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Chicago outdoors: Foxes on the roof, killdeer in flight, St. Joe River steelhead, smell of smelt memory

Foxes on a roof, a killdeer in flight, a record number of steelhead in the St. Joseph River and the memory of the smell of smelt on the Chicago lakefront in bygone years are among the notes around Chicago outdoors.

A fox on a roof in Worth. Provided by Mark Nowakowski
A fox on a roof in Worth.
Provided by Mark Nowakowski

Notes come from all around Chicago outdoors and beyond.


“Anyone else have foxes on their roof? Mark Nowakowski

A: Simple answer, no, that is a first in my 25 years of doing this column. Nowakowski sent this explanation, “My wife [Lisa] was working from home [in Worth] and heard something on the roof. When she looked out that’s what she saw.”


A killdeer in flight at McDowell Grove. Credit: Dr. Elizabeth Pector
A killdeer in flight at McDowell Grove.
Dr. Elizabeth Pector

Dr. Elizabeth Pector had a good visit to McDowell Grove in late March and photographed multiple birds (golden-crowned kinglet, a flying wood duck, blue-wing teal) and took this good shot of a killdeer in flight.

WOTW, the celebration of wild stories and photos around Chicago outdoors, runs most weeks in the special two-page outdoors section in the Sun-Times Sports Saturday. To make submissions, email ( or contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or Instagram (@BowmanOutside).



Boat America: Next Saturday, April 17: Chicago, Chris Strahlman, . . . Fox Lake, Winston Tumaneng,


Turkey hunting: Saturday, April 10, to Thursday, April 15: Second season, south zone . . . Friday, April 16, to April 23: Third season, south . . . Monday, April 12, to Friday, April 16: First season, north


Next Saturday, April 17: Busse Woods Litter Obliteration, meet at boating center, bring own garbage bags and gloves, 9 a.m.


6,354: Steelhead through the St. Joseph River in Indiana in March, a record since the Indiana DNR switched to a video software capture in 2008, according to Lake Michigan biologist Ben Dickinson.


“I remember back in the day, not sure on the year, catching smelt while in a snow squall. But when they were running, caught and in the bucket, the smelt smelled like cucumbers.”

Rick Rundle with a memory of when smelt were thick on the Chicago lakefront