January 28-29, 2017 -- Eagle Watch Weekend at Starved Rock State Park. Members Nancy Casper, Jim Shipp, and Mark Luscombe were able to attend. Generally open water prevented a large concentration of eagles, with mostly resident eagles present. Observed eagle nest on IAS's Plum Island.
February 4, 2017 -- Montrose and Chicago River at Diversey. On a cold day with a brisk wind, four observers identified 19 species. Highlights included Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Red-headed Merganser, Cooper's Hawk, and American Coot.
February 11, 2017 -- Annual Gull Frolic at North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor. Members Mark Luscombe and Wayne Svoboda attended. The gull frolic was warmer than usual with only Herring, Ring-billed and Thayer's Gulls spotted. Fort Dearborn shared a sponsor table with the Lake/Cook Chapter. Other sightings included Gadwall, Northern Pintail, Redhead, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, White-winged Scoter, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, and Horned Lark.
Cats, Rats and Birds. Illinois Audubon, the Bird Conservation Network, and other groups continue to try to raise awareness in Springfield of the harm to wild birds caused by feral cats. Feral and outdoor cats are the #1 USA source of mortality for birds, with an estimated 2.4 billion birds killed annually in the U.S. (Source: The State of the Birds, 2016). Please express your concern to your elected officials aobut state funding for feral cat programs to control rat populations.
Birding the Preserves. The Cook County Forest Preserve District is continuing its promotion of birding in the forest preserves for a second year, including a Big Year competition for groups to select a particular forest preserve to try to see the most species before the end of 2017. Visit fpdcc.com/recreation/birding for more information.
Newsletter -- January to March, 2017
Summary of Field Trip Results
September through October, 2016 -- Lincoln Park Zoo and Ponds Sunday Walks. During the fall Sunday walks, 49 species were observed, as compared to 67 the prior year. Highlights included: Cooper's Hawk, Spotted Sandpiper, both Nuthatches and 6 Sparrow species.
September 10, 2016 -- Burnham Nature Corridor. Birded Burnham due to Wooded Island being closed off. A walk through produced a total of 14 species. Highlights included a Great Blue Heron.
October 8, 2016 -- River Trail Nature Center. Five observers identified 23 species. Highlights included Great Blue Heron and Red-tailed Hawk.
November 5, 2016 -- Montrose and Jarvis Bird Sanctuary. On a mostly sunny morning with temperatures around 50 degrees F and south winds at 15 MPH, 5 observers identified 16 species. Highlights included: 8+ Snow Buntings and 2 Killdeer.
New Illinois Audubon Society Executive Director. Welcome to Dr. James Herkert, who joined IAS on October 17, 2016. Dr. Herkert has a Master's degree in biology from Illinois State and a Ph.D in Ecology, Ethology and Evolution from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana. He has served as Director of the Office of Resource Conservation for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources since 2009. He previously spent eight years with The Nature Conservancy, Illinois, including six as Director of Conservation Science, and 11 years on the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board. Jim is a nationally recognized authority on Midwest grassland birds, with published papers on the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on grassland species, and is active in the American Ornithologists' Union.
Newsletter -- September to December, 2016
Summary of Field Trip Results
April through May, 2016 -- Lincoln Park Zoo and Ponds Sunday Walks. During the spring Sunday walks, 89 species were observed, a drop from 105 species in 2015. Highlights included: 3 hawk species, 5 woodpecker species, Northern Mockingbird, 8 sparrow species, 14 warbler species, and the colonies of Black-crowned Night-Herons.
April 9, 2016 -- Montrose and Jarvis Bird Sanctuary. Identified 28 species, as compared to 34 the prior year. Highlights included: Long-eared Owl with a captured Flicker, first warbler of the year, and Cooper's Hawk nest at Jarvis.
April 29-May1, 2016 -- IAS Spring Gathering, Springfield. Bird walks on Saturday the 30th and Sunday the 1st netted the group a total of 129 species of birds. Highlights included: White-fronted Goose, American Whte Pelican, Great Egret, Balk Eagle Northern Harrier, Broad-winged Hawk, Black-necked Stilt, Long-billed Dowitcher, Forster's Gull, Barn Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, 16 warbler species, and 10 sparrow species.
May 28, 2016 -- Rosehill Cemetery. Identified 26 species, as compared to 30 species in 2015. Highlights included: Indigo Bunting and Baltimore Oriole. Conversion of northwest corner of cemetery into a public park with new landscaping seems to have for the present reduced the birds utilizing that area.
July 9, 2016 -- North Park Village Butterfly Count. Identified nine species of Butterflies (two more than in 2015) and 55 individuals. 2 Monarchs (18 in 2015), 9 Cabbage Whites, 1 Mourning Cloak, 15 Sulfurs, 2 Black Swallowtails, 3 Red Admirals, 2 Clouded Sulfurs, 1 Buckeye and 3 Banded Hairstreaks. Also identified were six species of dragonflies: Green Darner, Common Whitetail, Eastern Pondhawk, Black Saddlebags, Widow Skimmer and Blue Dasher. 21 species of birds were identified, including: Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Cardinal, Yellow-shafted Flicker, Blue Jay, Mallard, Wood Duck, Cooper's Hawk, and Mourning Dove.
August 13, 2016 -- North Park Village Dragonfly Count. Identified species of dragonflies and over 100 individuals: Many Blue Dashers, 4 Common Whitetails, 1 female 12-spotted Skimmer, and many Green Darners. Also identified were ten species of butterflies: Monarch (4), Cabbage White, Sulfur, Clouded Sulfur, Black Swallowtail, Tiger Swallowtail, Silver-sported Skipper, Eastern-tailed Blue, Summer Azure, and Pearl Crescent. Also identified were 13 species of birds: American Robin, Chimney Swift, 2 Green Herons, Olive-sided flycatcher, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Cardinal, Yellow-shafted Flicker, Blue Jay, Mallard, Wood Duck, Cooper's Hawk, and Mourning Dove.
Field Guides Available from the Field Museum. Among the many field guides available at fieldguides.fieldmuseum.org are: 1. Woodland Spring Flora of the Chicago Region, 2. Common Butterflies of the Chicago Region, and 3. Common Oaks of the Chicago Region.
Zebra Finches Prepare Newborns for Climate Change. As reported in Science, researchers have identified a special call made by Zebra Finches to embryos inside their eggs when temperatures exceed a certain level that results in smaller birds, better able to adapts to hotter temperatures.
Piping Plovers Nesting on Lake Michigan Shore In Illinois. In 2015 and 2016 Piping Plovers have successfully nested on the Lake Michigan shoreline near Waukegan.. Prior to 2009, there has been no nesting record in Illinois for 30 years. The Illinois nests are at a superfund clean-up site which has helped protect the birds.
Newsletter -- April to August, 2016
Summary of Field Trip Results
January 29-30, 2016 -- Eagle Watch Weekend at Starved Rock State Park. Members Nancy Casper and Jim Shipp were able to attend. Generally open water prevented a large concentration of eagles, with at most two seen at any one point.
February 13, 2016 -- Annual Gull Frolic at North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor. the full frolic was cold and windy as usual, although sunny, with plenty of open water. Fort Dearborn Helped to staff the Illinois Audubon table at the event, along with Lake/Cook Chapter. Sightings included Glaucous, Thayer's, Greater Black-backed, Lesser Black-backed, and Iceland Gulls
March 12, 2016 -- Palos Area. On a partly sunny morning with temperatures in the upper 50s, ten observers identified 31 species. Highlights included an overflight of over 50 Sandhill Cranes and many Common Mergansers, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Coots.
Prairie Chicken Reintroduction Program. Illinois Audubon has worked out the funding and transportation for a second year of Prairie Chicken reintroduction in south central Illinois. The lack of a state budget prevented the active support of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources this year.
Birding the Preserves. The Cook County Forest Preserve District is promoting birding in the forest preserves, including a Big Year competition for groups to select a particular forest preserve to try to see the most species before the end of 2016. Visit fpdcc.com/recreation/birding for more information.
