Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Illinois
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After a Storm
Nature Bulletin No. 47   January 5, 1946
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Clayton F. Smith, President
Roberts Mann, Superintendent of Conservation

At daybreak on Monday, December 24, a blinding blizzard raged. About eight o'clock the snow ceased. Immediately the woods and meadows became alive with hungry animals and birds.

The rabbits came out of their snug hiding places to cruise the thickets, gnawing the bark of young trees and shrubs, or racing about for exercise and play. The squirrels came down from their den trees and zigzagged here and there, digging out acorns from beneath the snow. The killers of the foxes, mink and weasel -- came out hunting for mice and any luckless bird or animal they could surprise.

Everywhere in the tall grass and weeds of the meadows, the field mice had made telltale holes from their runways up to the surface, for air. Flocks of song sparrows hopped about, jumping up to seize the choice weed seeds. Pheasants stalked along, eating seeds and hunting patches of burdock or nubbins left in cornfields, where they could get a real meal. The juncoes cleaned up what the pheasants wasted.

The hairy woodpeckers tap-tap-tapped on dead branches. The red cardinals traveled along the hedgerows. The crows searched for dead rabbits and other animals killed along the highways.

Birds and small animals get along better in winter than most folks realize. It is a sleet and ice storm, such as we had Christmas eve, that makes their existence precarious. Then food is a problem. Then there are innumerable tragedies.

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