Illinois waterways, waterfowl detailed in new book

December 09, 1999

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. ‹ Illinois wetlands, waterways and waterfowl have come together in a 672-page book and companion field guide that blend history, biological research, conservation management and a wealth of color photographs and facts. The book, "Waterfowl of Illinois: Status and Management," documents and builds upon a century of research along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and in the state's marshes and swamps. Among the waterfowl covered are the mallard, American black duck, blue- and green-winged teal, northern shoveler, wood duck, lesser scaup, ruddy duck, hooded merganser, Canada goose and the lesser snow goose. The book and the abbreviated field guide are newly published by the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS).

"The information presented in this endeavor will be of interest to those who appreciate the wetlands and the water birds they sustain in the Mississippi Flyway," said Stephen P. Havera, the author and the director of the INHS Frank C. Bellrose Waterfowl Research Center in Havana, Ill. "The abbreviated field guide makes available selected highlights from its companion volume."

Havera knows the subject material well. He grew up near the Illinois River and Peoria Lake, an area that hosted thousands of canvasbacks and lesser scaups as well as ardent duck hunters. He was an avid reader of outdoor columnists, studied biology at Bradley University and zoology at the University of Illinois, where he later earned a doctorate in ecology. He joined the INHS in 1972, and in 1978 teamed with Bellrose, a leading researcher in the survey's waterfowl program. Bellrose retired in 1982. Havera also holds a faculty appointment in the U. of I. department of natural resources and environmental sciences.

He began compiling the "Waterfowl of Illinois" in 1980. "Although its landscapes have changed dramatically in the past two centuries, Illinois still hosts significant numbers of waterfowl and other water birds, especially during the fall and spring migrations, and will continue to do so," Havera said. The book includes chapters on waterfowl populations and distributions, habitats, food habits, hunting traditions, management, nesting and even biographies of leading waterfowl biologists. Also covered is the work of famous carvers of wooden duck decoys and duck calls, whose creations were inspired by the state's waterfowl.

"There is an indescribable lure about waterfowl that captures our interest, whether we are birdwatchers, conservationists, outdoor enthusiasts or hunters," Havera said. "We want to know what kinds of waterfowl frequent our state, when, where, how, how many, what they eat, where they nest, and what we can do to enjoy or help them."
"Waterfowl of Illinois: Status and Management" and the field guide, "Illinois Waterfowl," are available for $69.95 through the INHS publications office. They can be purchased separately; $59.95 for the book, $14.95 for the field guide.

To order, send a check, payable to the University of Illinois, to the Illinois Natural History Survey, Distribution Office, 607 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign, IL 61820. Prices include domestic shipping and handling. More information can be obtained by calling (217) 333-6880 or visiting on the World Wide Web.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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