Chicago outdoors: Eastern bluebird, silver pike or muskie, Annie Dillard on botany and moral thinkers

A good photograph of an eastern bluebird, a good question (and answer) on pike or muskie, and Annie Dillard on botany and moral thinkers are among the notes from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.

SHARE Chicago outdoors: Eastern bluebird, silver pike or muskie, Annie Dillard on botany and moral thinkers
An eastern bluebird in March around Chicago. Credit: Emil Baumbach

An eastern bluebird in March around Chicago.

Emil Baumbach

Notes come from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.

WILD OF THE WEEK

Emil Baumbach sent the photo above and emailed, “Eastern Bluebirds have migrated back to the Chicago area. This male has a royal blue head, rusty chest and sides and a white belly. Look for them along meadows edges. They like to drop to the ground to grab insects.”

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 BowmanOutside@gmail.com or contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or Instagram (@BowmanOutside).

WILD TIMES

HUNTER SAFETY

April 23-24: Braidwood, smitty@teachoutdoors.org

April 30-May 1: Ingleside, shawnfrey33@gmail.com

DUCKS UNLIMITED

Thursday, March 31: Windy City Dinner, The Elmcrest, Elmwood Park

U.S. COAST GUARD AUXILIARY

Next Saturday, April 2: Boat America, Chicago, Dan O’Connell, cgaux.doc@gmail.com . . . GPS for Mariners, Des Plaines, Chas. Hague, sailnrails@aol.com . . . Boat America, Waukegan, Curt Schumacher, curts402@aol.com

SHOWTIME

Click here for the complete list of shows, classes and swap meets for the coming months.

April 1-3: Illinois Deer Classic, Peoria Civic Center

ILLINOIS PERMITS/SEASONS

Today-Sunday, March 26-27: First youth spring turkey season

Thursday, March 31: Woodchuck season ends

April 2-3: Second youth spring turkey season

Brian Nosko with a big Esox that brought a good question and answer. Provided photo

Brian Nosko with a big Esox that brought a good question and answer.

Provided

DALE’S MAILBAG & BIG NUMBER

“I thought the fish was a muskie at first but was told by a few people that it was a silver pike. I don’t know if you have any input on what species she was. All in all, not bad for my first fish of 2022.” Brian Nosko, on a fish caught at ice-out on Crystal Lake

A: Lake Michigan program manager Vic Santucci leaned toward muskie because of “the predominantly unscaled cheek below the eye.” He added, “You might suggest that folks take a picture of the lower jaw of Esox that are difficult to ID. A pretty reliable method for separating northern pike and muskie is the count of the number of pores on each side of the lower jaw – six or less for northern pike and seven or more for muskie.” That’s for typical fish.

LAST WORD

“I suspect that the real moral thinkers end up, wherever they may start, in botany.”

Annie Dillard, page 113, “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek”

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