Peggy Notebaert Museum just north of Lincoln Park Zoo has a wonderful prairie garden. Plantings are more established each year and many species have claimed it as their home including several red-winged blackbirds. They follow me around for about 20 feet of the pathway. I’m thinking that they are giving away the fact that their nests are nearby. I could never find them with the tall grasses now reaching over five feet; but they still aggressively mark their space with fly overs and squawking as I pass.
The milkweed buds are about ready to burst into their full multiflora blooms. At this point there are no monarch larva munching their leaves, so they look pristine except for the presence of these red beetles. Does anyone knowswhat species they are? This is not my expertise. I wonder if they choose this plant as the monarch does to protect themselves from predators; if they eat the milkweed sap which is a known poison to other insects and birds they too are left untouched.
image copyright 2011 Pamela Breitberg