Ebird and Ibet. Even if you have not signed up to be a contributor of your sightings to Ebird, Ebird has a wealth of information available to anyone who visits the site, including information on birding hot spots and what has been seen recently in your favorite birding area. Ibet also has a great deal of information on recent bird sightings in Illinois.
Newsletter -- January to March, 2016
Summary of Field Trip Results
September through October, 2015 -- Lincoln Park Zoo and Ponds Sunday Walks. During the fall Sunday walks, 67 species were observed, as compared to 78 the prior year. Highlights included: Coopers Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Pine Siskins, American Woodcock, 13 Warbler species and 6 Sparrow species.
September 26-27, 2015 -- IAS Fall Meeting, Springfield. The weather was great, as was the food. Highlights of the birding were 70+ Turkey Vultures, 5 Woodpecker species, and 11 Warbler species.
September 12, 2015 -- Wooded Island and Northerly Island. A walk through south side city islands produced a total of 31 species. Highlights included 2 lingering Barn Swallows and 8 species of Warblers.
October 17, 2015 -- Hawk Watch at Illinois Beach State Park. On a promising partly cloudy and cool morning with 20 MPH west winds, 11 observes identified 21 species. Highlights included: Turkey Vulture, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Sandhill Crane, Northern Shrike, and Eastern Bluebird.
November 7, 2015 -- Montrose and Jarvis Bird Sanctuary. On a mostly overcast morning with temperatures around 40 degrees F and brisk winds, 10 observers identified 28 species. Highlights included: a Coopers Hawk, a Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, Sanderling, Lapland Longspur, and 5 Sparrow species.
Bison in Illinois. In addition to the Bison at Fermi Lab, new populations of Bison have been introduced to the northern Illinois prairie at Nachusa and Midewin. It is hoped that the Bison will help maintain the restored prairies and assist the return of native birds to the prairies.
Peregrines in Lakeview. Those Peregrines in Lakeview that raised young on a high rise balcony thanks to a cooperative owner who also let a photographer stay with him for a month are now featured in the November/December 2015 issue of Audubon Magazine.
New Members in 2015. Welcome to the following new members who joined Fort Dearborn Audubon in 2015; Linda Ahrens, Robert Callbeck, Carl England, Peggy Boyer Long, Dr. Harvey Strauss, and Thomas Wegrzyn.
Newsletter -- September to December, 2015
Summary of Field Trip Results
April through May, 2015 -- Lincoln Park Zoo and Ponds Sunday Walks. During the spring Sunday walks, 105 species were observed. Highlights included: Bobolink, Great Horned Owl, American Woodcock, 23 Warbler species, 8 Duck species, 9 Sparrow species, and the colonies of Black-crowned Night-Herons.
April 11, 2015 -- Montrose and Jarvis Bird Sanctuary. Identified 34 species. Highlights includes: Vesper Sparrow. A Kirkland's Warbler was also seen at Montrose for several days in May.
May 1-3, 2015 -- IAS Spring Gathering, Illinois Ozarks. Bird walks on Saturday the 2nd and Sunday the 3rd netted the group a total of 134 species of birds. Highlights included: Osprey, Mississippi Kite, Black Vulture, and Wild Turkey.
May 16, 2015 -- Pilcher Park, Joliet. Identified 41 species. Highlights included: Philadelphia Vireo, Cooper's Hawk, and Scarlet Tanager.
May 30, 2015 -- Rosehill Cemetery. Identified 30 species. Highlights included: Scarlet Tanager, 5 Green Herons, and 3 Caspian Terns.
July 11, 2015 -- North Park Village Butterfly Count. Identified seven species of butterflies and 55 individuals: 18 Monarchs, 16 Cabbage Whites, 2 Mourning Cloaks, 3 Commas, 1 Black Swallowtail, 9 Red Admirals, and 6 Great Spangled Fritillaries. Also identified were four species of dragonflies: 12-spotted Skimmer, Green Darner, Common Whitetail, and Blue Dasher. 13 species of birds were identified: Downy Woodpecker, Flicker, Red-eyed Vireo, House Wren, Song Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Cardinal, Hairy Woodpecker, Catbird, Chimney Swift, Robin and American Goldfinch.
August 1, 2015 -- North Park Village Dragonfly Count. Identified four species of dragonflies and over 100 individuals: 1 Blue Dasher, 3 Common Whitetails, 1 12-spotted Skimmer, and many Green Darners. Also identified were three species of butterflies: Monarch, Cabbage White, and Clouded Sulfur. Also identified were 13 species of birds: Goldfinch, Red-eyed Vireo, Spotted Sandpiper, House Wren, House Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Chimney Swift, Cedar Waxwing, 3 Great Blue Herons, Chipping Sparrow, Mallard, Wood Duck, and Cardinal.
Saw-whet Owl Banding. October 24th and 27th 2015, Linwood Springs Research Station, 1601 Brown Deer Lane, Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Register at http://raptorservices.rezgo.com
New Illinois Butterfly Field Guide. Butterflies of Illinois, a new field guide favorably reviewed by Wayne Svoboda, is now available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hormonal Boost for Birds in Stressful Environments. As reported in Science, researchers at the University of Arizona have found that female Mountain Bluebirds in stressful environments transmit additional hormones through the eggs to help offspring be more aggressive and adaptive.
Peregrines in Lakeview. A pair of Peregrine Falcons successfully fledged four offspring from a 28th floor balcony flower box in Lakeview. A cooperative unit owner gave the Peregrines his balcony and even allowed a wildlife photographer to stay with him for a month to document the nest. Photos at www.audubon.org/news.
Close Blinds to Help Migratory Birds. In addition to Chicago's "Lights Out" program for high rise building owners to help migratory birds navigate throug the city, Chicago Bird Collision Monitors also suggests high rise dwellers close their curtains or blinds at night to keep birds from heading toward lighted windows.
Newsletter -- April to August, 2015
Summary of Field Trip Results
January 24-25, 2015 -- Eagle Watch Weekend at Starved Rock State Park. Members Nancy Casper, Jim Shipp, Carl England, Eva Haussner and Mark Luscombe attended this year's event. The open water prevented a large concerntration of easgles with at most eight seen at any one point. The raptor program at the Starved Rock Lodge and the new J.J. Audubon presentation at the lock visitors' center were excellent as usual. The winter Illinois Bald Eages census recorded fewer eagles this year than last. There is also some concern about the declining number of juvenile eagles, although they may be being pushed into less desirable habitats by the large number of adults. Mark Luscombe donated a life-sized stuffed toy Bald Eagle to Illinois Audubon for display use at this annual event.
February 14, 2015 -- Annual Gull Frolic at North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor. The gull frolic was cold and windy as usual, although sunny, with much of the lake frozen, although some open water in the harbor and some chumming brought in the gulls. Fort Dearborn helped to staff the Illinois Audubon table at the event, along with Lake/Cook Chapter. Sighitngs includes Glaucous, Thayer's, Greater Black-backed, Lesser Black-backed, and Iceland Gulls. Also present were White-winged and Surf Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, Northern Pintail, Red-breasted Mergansers, Scaup, and Goldeneye.
March 21, 2015 -- Chicago Botanic Gardens. On a sunny morning with temperatures in the upper 30s, becoming overcast as the morning progressed, three observers identified 22 species. there was a noticeable shortage of ducks on the water, but got first-of-year Killdeer (3) and a Great Blue Heron.
Birding Without a Car. Like to bird but do not have a car, or prefer to use public transit to help the environment. Then check out Transit to Trail at animaliaproject.org. The Animalia Project is developing guides to help get you to natural areas on public transportation. Areas currently highlighted on the site include Dam No. 4 Woods by el, Montrose Point by bus, and Thatcher Woods by Metra or el.
Illinois Riverwatch Network. For anyone interested in becoming a volunteer to monitor Illinois streams, a training session is being held on Saturday, April 25, from 9:00 to 4:00 at St. Francis University in Joliet, Tower Hall, Room N111. Parking is behind Tower Hall. Contact Matt Young at 618-468-2784 or email@example.com, or on the day of the even at 501-258-1360.
