter and debris.

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The Anti-Cruelty Society is participating in the national Clear the Shelters campaign and hosted a pair of events at the end of August. The agency is seeing an increase in the number of pets coming in after a drop-off in 2020. (Courtesy of The Anti-Cruelty Society)

Animal shelters across the city are seeing an increase this year in the number of pets coming through their doors. What’s behind that trend — and how shelters are trying to keep pets in homes.

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Spotted skunk specimens in the Field Museum's collection. DNA analysis revealed new species. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

People who don’t study mammals for a living may be surprised to learn there’s more than one kind of skunk — and scientists affiliated with the Field Museum have uncovered members that had been hiding in plain sight.

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A Great Lakes piping plover. (Vince Cavalieri / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Monty arrived in Texas a week ago, and now members of Audubon Florida have confirmed that Rose has been spotted at her winter home. 

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Chicago as seen from the International Space Station. The Palos Preserves Urban Night Sky Place is outlined in green. (Courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center)

Palos Preserves has been named an Urban Night Sky Place by the International Dark-Sky Association. The site emits nearly 1,000 times less light than downtown Chicago, with four times as many stars visible in the night sky than can be seen in the city.

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Mother and pup of the bat species Saccopteryx bilineata. Similar to human infants, pups begin babbling at a young age as they develop language skills. (Courtesy Ahana Fernandez / Michael Stifter)

Babbling Baby Bats. Simulated Rats. The impressive memory of cuttlefish. And why, counter to popular belief, some key mental abilities appear to actually improve with aging. University of Chicago paleontologist Neil Shubin returns to help us understand some of the latest science stories making headlines.

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A dog models apparel from Pittie Clothing Company, founded by Erin Crowley of Humboldt Park. (WTTW News)

A Humboldt Park woman is on a mission to break the stigma surrounding pit bulls — one colorful outfit at a time. How Erin Crowley’s line of dog apparel aims to help change people’s preconceived notions about the breed.