Chicago Ecological Services Field Office

Midwest Region


Map of Chicago Field Office counties of responsibility.






Ecological Services

We work with public and private entities to conserve and restore Chicago metro area endangered species, migratory birds, wetlands, and other important fish and wildlife resources.



For questions about CITES permits, and importing wildlife and wildlife parts, please contact the USFWS Chicago Wildlife Inspection Program (847) 298-3250


A volunteer uses a toothpick to hand-pollinate an eastern prairie fringed orchid. Photo by Cathy Pollack/USFWS

A volunteer uses a toothpick to hand-pollinate an eastern prairie fringed orchid.

Photo by Cathy Pollack/USFWS


Abbott Laboratories staff lend a hand to help the eastern prairie fringed orchid

Abbott Laboratories is an American health care company with its headquarters in Lake Bluff, Illinois. One portion of its large campus includes 160 acres of undeveloped land. Forty of these acres support a naturally occurring population of the federally threatened eastern prairie fringed orchid. Blooming plants actually occur in three separate areas across the 40 acres. Over the years, the numbers of blooming plants have ranged from three to 154 annually.


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Learn more about birding at Forest Preserves of Cook County and get involved today!



Know your community, know your birds: birding Chicago's forest preserves

Baltimore Oriole


You love to bird and so do we! At the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service we look for opportunities to get people outside and learn about their natural world. More than 250 nature enthusiasts, bird lovers and city neighbors came out for the 2018 International Migratory Bird Day Celebration in May at Labagh Woods in Chicago, Illinois. Take a moment to learn about how Chicago is rallying around birds.


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Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid



ESA consultation on road construction provides more protection for eastern prairie fringed orchid population

Eastern prairie fringed orchid


Since 2009, the Chicago Illinois Field Office has been working with the Illinois Department of Transportation to protect a population of the eastern prairie fringed orchid in northeastern Illinois. The orchid is listed under the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species and is vulnerable to habitat degradation, such as from increased pollutants associated with dirty water running off roadways after storms.


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Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid


Establishing Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid on Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge


Eastern prairie fringed orchid

The Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge was established in 2012. As planned, it will be an urban refuge with noncontiguous properties of varying habitats such as tallgrass prairie patches, wetlands and oak savanna. Located in the northwestern region of the Chicago metropolitan area and southern part of the Milwaukee area.percent).


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Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid



2017 Illinois eastern prairie fringed orchid field season summary


Volunteer counting flowers on eastern prairie fringed orchid stem.

Illinois recorded 1,186 blooming eastern prairie fringed orchid plants from all populations in 2017. This number is down by 750 blooming plants from 2016 (n=1936), but the 2016 count was the highest recorded number of blooming plants since we started keeping records in 1991.


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Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid




Bat Week - October 24 to 31! Check out what we're doing to help bats.


Few of nature’s animals are as misunderstood as bats. Though often feared and loathed as sinister creatures of the night, bats are vital to the health of our environment and our economy as pest control, pollinators and seed dispersers. For the past decade, however some bats have been dying in alarming numbers due to a fungal disease called white-nose syndrome (WNS). Across the continent, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and partners are working to protect bats, research treatments to halt the spread of WNS, and raise awareness about just how incredible - and vulnerable - these creatures are.


Check out the Bat Conservation Map


Bat Week



Monarch Festival at Oak Lawn


About 350 to 400 people attended the Oak Lawn Park District’s annual Monarch Festival on Saturday, September 16th. The event included two rooms filled with presenters and exhibits in addition to the outdoor tents with representatives from The Field Museum, Sierra Club, University of Illinois Extension Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others. Children had fun making butterfly arts and crafts, participating in an interactive butterfly puppet play, tagging and releasing monarchs, petting bugs, and watching a movie about monarchs. There was a great atmosphere felt on this beautiful sunny day, which was made even livelier by the tunes of the DJ.


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About Monarch Butterflies



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Last updated: October 1, 2018