Uncle Bob Rodgers. Signage has been added to the north and east sides of the Lincoln Park Zoo Nature Boardwalk acknowledging long-time member Uncle Bob Rodgers' gifts in estalishing the butterfly trail and Balck Oak savanna areas.
Newsletter -- January to March, 2015
Summary of Field Trip Results
September through October, 2014 -- Lincoln Park Zoo and Ponds Sunday Walks. During the fall Sunday walks, 78 species were observed, as compared to 61 species the prior year. Highlights included: Coopers Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Great Egret, Spotted Sandpiper, American Woodcock; 15 Warbler species and 10 Sparrow species.
September 13, 2014 -- Amboy Marsh Field Trip. The weather was great, as was the food. The focus of the trip was on botany, but the group was easily distracted by bird sightings, songs, and calls.
September 27, 2014 -- Northwestern Landfill. A total of 30 species were observed. Highlights included Brown Trasher and 8 species of Warblers.
October 4, 2014 -- Wooded Island. On a cool 40 degree F morning with 20 MPH west winds and overcast skies, three observers identifies 20 species. Highlights included 2 Belted Kingfishers and a Pied-billed Grebe.
November 1, 2014 -- Montrose and jarvis Bird Sanctuary. On a mostly overcast morning with temperatures around 40 degrees F and stron northweasterly winds 20-30 MPH, 4 observers identifies 23 species. Highlights included: a Coopers Hawk, Merlin and 2 Kestrels.
Lake Shore Drive Study Project. The North Lake Shore Drive Study Project has identified a top 20 ideas to redefine the drive, including anumber of ideas proposed by Fort Dearborn Audubon. Thank you to Kathie Heed for helping out on our inputs: 1. Separate bike/pedestrian users on Lakefront Trail, 2. Add west side bicycle highway, 3. Add trees and natural landscaping areas, 4. Add green space east of North Lake Shore Drive from Grand to LaSalle, 5. Add green space between inner and outer drives, 6. Expand park space at Oak Street and Michigan Ave.
Wind Power and Birds and Bats. The Sierra Club and chicago Ornithological Society hosted a presentation on November 8, 2014, addressing concerns about how to minimize the impact of the growing use of wind power on birds and bats. Presenters came from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, The American Bird Conservancy's Bird Smart Wind Energy Campaign, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Although a clean source of energy, current technology is having a very adverse impact on birds and bats.
Lake Calumet. A new natural area has been set aside at Lake Calument. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is purchasing 282 acres northwest of Lake Calument. A feasibility study has been undertakne for the long-delayed Ford Calumet Environmental Center at Hegewisch Marsh.
New Members in 2014. Welcome to the following new members who joined Fort Dearborn Audubon in 2014: Mary Stalzer, Joan Stohl, Barbara McDonough, Kurt 7 Loan Peterson, and Gordon Ewers.
Newsletter -- September to December, 2014
Summary of Field Trip Results
April through May, 2014 -- Lincoln Park Zoo and Ponds Sunday Walks. During the spring Sunday walks, 97 species were observed, as compared to 102 in 2013. Highlgihts included: Sora, 4 Woodpecker species, 18 Warbler species, 4 Vireo species, 7 Duck species, 9 Sparrow species, and the expanding colonies of Black-crowned Night-Herons.
April 12, 2014 Montrose and Jarvis Bird Sancturary. On a sunny morning that became overcast with south winds 10 MPH and temperatures at 50 degrees F, seven observers identified 44 species. Highlights included: 9 sparrow species and five duck species.
April 25-27, 2014 --IAS Spring Gathering, Will County. Bird walks on Friday the 25th, Saturday the 26th and Sunday the 27th to a variety of local habitats around Will County netted the group a total of 131 species of birds. Highlights included: Broad-winged Hawk, Northern Harrier, two Snowy Egrets, a pair of Northern Shrikes,Osprey, and Bald Eagle.
May 10, 2014 -- Northwestern Landfill. Fifteen observers identified 42 species, same as the prior year. Highlights included: two Bonaparte's Gulls, and nine warbler species.
May 17, 2014 -- Wooded Island. On a sunny 60 degree F morning, three observers identified 50 species, as compared to 53 in 2013. Highlights included: Northern Goshawk, 12 warbler species, and hundreds of Chimney Swifts.
May 31, 2014 -- Rosehill Cemetery. On a sunny morning with temperatures around 75-80 degrees F and light winds, eleven observers identified 37 species, as compared to 36 in 2013. Highlights included: Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, and Cooper's Hawk.
August 2, 2014 -- Rain-delayed North Park Village Butterfly Count. Five observers on a sunny morning with temperatures in the low 70 degrees identified 12 species of butterflies and 63 individuals as compared to nine species and 33 individuals in 2013: 8 Monarchs, 36 Cabbage Whites, 2 Question Marks, 1 Hackberry, 1 Red-spotted Purple, 1 Black Swallowtail, and 5 Spring Azures.
August 2, 2014 --North Park Village Dragonfly Count. Five observers on a sunny morning with temperatures in the low 70 degrees F identified five species of dragonflies and 55 individuals, as compared to six species and over 100 individuals in 2013: 36 White-faced Meadowhawks, 4 Blue Dashers, 3 Common Whitetails, 6 Green Darners, and 3 Eastern Pondhawks. Also identified were 20 species of birds.
Monarch Monitoring. The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP) is encouraging individuals to plant milkweed, monitor the site weekly, and submit data online. See www.mlmp.org.
Bumble Bee Watch. The Xerxes Society and partners are asking for bumble bee sightings to be tracked by uploading photos to bumblebeewatch.org.
Facial Recognition App. Birdsnap app permits a digital picture of a bird to be uploaded and identified using facial recognition-type software.
Annual Bird Deaths. Science News Magazine estimated some sources of annual bird deaths: Cats - 1.3-4.0 billion; Windows - 365-988 million; Wind turbines - 573,000.
Newsletter -- April to August, 2014
Summary of Field Trip Results
January 25-26, 2014 -- Eagle Watch Weekend at Starved Rock State Park. Members Nancy Casper and Jim Shipp attended this year's even and reported that the cold weather did produce a large number of Bald Eagles this year and an excellent raptor program at the Starved Rock Lodge as usual. The winter Illinois Bald Easgle census headed up by Illinois Audubon recorded a record number of eagles in Illinois this past winter.
February 15, 2014 -- Annual Gull Frolic at North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor. The Gull Frolic was cold with much of the lake frozen, although some open water in the harbor and some chumming brought in the gulls. Fort Dearborn helped to staff the Illinis Audubon table at the event, along with Lake/Cook Chapter. Sighting included Glaucous, Thayer's, Greater Black-backed, Lesser Black-backed, and Iceland Gulls, with the highlight being a Slaty-backed Gull seen first at the Lake County Fairgrounds but then at the Gull Frolic in the late afternoon. Also present were White-winged and Surf Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, Northern Pintail, Red-breasted Mergansers, Scaup, and Goldeneye.
March 22, 2014 -- Chicago Botanic Gardens. Temperatures in the high 30s, light winds from the north, and overcast skies produced 20 species, with the highlights being a Red-tailed Hawk and a Horned Grebe.
Overnight Trip to Amboy Marsh, September, 2014. Fort Dearborn is planning an overnight trip to Amboy Marsh, near Dixon, Illinois, on Friday and Saturday, September 12th and 13th, 2014, in conjunction with an IAS tour of the marsh on Saturday morning. Amboy Marsh was dedicated as an IAS Wildlife Preserve in 2013 and an additional 30 acres was recently added, bringing the total to 302 acres. It is home to the endangered Blandings Turtle and is the closest IAS preserve to the Chicago area. Contact Mark Luscombe, 847-267-2440, if interested as space is limited for the IAS Saturday morning tour.
Lincoln Park's Black-crowned Night-Herons. With the removal of a significant number of diseased and dying trees in the Black-Crowned Night-Heron rookery sourth of Lincoln Park Zoo, there is concern this spring as to how this will impact the returning Black-crowned Night-Herons, a state endangered species. Stay posted!
