Ornithology is a zoological science that studies those creatures belonging to the Class Aves, much better known as birds. Birds, the only vertebrates that have feathers, are generally divided into two major groups. Ostriches, Emus, Dodos and Kiwis are ratites, birds that lack that conspicuous keel-like extension on the breast bone and lack the ability to fly. The vast majority of the birds, however, are non-ratites and possess the keel to which the powerful muscles that power the wings are attached. All-in-all, there are over 9200 extant species of birds divided into 30 orders and 174 families. Their ability to fly has allowed them to colonize every land mass on earth including the Arctic and Antarctic and some, like the Penguins, have adapted an aquatic lifestyle coming to shore only to breed and raise young.
Fossil evidence of the ancestors of modern birds indicates that they were contemporaneous with dinosaurs. Indeed, evidence is mounting that these feathered creatures are in fact the highly evolved living incarnation of the terrible lizards. This long evolutionary history has allowed for the development of the many unique morphological, physical and behavioral attributes in birds that make the science of ornithology such an interesting vocation.
List of Illinois Birds
Illinois Endangered and Threatened Birds - Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board
Guide to Illinois Birds - Species profiles and distribution maps
INHS bird-related research and projects are listed in our Annual Reports.
See our Publications Catalog for bird-related material published at INHS.
Some past articles published in INHS Reports:
Effects of Excluding Birds on Illinois Prairies. Winter 2002
Fruit Complementarity in Feeding Birds. Spring 2001
Exotic Shrubs and Songbird Nest Success. Summer 2000
Species Spotlight: American Robin. May-June 2000
Turkeys on the Edge of the Prairie. September-October 1999
Wingbeats over Illinois. September-October 1997
Species Spotlight: Yellow-headed Blackbird. March-April 1997
Grassland for Prairie Chickens: How much is Enough?. January-February 1997
Tree Cavity Abundance and Use by Nesting Wood Ducks. September-October 1995
Kentucky Warbler Population Dynamics in a Forest Mosaic. May-June 1995
Non-resident Prairie Chickens in Illinois. March-April 1995
18 June 2002 cam