Take time to listen as you walk along the Jane Addams Traill. Take time to see as you cross creeks and pass through limestone cuts. There is a world of wildlife waiting for the observant traveler.

Many of the wild animals common to Stephenson County can be viewed or heard while walking, running or biking the Jane Addams Trail. All the usual animals that one takes for granted are seen here: red and grey fox squirrels, songbirds, pheasants and the occasional partridge. White Tail deer are plentiful and often use the trail for a path during winter. Often “deer beds” can be seen along the trail, areas where deer have slept the previous night.

The more astute traveler will see fox in their seasonal coat color, raccoon, muskrat along the many stream crossings and many species of raptors including red tail hawks, kestrels, great horned owls, barred owls, Cooper’s hawks, goshawks and screech owls. Very often, turkey vultures circle overhead or in the distance. Along waterways, heron and egrets are common as well as the occasional Sandhill Crane. It is also common to see kingfishers diving off of bridges.

David Brower once wrote that we all need to be reminded that civilization is only a thin veneer over the deep evolutionary flow of the things that built us. The little slice of wilderness that the Jane Addams Trail runs through is one of those little reminders!

Much like the plants, bird-life consists of those which are visible along the trail at any season and those who may only visit the area briefly. Hence, the joy of the bird walk is the excitement of what one might see.

A six-hour hike in 2001 from Richland Road north to the Wisconsin line yielded 77 species. Included in the list were two herons and an egret, a Semipalmated Plover, Short-billed Dowitchers, five species of flycatchers, four species of swallows, nine species of warblers and six species of sparrows.

Perhaps the most unusual species sighted were the Mourning Warbler, the Sedge Wren and a pair of Sandhill Cranes with their family of two chicks.