Illinois Riverwatch Network. For anyone interested in becoming a volunteer to monitor Illinois streams, a training session is being held on Thursday, May 8, 2014, at St. Francis University in Joliet. Contact Matt Young at 618-468-2784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What You Can Do About Climate Change! 1. Stay informed: RealityDrop.org; Climate Progress.org; Grist.org. 2. Make smart choices: reduce overall energy consumption; choose energy-efficient homes, food and transportation. 3. Get involved: The Climate Reality Project; 350.org. 4. Vote for the environment.
Newsletter -- January to March, 2014
Summary of Field Trip Results
September through October, 2013 -- Lincoln Park Zoo and Ponds Sunday Walks. During the fall Sunday walks, 61 species were observed. Highlights included: Coopers Hawk, both Nuthatches, 10 Warbler species, and 7 Sparrow species.
September 14, 2013 -- Wooded Island. On a sunny 70 degree morning with light winds, three observers identified 22 species. Highlights included 3 Heron species, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, 25 Chimney Swifts, 3 Belted Kingfishers, and a Red-headed Woodpecker.
October 15, 2013 -- Morton Arboretum. On a mostly cloudy morning with a few sprinkles, 50 degree temperatures and light winds, 7 observers identified 23 species. Highlights included: 3 Eastern Bluebirds and an Eastern Meadowlark.
November 2, 2013 -- Montrose and Jarvis Bird Sanctuary. On an overcast morning with termperatures arund 40 degrees F and northerly winds, 7 observers identified 23 species. Hightlights included: a Coopers Hawk and a Kestrel clutching a small bird that could not be identified.
Internet Birding Resources from Matthew Cvetas. Following Matthew Cvetas's presentation in October, he provided us a list of internet birding resources that he likes to utilize. Those resources have been added to our Links section.
Petcoke on Southeast side of Chicago. The Calumet Ecological Park Association is supporting the Southeast Environmental Task Force in fighting against a pollution threat from Petcoke dust, a waste product from refining tar sands into oil at the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana. The storage sties along the Calumet River belong to KCBX and Beemsterboer.
Amboy Marsh. Illinois Audubon dedicated the Amboy Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary in October, 2013. This becomes the closest IAS sanctuary to the Chicago area. The sancturary is located just south of the town of Amboy off I-88 near Dixon, Illinois.
Newsletter -- September to December, 2013
Summary of Field Trip Results
April through May, 2013 -- Lincoln Park Zoo and Ponds. During the spring Sunday walks, 102 species were observed, as compared to 85 in 2012. Highlights included: 5 Woodpecker species; 18 Warbler species; 12 Duck species, 12 Sparrow species, and the expanding colonies of Black-crowned Night-Herons.
April 13, 2013 -- Montrose and Jarvis Bird Sanctuary. On an overcast morning with NW winds 15-20 MPH and temperatures at 40 degrees F, four observers identified 43 species. Highlights included: White-winged Scoter, Long-eared Owl, and nine duck species.
April 20, 2013 -- Indiana Dunes State Park. On a cool sunny mornng with 45 degrees F temperatures and north winds at 10 MPH, three observers identifies 42 species. Highlights included 4 Turkey Vultures, 12 Sandhill Cranes, many Red-headed Woodpeckers, and Northern Parula Warbler.
April 26-28, 2013 -- IAS Apring Gathering, Emiquon. Bird walks on Saturday the 27th and Sunday the 28th to a variety of local habitats around Emiquon netted the group a total of 137 species of birds. Highlights included: American Golden Plover, Black-necked Stilt, Hudsonian Godwit, Great Horned Owl, Lark Sparrow, and Bald Eagle.
May 4, 2013 -- Northwestern Landfill. On a sunny morning with 50 degree F temperatures, sixteen observers identified 42 species, down from 58 species in 2012, in part due to construction and habitat destruction around the beach area. Highlights included: Red-tailed Hawk and 17 Blue Jays.
May 18, 2013 -- Wooded Island. On a sunny 60 degree F morning with SE winds 15 MPH, two observers identified 53 species, as compared to 40 in 2012. Highlights included: 4 Woodpecker species and 6 Savannah Sparrows.
June 1, 2013 -- Rosehill Cemetery. On a sunny morning with temperatures around 70 degrees F and light winds, ten observers identified 36 species, as compared to 28 in 2012. Highlights included: Turkey Vulture, 3 Heron species (Great Blue, Green and Black-crowned Night-Heron), 1 Cooper's Hawk, and a Coyote. Some habitat destruction in the northwest corner of the cemetery was also observed as preparations are made for a city park.
July 6, 2013 -- North Park Village Butterfly Count. Six observers on a sunny morning with temperatures in the low 70 degrees identified nine species of butterflies and 33 individuals, as compared to ten species and 16 individuals in 2012: 8 Monarchs, 14 Cabbage Whites, 3 Mourning Cloaks, 3 Little Wood Satyrs, 1 Hobomok Skipper, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Great Spangled Fritillary, 1 Sulfur, and 1 Spring Azure. Also identified were five species of dragonflies: 12-spotted Skimmer, Green Darner, Common Whitetail, Blue Dasher, and Widow Skimmer. 16 species of birds were identified: Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Flicker, Phoebe, Warbling Vireo, House Wren, Song Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Red-winnged Blackbird, White-breasted Nuthatch, Common Yellowthroat, Chipping Sparrow; Robin, Red-tailed Hawk, Turkey Vulture (2), and American Goldfinch.
August 3, 2013 -- North Park Village Dragonfly Count. Five observers on a sunny morning with 70 degree F temperatures identified six species of dragonflies and a little over 100 individuals, as compared to seven species and 30 individuals in 2012; 30 Blue Dashers, 15 Common Whitetails, 30 12-spotted Skimmers, 15 Green Darners, 15 Eastern Pondhawks, and 1 Black Saddlebag. Also identified were nine species of butterflies: Monarch, Cabbage White, Tiger Swallowtail, Eastern-tailed Blue, Mourning Cloak, Question Mark, Pearl Crescent, Spring Azure, and American Painted Lady. Also identified were nine species of birds: Goldfinch, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Indigo Bunting, Chimney Swift, Chickadee, Cedar Waxwing, Hairy Woodpecker, Great Blue Heron, Cooper's Hawk, Mourning Dove, Song Sparrow, Wood Duck, and Cardinal.
North Lake Shore Drive Planning. The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Chicago Department of Transportation are seeking your input on improvements to Lake Shore Drive, including landscaping improvements. Contact email@example.com or 312-561-3140.
Restoring Prairies in the Forest Preserves. Fort Dearborn has been asked by the Chicago Ornithological Society to join an effort to fight restrictions on tree removal in an effort to restore native prairies in the forest preserves in the Chicagoland area. We will discuss at the September meeting.
Bird Brains. Richard Mooney, a neurobiologist at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, has been studying the similarities between the way that humans and birds learn. Songbirds and humans are both unusual in that they learn how to communicate by listening. A yound bird needs to listen to the song of an adult bird in order to trigger development of its own song, just like a child needs to listen to adults speak in order to develop proper speech. Young birds also need to be able to listen to their own song to determine when it matches the song of their tutor. The experience of hearing an adult bird's song rapidly changes the physical makeup of a young bird's brain, triggering a whole sequence of development. Songbird and human brains both require specific kinds of experiences within specific windows in order to develop properly.
Newsletter -- April to August, 2013
Summary of Field Trip Results
January 26-27, 2013 -- Eagle Watch Weekend at Starved Rock State Park. Another warm winter limited the number of Bald Eagles concentrated at the locks, but good views were had of the eagles that were present. The raptor programs at the Starved Rock Lodge and the lock and dam visitors' center were excellent as usual.
February 16, 2013 -- 12th Annual Gull Frolic at North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor. The gull frolic was back to its cold, blistery self. Fort Dearborn helped to man the Illinois Audubon table at the event, along with Lake/Cook Audubon. Sightings included Glacous, Thayer's and Icelandic Gulls, Ross's and White-fronted Geese, and Red-breasted Mergansers, Red-headed Ducks, Bufflehead and Goldeneye.
