Twilight Is The Perfect Time For Outdoor Exploration

Twilight is the time of the day when the sun has just set below the horizon. The sky can be full of oranges, purples and blues. It is still light enough to see, but it is starting to get dark.

This is a great time to get outside.

Photo courtesy of Michael Fagan

Even though humans are starting to get ready to go to bed, there are plenty animals getting ready to start their day in the dark. "Nocturnal" is a term for those animals that are active at night. The lesser-known term “crepuscular” refers to an animal that only comes out during dawn and dusk.


Song Switch Over


Sit back and listen to the day animals singing goodnight and the nocturnal animals waking up. Birds like robins will start singing at twilight. A little later, green frogs and bullfrogs will get their turn to sing. More animals from the forest floor will scurry about making rustling noises. Mammals like flying squirrels, raccoons and foxes can call out in more of a crying and screaming sound.


Light Show


Beginning at the end of June and through July, fireflies let their little lights shine. Check your back yard or head to a wooded area to see how many blinking lights you can find. Are you quick enough to catch one? Can you catch enough to make a jar light up? Make sure you poke holes in your container and let the fireflies go at the end of the night. They have lots of business to attend to!


Eyes to the Sky


Right as the sun goes down, sit back and look up. You may see birds flapping and swirling about. But take a closer look. Those could be bats!


Bats are extremely important to our ecosystem. They help control the insect population, pollinate plants and spread seeds. We have 13 different species of bats in Illinois. Nighttime is when they hunt, eating 500 to 1,000 insects just in one hour.


They see by using their ears and echolocation. The bat calls out and listens to the sound waves it just created. The sound waves bounce off of objects and echo back to the bat, sending information about how far away it is located.