Rush Creek Forest-Prairie


Site Description

This site covers the area in and adjacent to the Rush Creek State Natural Area. This area has one of the most intact forestland in the driftless portion of the state, including the connecting floodplain forest. Topography is steep with bedrock close to the surface in many places. Most slopes are forested with oaks and hickory; north-facing slopes are mostly maple, basswood and oak. Silver maple, hackberry, and swamp white oak dominate the floodplain forest. Dry prairie, cool season grasses, oak savanna, and wet meadows also are present.

Rush Creek forest, photo by Eric Epstein

Rush Creek forest, photo by Eric Epstein

Ornithological Importance

Numerous species breed in the forested areas, including Acadian flycatcher, wood thrush, yellow-throated vireo, Kentucky warbler, and cerulean warbler. Also present are blue-winged warblers and red-headed woodpeckers. The dry prairies and grasslands support field sparrows and Henslow’s sparrows. Thousands of migrating raptors concentrate here in both spring and fall, and numerous bald eagles are present in the winter.

Photo Credits: Eric Epstein