Congratulations to Wayne Svoboda! Wayne has been honored with Chicago Audubon Society's 2013 Environmental Award as a person whose avocation is a protector of the environment. Chicago Audubon recognized Wayne's volunteer work at the North Park Village Nature Center and his past presidency of Fort Dearborn. Presentation of the award will be made at a dinner on Saturday evening, April 20, 2013.
Ethics for Use of Recorded Bird Calls in the Field. Due to concern about the possible adverse impact on birds from the increasingly frequent use of recorded bird calls in the field, the following are some ethical guidelines to consider when birding:
1. Play the recording only once or twice, not repeatedly.
2. Cease playing the recording immediately if the bird displays any sign of distress or discomfort.
3. Do not play during nesting season.
4. Do not use calls in areas frequently visited by birders.
5. Do not expose birds to additional dangers, e.g. predators.
6. If a particular species is known to react badly, do not use its call.
7. Do not play the call of rare or endangered birds.
Newsletter - January to March, 2013
Summary of Field Trip Results
September through October, 2012 -- Lincoln Park Zoo and Ponds Sunday Walks. During the fall Sunday walks, 54 species were obserrved. Highlights included: Black-billed Cuckoo and 9 Warbler species.
September 8, 2012 -- Wooded Island. On a sunny 70 degree F morning with NW winds 15-25 MPH, five observers identified 31 species. Highlights included 3 Heron species, 1 Red-tailed Hawk, 4 Ruby-throated Hummingsbirds and 6 Warbler species.
October 11, 2012 -- Illinois Beach State Park. On a mostly cloudy morning with a few sprinkles, 50 degree temperatures and SE winds 10-20 MPH, 4 observers identified 21 species. Highlights included: 1 Northern Harrier and 1 Coopers Hawk.
November 10, 2012 -- Northerly Island to 31st Street. On a cloudy morning with temperatures around 55 degrees F and light south winds, four observers identified 16 species. Highlights included: 2 Coopers Hawks, 1 Red-tailed Hawk, 1 Kestral and 3 Common Redpolls.
Welcome New Members! Welcome to the following new members who joined Fort Dearborn Audubon in 2012: Alan and Ann Garrett, Aurelia Lawrence, Joan Ogden, David Painter, and Peter Paul Tortorice.
Bird Extinctions in Hawaii. A new ABC film focuses on the bird extinction crisis in Hawaii. Since the arrival of Europeans to the Hawaiian Islands, 71 out of a total of 113 endemic bird species have become extinct. Of the remaining 42 species, 31 are listed as federallly endangered, and ten of those have not been seen for up to 40 years. The 30-minute film can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/42592260.
House Sparrows and Cigarette Butts. It appears that House Sparrows and also House Finches are aiding in keeping our landscape green by using discarded cigarette butts as nesting material. They have been observed extracting the fiber from the butt wrapper and lining the nests with the material. A recent study indicates that the nicotine and other chemicals in the spent filters may serve to discourage insect pests such as mites from harming nestlings. No reports yet on whether the nest builders or nestlings develop a nicotine addiction or other adverse effects from the same chemicals. In at least one case, the cigarette butt was still hot enough to start a fire in the nest and the adjacent house.
Birding Calendar on IAS Website. Be sure to check the birding calendar on the IAS website for additional birding opportunities beyond those sponsored by Fort Dearborn Audubon: www.illinoisaudubon.org.
Newsletter - September to December, 2012
Summary of Field Trip Results -- April to August, 2012
April through May, 2012 -- Lincoln Park Zoo and Ponds Saturday Walks. During the spring Saturday walks, 85 species were observed. Highlights included: 5 Woodpecker species, Purple Finch, 16 Warbler species, and 7 Sparrow species.
April 14, 2012 -- Montrose and Jarvis Bird Sanctuary. On an overcast morning with calm winds and termperatures at 80 degrees F, five observers identified 32 species. Highlights included: Turkey Vulture, Tufted Titmouse, Common Loon, Surf Scoter, Pectoral Sandpiper, and Dunlin.
April 20-22, 2012 -- IAS Spring Fling, Danville, Illinois. Bird walks on Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd to a variety of local habitats in Vermillion County netted the group a total of 131 species of birds. Highlights included: Sandhill Crane parents and chick, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Bald Eagle, and Western Meadowlark.
May 5, 2012 -- Northwestern Landfill. On a foggy morning with occasional drizzle and 50 degree F temperatures, fiften observers identified 58 species. Highlights included; 15 Warbler species and 7 Sparrow species.
May 26, 2012 -- Wooded Island. On a sunny 80 degree F morning with strong southerly winds, two observers identified 40 species. Highlights included: 3 Heron species, 8 Baltimore Orioles, and 4 Swallow species.
June 9, 2012 -- Rosehill Cemetery. On a sunny morning with temperatures around 80 degrees F and light winds, three observers identifies 28 species. Highlights included: Turkey Vulture and 3 Heron species (Great Blue, Green, and Black-crowned Night-Heron).
July 7, 2012 -- North Park Village Butterfly Count. Six observers on a hot sunny morning with temeratures in the low 90 degrees identified ten species of butterflies but only 16 individuals: 1 Monarch, 6 Cabbage Whites, 1 Black Swallowtail, 1 Dun Skipper, 1 Least Skipper, 2 Buckeyes, 1 Cloudless Sulfur, 1 Spring Azure, and 1 Eastern-tailed Blue. Also identified were eight species of dragonflies: 12-spotted Skimmer, Green Darner, Common Whitetail, Blue Dasher, Eastern Pondhawk, Widow Skimmer, Black Saddlebags, and Wandering Glider. Ten species of birds were identified: Wood Duck, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Phoebe, Red-eyed Vireo, Cardinal, Song Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, and Goldfinch.
August 11, 2012 -- North Park Village Dragonfly Count. Five observers on a sunny morning with 70 degree F temperatures identified seven species of dragonflies but only 30 individuals: 5 Blue Dashers, 1 Common Whitetail, 1 Saffron-winged Meadowhawk, 1 12-spotted Skimmer, 12 Green Darners, 9 Eastern Pondhawks, and 1 Black Saddlebags. Also identified were four species of butterflies: Monarch, Cabbage White, Red Admiral, and Fiery Skipper. Also identified were twelve species of birds: Goldfinch, Ruby-throated Hummingbird (6), Indigo Bunting, White-breated Nuthatch, Phoebe, Chimney Swift, Robin, Canada Geese, Mallard, Wood Duck, Cardinal, and House Sparrow.
Hackmatack Update. The Secretary of the Interior has given his approval to the establishment of the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge in McHenry County, Illinois and Walworth County, Wisconsin.
Pythons in the Everglades. A recent study reported in Science News concludes that the expansion of the inroduced Burmese Python in the Florida Everglades, now numbered at an estimated 80,000, are having a devastating effect on the mammal populations in the areas to which they have expanded. Some mammal species have fallen by more than 90 percent. Even birds have been found in the stomachs of the pythons.
Ebird.org. Mark Luscombe is now submitting the results of Fort Dearborn bird walks to Ebird.org. Ebird was organized under the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to collect bird observations from around North, Central, and South America. Thousands of checklists are submitted to Ebird each month. So far for 2012, 329 specied have been reported to Ebird from Illinois. Mark Luscombe's reports on behalf of Fort Dearborn total 139 species from Illinois, the 103rd highest total reported from any one reporter. The species number reported for Cook County by Mark is 107 species, the 51st highest total reported from any one reporter for the county. The site includes a lot of interesting data on bird observations that can be manipulated in a variety of ways depending on the interests of the viewer. Check it out!
