by Carl Strang
The broad-winged tree cricket was the first singing insect that surprised me by turning up north of its established range. That was back in 2006, and finding it abundant in DuPage County, half a state north of where it previously had been known to occur, was my first indication that there were significant gaps in knowledge that needed filling.
Since then, I have determined that this cricket becomes somewhat less abundant as one moves south to north in DuPage, but there are places where choruses of many individuals can be heard in the northern third of the county.
This year I put some time into seeking broad-winged tree crickets to the north of DuPage County. I found them in two locations in northern Cook County: the Carl Hansen Woods Forest Preserve, where there are a few pockets of up to 20 singing males but much suitable habitat that remains empty; and, a little farther north, 3 singing males at Penny Road Pond, another Cook County Forest Preserve site. I sought them without success farther north.
I believe they still are spreading, and in fact a few years ago found them in southwestern Wisconsin at the junction of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. Documenting their spread will remain another item on my annual research checklist of goals.