Newsletter - April to August, 2012
Summary of Field Trip Results -- January to March, 2012
January 28-29, 2012 -- Eagle Watch Weekend at Starved Rock State Park. Due to warm weather, Bald Eagles were not concentrated at the locks this year. Good views of four or five eagles on a sunny day with stiff winds. Also observed were Northern Cardinal, Black-capped Chickadee; both Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches, Song Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco. The raptor programs at the Starved Rock Lodge and the lock and dam visitors' center were excellent as usual, with the new visitors' center at the lock and dam now open.
February 18, 2012 -- 11th Annual Gull Frolic at North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor. The gull frolic was a little warmer than recent years and provided a few fewer gulls than recent years. Fort Dearborn helped to man the Illinois Audubon table at the event, along with Lake/Cook Chapter. A Snowy Owl on the lakefront received part of the blame for keeping gulls at a distance. Sightings included Thayer's and Icelandic Gulls, Red-breasted and Common Mergansers, and Goldeneye.
March 24, 2012 -- Palos Area. A morning that started with fog and light rain and temperatures in the 60s produced 21 species seen by five observers. Highlights included an Osprey engaged in nest building activity at the Little Red School House Nature Center.
Solicitations of Support for Hackmatack. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, following a two-year environmental assessment, has recommended establishment of the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge on the Illinois/Wisconsin border. Hackmatack would be the closest national wildlife refuge to people living in the Chicago and Milwaukee area. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is soliciting public comments on the proposed refuge until April 27, 2012. You can send your comments to: U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Conservation Planning, Attn: Proposed Hackmatack NWR, 5600 American Blvd., West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437-1458. Alternatively, you can email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great Butterfly Sites. Places mentioned in the old Chicago Wilderness magazine for seeing butterflies in the area: Illinois Beach State Park; Bluff Spring Fen; Ginsburg-Markham Prairie; Indiana Dunes; Waterfall Glen; Iroquois County Conservation Area.
Newsletter - January to March, 2012
Summary of Field Trip Results -- September to December, 2011
September through October, 2011 -- Lincoln Park Zoo and Ponds Saturday Walks. During the fall Saturday walks, 70 species were observed. Highlights included: Tundra Swan, 19 Warbler species, and 9 Sparrow species.
October 1, 2011 -- Northwestern Landfill. On a pleasant morning with 50 degree F temperatures, 15 observers identified 28 species.
October 8, 2011 -- Wooded Island. On a sunny 70 degree F morning with light southerly winds, five observers identified 21 species.
November 12, 2011 -- Fermi Lab. On a sunny morning with temperatures around 70 degrees F and light west winds, three observers identified 22 species. Hightlights were 48 Greater White-fronted Geese and two Coyotes.
Snowy Owls in Chicago -- It looks like it is going to be a good winter for Snowy Owls in Chicago, with several sightings already being reported along the Lakefront, with the closest being at Montrose Harbor.
Fort Dearborn to Collaborate with Lincoln Park Zoo. At the request of Lincoln Park Zoo Director Kevin Bell, Fort Dearborn Audubon will now be submitting our records from our Lincoln Park Zoo and ponds bird walks during migration to the Zoo in order to help the Zoo document the birds visiting the Zoo and the Nature Boardwalk on the south pond. To assist the Zoo, we will in the future note on our bird walk records whether a particular species was located on the Zoo grounds, in the north pond area, in the Caldwell Lily Pool area, or in the Nature Boardwalk area.
The City Dark. The City Dark is a new documentary film investigating the impact of light pollution and the disappearing night sky on the environment, wildlife and human health. This subject ties into our recent presentations on the Chicago Bird Collision Monitoring Program. A trailer of the film and screening information can be seen at http://www.thecitydark.com/.
Birding Trip to Belize. Brian Anderson, Chief of the Illinois Natural History Survey, is leading a basic birding trip to Belize for the Lincoln Land Community College. Dates are February 28 -- March 8, 2012. Cost is $1,625 to $1,974 excluding airfare. Only twelve spots are available. The trip is designed for new birders. Contact Mark Luscombe for additional information and reservation details
Birding America -- March 17, 2012. Chicago Audubon will be sponsoring its 9th annual Birding America workshops. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Erik Johnson of the National Audubon Society and conservation biologist for the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Flyways. More details, including location, to be forthcoming later.
Birding Calendar on IAS Website. Be sure to check the birding calendar on the IAS website for additional birding opportunites beyond those sponsored by Fort Dearborn Audubon.
Calumet Ecological Park Association. The Calumet Ecological Park Association (CEPA) is working to make the Lake Calumet area a better place to live, work and enjoy nature. Check their website at www.calumetstewardshipinitiative.org.
Newsletter- September to December, 2011
Summary of Field Trip Results, April to August, 2011
April through May, 2011 -- Lincoln Park Zoo and Ponds Saturday Walks. During the spring Saturday walks, 93 species were observed. Highlights included: Red-headed Woodpecker, America Kestrel, Virginia Rail, Sora, Blue Jay, Cinnamon Teal, 17 warbler species, and 11 sparrow species.
April 17, 2011 -- Montrose and Bird Sanctuary. On a morning with light rain at the start, temperatures at 50 degrees F, and light west winds, four observers identified 35 species. Hightlights included a Turkey Vulture and five sparrow species.
May 7, 2011 -- Northwestern Landfill. On a mostly cloudy morning with 55 degree F temperatures, ten observers identified 43 species. Hightlights included Merlin and many White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows.
May 13-15, 2011 -- IAS Apring Fling, Crystal Lake. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, McHenry County Audubon hosted the annual IAS Spring Fling at the Holiday Inn in Crystal Lake. Field trips started Friday afternoon with a trip to the Hollows, a former gravel pit, and home to nesting Lark Sparrows. All observers had good looks at about ten Lark Sparrows as well as Bluebird, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Nighthawk. The evening program was about Hackmatack, the proposed National Wildlife Refuge covering parts of McHenry and Lake counties in Illinois and Walworth and Kenosha counties in Wiisconsin. A final decision is expected by the end of 2011. Weekend field trips included Pleasant Valley, Hickory Grove, Coral Woods, Marengo Ridge, McHenry Dam, Moraine Hills, Lake Elizabeth, Volo Bog, Glacial Park, and Chain of Lakes. Saturday morning field trips began with cold, cloudy conditions and occasional rain. Sandhill Cranes were observed at many sites and the target species of Black Tern and Yellow-headed Blackbird were also found. The Saturday evening program featured Joan Garland of the International Crane Foundation and Bruce Pennypacker, Operation Migration Pilot, both talking about Whooping Crane recovery and the experimental migratory flock. Sunday morning field trips concluded with lunch at Volo Bog and the group trip list. A total of 135 species were observed, including 11 waterfowl, 8 raptors, 9 shorebirds, 22 warblers, and 10 sparrows. Highlights included: Common Loon, Black Tern, both Cuckoos, Prothonotary and Kentucky Warblers and Yellow-headed Blackbird.
May 21, 2011 -- Wooded Island. On a sunny 70 degree F morning with light winds, two observers identified 51 species. Highlights included: 3 heron species, Sandhill Crane heard, 5 swallow species and 10 warbler species.
June 4, 2011 -- Rosehill Cemetery. On a sunny and humid morning with temperatures around 70 degrees F and light west winds, four observers identified 24 species. Highlight was a Turkey Vulture.
July 9, 2011 -- North Park Village Butterfly Count. Five observers on a hot sunny morning identified ten species of butterflies and 51 individuals: 17 Monarch, 22 Cabbage White, 1 Sulfur, 2 Tiger Swallowtail, 1 Black Swallowtail, 1 Silver-spotted Skipper, 2 Question Mark, 1 Pearl Crescent, 4 Spring Azure, 1 Little Wood Satyr. Also identified were four species of dragonflies: 12-spotted Skimmer, Pied Skimmer, Eastern Pondhawk, and Yellow-legged Meadowhawk. Five species of birds were identified: House Wren, Great Blue Heron (2), Black-capped Chickadee, Indigo Bunting, and White-breated Nuthatch.
August 13, 2011 -- North Park Village Dragonfly Count. Six observers on an sunny morning identified seven species of dragonflies: Blue Dasher, Common Whitetail, Ruby Meadowhawk (3+), 12-spotted Skimmer, Green Darner, Eastern Pondhawk, and Black Saddlebags. Also identified were eight species of butterflies: Monarch, Cabbage White, Buckeye, Peck's Skipper, Question Mark, Spring Azure, Fiery Skipper, and Tiger Swallowtail. Also identified were ten species of Birds: Goldfinch, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, House Wren, Great-crested Flycatcher, Chickadee, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Chimney Swift, Mourning Dove, Spotted Sandpiper, and a hawk. Cardinal Flower and Royal Catchfly were in Bloom.
Online Supplemental Information
The following article on the Black-crowned Night-Herons of Lincoln Park by Mark Luscombe appeared in the Spring 2011 issue of Cardinal News. supplemented by a picture by Beverly Rodgers, sister of member Bob Rodgers
The Black-crowned Night-Herons of Chicago's Lincoln Park Black-crowned Night-Herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) have formed a significant colony in the heart of Chicago. The colony is located in Lincoln Park just sourth of the Lincoln Park Zoo. While a common heron throughout the world, Black-crowned Night-Herons are an endangered species in Illinois. Fort Dearborn Chapter of Illinois Audubon, which has been documenting bird sightings in and around Lincoln Park Zoo for almost 40 years, reports that Black-crowned Night-Herons have been regular visitors along Chicago's lakefront throughtout that history. Those sightings were primarily of resting or foraging birds, probably from a colony near Lake Calumet at the far south end of Chicago, not nesting birds. That started to change in 2007 when a few Black-crowned Night-Herons built nests and fledged young in the trees of a small island in the Lincoln Park pond just south of the zoo. The nesting colony continued to grow during the 2008 and 2009 nesting seasons. In 2009, the Lincoln Park Zoo commenced a major rehabilitation of the south pond, converting the pond from one with a relatively sterile edge to a Nature Boardwalk with native plantings and a boardwalk around the pond edge. The construction required draining of the pond, with much concern about the impact on the new breeding colony of Black-crowned Night-Herons. The start of construction was delayed until July, 2009, so that the heron chicks could fledge without being disturbed. When the herons began to return in the spring of 2010, construction was still not complete and the water level in the pond had not been fully restored. Perhaps for this reason or due to the numbers of herons outgrowing the nesting sites available on the small island in the pond, the colony in 2010 shifted the colony site to a tree-lined promenade just south of the pond, still increasing in size with close to 100 nests. With the nesting sites now off the island and over a popular public walkway in the park, the risk to the colony and to the public was increaed with excrement covering the promenade and walkers, bikers and dogs posing a risk to the young herons, which tend to leave the nest before they can fly. The area was finally fenced off in July of 2010 to protect both the birds and the public. The question was whether they would return to such an exposed nesting site in 2011. That was answered in late April when the first herons began to return, again to the trees lining the promenade rather than to the island. And they have kept returning. Recent counts of Black-crowned Night-Herons in the colony have reached as high as 400. A larger area around the colony was more rapidly fenced off this year. Doug Stotz of the Field Museum had estimated before this latest influx that there might be fewer that 500 breeding pairs of Black-crowned Night-Herons in all of Illinois. This large colony of Black-crowned Night-Herons in the heart of Chicago provides an excelent opportunity for the public to easily view this Illinois-endangered species. While they feed mostly at night and roost during the day, it is common for them to make daylight flights around the nesting colony. This colony near the zoo is not without precedent. The National Zoo in Washington, D.C. has a colony of wild Black-crowned Night-Herons that nest in the trees around its Bird House. With black caps and backs, pale grey wings, white underparts, red eyes, yellow legs, and two or three white plumes extending from the back of the head, adult Black-crowned Night-Herons are a beautiful addition to the urban landscape.
Oldest Known Wild Bird. The spring 2011 issue of Birdscope from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology reports that the oldest known wild bird is a Laysan Albatross on Midway Island, banded 55 years ago. Known by the name "Wisdom", she was already of breeding age (at least 5 years old) when she was banded. Wisdom had a chick again this year. The March 10, 2011 earthquake and tsunami off Japan also had a devastating impact on the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the tsunami wiped out an estimated 112,000 Laysan and Black-footed Albatrosses at the refuge, 110,000 of which were chicks. Wisdom and her chick, on higher ground, survived.
Newsletter -- April to August, 2011
Summary of Field Trip Results, January to March, 2011
January 22-23 -- Eagle Watch Weekend at Starved Rock State Park. Weekend included 50 to 70 Bald Eagle sightings, plus good views of the usual winter visitors: Canada Goose, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Dark-eyed Junco.
February 19 -- 10th Annual Gull Frolic at North Point Marina in Wintrop Harbor. The gull frolic was a little warmer than nurmal and provided a few fewer gulls than normal. Fort Dearborn helped to man the Illinois Audubon table at the event, along with the Lake/Cook Chapter. Gull sightings included Glaucous, Iceland, Thayer's, Herring, and Ring-billed. Alvaro Jaramillo spoke on "Everything you've ever wanted to know about gulls but were afraid to ask." Other species sighted include Tundra Swan, Mallard, Ruddy Duck, American Coot and Gadwall.
March 19 -- Lincoln Park Zoo, Ponds and Lakefront. On a sunny morning with light winds and temperatures around 45-50 F, six observers identified 24 species, with a heavy emphasis on waterfowl. Highlights were the male Cinnamon Teal that had been hanging around North Pond for a week, a Redhead, a pair of Northern Shovelers, Greater Scaup, Coot, and Common Goldeneye.
200th Anniversary of John James Audubon's First Visit to Illinois. During the winter of 1810/1811, John James Audubon spent six weeks toruing southern Illinois while his passage down the Ohio River was blocked by ice. Every beginning birder will be comforted by the fact that even Audubon made a misidentification of an Illinois bird, labeling an immature Bald Eagle as a new species, the Washington Eagle.
Healthy Beaches. The Chicago Department of Environment is developing a healthy beaches program, to include volunteer beach minotors. Another aspect of the program involves oiling the eggs of Ring-billed Gulls at their nesting sites in order to reduce their population and the pollution that they contribute to Chicago's beaches.
Great Butterfly Sites. Places mentioned in the old Chicago Wilderness magazine for seeing butterflies in the area: Illinois Beach State Park; Bluff Spring Fen; Ginsburg-Markham Prairie; Indiana Dunes; Waterfall Glen; Iroquois County Conservation Area.
Chicago Park District Bird Walk. If you need still another bird walk, the Chicago Park District is sponsoring one at Northerly Island on Saturday, April 9, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. as part of its Nature Oasis program. The walk is free, but registration is required by calling 312-742-4914.
Illinois Birds: A Century of Change. This new book comparing 100 years of bird census data in Illinois (1906-1909, 1956-1958, 2007-2009), one of the oldest data records in the country, is now available from the Illinois Natural History Survey for $25.
Newsletter -- January to March, 2011
Summary of Field Trip Results, September to December, 2010
September through October Lincoln Park Zoo Saturday walks – The Lincoln Park Zoo, north lagoon, and lily pond walks on Saturdays in September and October, 2010 produced a total of 65 species, exactly the same number as in 2009. Highlights of the walks were twelve species of warblers, seven species of sparrows, Cooper’s Hawk, Redhead Duck, Winter Wrens and Hooded Mergansers.
September 18 – Wooded Island – On an overcast morning with 60 degree temperatures and north winds at 10-15 MPH, six observers identified 36 species of birds. Highlights included Monk Parakeet, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Cedar Waxwing, and Double-crested Cormorant.
October 9 -- Ryerson – On a sunny morning with light winds and temperatures in the upper 60s, four observers identified 21 species of birds. The low species count was somewhat compensated by the beautiful weather and the large numbers of individuals for many of those species present. Highlights included Red-tailed Hawk and Eastern Bluebird.
October 15-17 – IAS Fall Gathering, Altamont – Over three days of birding at Ballard Nature Center and surrounding natural areas, although no overall group count was tabulated, Mark Luscombe identified 42 species. Highlights included Turkey Vulture, Northern Bobwhite, Wilson’s Snipe, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, and Carolina Wren.
November 13 – Palos Area. On an overcast morning with little wind, occasional showers, and temperatures in the mid 50s, one observer (with assistance from an encounter with a group from Will County Audubon) identified 24 species of birds. Highlights included Hooded Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Horned Grebe, and Cedar Waxwing.
World's Most Expensive Book? According to the Wall Street Journal, an original copy of John James Audubon's "Birds of America" is to be auctioned by Sotheby's in London and it may fetch a price of as much as $9.3 million or more, making it one of the most expensive books ever sold at auction. A copy of the book fetched $8.8 million at an auction in 2000.
Newsletter -- September to December, 2010
Summary of Field Trip Results, April through August, 2010
April 24 -- Montrose and Jarvis Bird Sanctuary -- On an overcast, calm morning with light fog and temperatures in the low 50s, 5 observers identified 37 species, including Cormorant, Black-crowned Night Heron, Peregirine Falcon, and Bonaparte's Gull.
April 30 to May 2 -- IAS Spring Meeting, Navoo -- Two Fort Dearborn members joined other IAS members for an excellent three days of programs, dinners, and birding, identifying 129 species, including Bald Eagle, White Pelican, Osprey, Turkey Vulture, Sora, and 5 species of swallows.
May 15- Wooded Island -- Four oservers identified 49 species, including 11 warblers and a Cuckoo.
May 22 -- Northwestern Landfill -- On a foggy morning with temperatures in the low 60s, 15 observers identified 48 species, including 17 warblers.
April to May Sunday Walks -- Lincoln Park Zoo and North Pond -- Sunday walks produced 81 species of birds, inclduing Turkey Vulture, 10 sparrow species, Cormorant, and Bufflehead.
June 5 -- Rosehill Cemetery -- On a 70 degree morning with light winds and occasional showers, 5 observers identified 29 species, including an Olive-sided Flycatcher.
July 3 -- Butterfly Count at North Park Village Nature Center -- Six observers identified 13 species of butterfly, including 26 Monarchs, 21 Cabbage Whites, 16 Tiger Swallowtails, 17 Red Admirals, 13 Sulfurs, 4 Great Spangled Fritillaries, 2 Silver Spotted Skippers, 2 Black Swallowtails, and 1 each of Wild Indigo Duskywing, Pearl Crescent, Least Skipper, Painted Lady and Spring Azure. 18 species of birds were also identified, including the Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos and the Peewee.
August 7 and 14 -- Dragonfly Count at North Park Village Nature Center -- One observer on August 7, with 80 degree temperatures, sunny and humid conditions, and bad mosquitoes, identified 4 species of Dragonfly, including 4 Black Saddlebags, many Green Darners, 2 Blue Dashers, and 12 Spotted Skimmers. Also identified were 7 species of birds, 5 species of butterflies, Bullfrog, and Moneky Flower, Cardinal Flower and Pickeral Weed in bloom. Two observers on August 14, with 80 degree temeratures, overcast skies, humid conditions and many mosquitoes, identifed three species of Dragonflies including many Green Darners, 2 Blue Dashers, and a female Eastern Pond Hawk. Also identified were 8 species of birds, 3 species of butterflies, Bullfrog, and American Toad.
White Pelicans on the Mississippi. The June, 2010 issue of Outdorr Illinios traces the growth of the American White Pelican population on the Mississippi River in Illinois. The arrival of 24 Pelicans in 1997 started what by 2006 had become 1000 birds. In 2007, the first nesting colony was established with 50 young. By 2009, 2,500 nesting birds produced 400 young. Nesting occurs on islands in the Mississippi, with Pelicans on the ground, Cattle Egrets in the low shrubs, Great Egrets mid-level in the trees, and Cormorants and Great Blue Herons in the tree tops.
John James Audubon In Illinois. The July-August issue of Illinios Heritage includes an article on John James Audubon's visits to Illinois. Audubon made several trips to southern Illinois, with his first being accidental when his keelboat trip was delayed by river ice on the Ohio River. Among species Audubon identified were the Carolina Parakeet, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Common Nighthawk, Prairie Chicken, and Passenger Pigeon. He also misidentified as a new species a Washington Eagle, which is now believed to have been an immature Bald Eagle.
Federal Bird-Safe Buildings. Federal legislation has been proposed for the government to adopt bird-safe design practices for government buildings. The design choices do not add to the cost of new construction or remodeling. Contact your Congressman to support the legislaiton (HR 4797).
Newsletter -- April to August, 2010
Summary of Field Trip Results, January to March, 2010
January 23-24 -- Eagle Watch Weekend at Starved Rock State Park. Weekend included only a couple of Bald Eagle sightings, which was typical for this winter. Programs were excellent as usual.
February 20 -- 9th Annual Gull Frolic at North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor. The gull frolic provided its usual combination of cold temperatures, stiff wind, good crowd, good programs, good food, and good gulls. Gull sightings included the Glaucous, Iceland, Thayer's, Lesser Black-back, Greater Black-back, Herring, and Ring-billed. Program focused on the spread of the Slaty-backed Gull into North America from Asia.
March 20 -- Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. Following a day with temperatures in the 60s, Saturday morning arrived with blowing snow and temperatures in the 30s. Two observers failed to connect with each other in the blizzard. Ten bird species were observed with the only highlight being the Orchid Show also going on at the Botanic Garden.
BCN Bird Monitoring
If you regularly visit a certain site or are a regular eBird user, or would like an opportunity to immerse yourself in the bird life of a preserve, and you recognize our breeding birds by sight or sound, please consider becoming a Bird conservation Network bird monitor. For more information on becoming a BCN bird monitor and upcoming workshops, please check out the BCN website: www.bcnbirds.org.
An article in the February 27, 2010, issue of Science News reports scientists have been able to reconstruct the colors that some ancient feathered dinosaurs and birds may have sported using the remains of tiny pigment-bearing structures in the feathers and body filaments. The analysis suggests striking colors -- reminiscent of modern birds: black and white wing bars, reddish-brown crests. The studies also suggest that feathers first evolved to send visual signals for mating or territory defense and only later served to aid flight. These feathered dinosaurs lived between 151and 161 million years ago -- ancient birds as long as 130 million years ago.
Newsletter -- January to March, 2010
Summary of Field Trip Results, September to December, 2009
September through October Lincoln Park Zoo Saturday Walks -- The Lincoln Park Zoo, noth lagoon, and lily pond walks on Saturdays in September and October, 2009, produced a total of 65 species. Hghlights of the walks were eleven species of warblers, nin species of sparrows, Cooper's Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, American Woodcock, and Great-horned Owl.
October 17 -- Chicago Botanic Gardens. On a partly cloudy morning with temperatures ranging from 40 to 50 degrees F, six observers identified 26 species of birds. Highlights included a Red-tailed Hawk, perched for easy viewing; six sparrow species, and two Red-breasted Nuthatches.
November 14 -- Lake Calumet. On a sunny morning with temperatures around 50 degrees F, four observers identified 17 species of birds. Areas birded included O'Brien Lock and Dam, Hegewisch Marsh, Indian Marsh, Deadstick Pond, Big Marsh, and Wolf Lake. Highlights included three Red-tailed Hawks, two Kestrels, six Mute Swans, and five duck species.
December 13 -- Winter Bird Count at North Park Village Nature Center and Emily Oaks Nature Center. On an overcast morning with little wind and termperatures in the upper 30s to low 40s F, six observers identified 23 species of birds. Highlights included two Red-tailed Hawks, a Great-horned Owl, Hermit Thrush, Hairy Woodpecker, and three Fox Sparrows.
Thank You and Good Birding to Marjorie Hickey
Majorie Hickey, who has long performed the printing and mailing duties for the chapter newsletter, is moving to the suburbs and has asked to retire from her newsletter duties. Thank you, Marjorie, for your years of faithful service. We wish you continued good birding! Susan Sullivan has agreed to take on Marjorie's newsletter duties.
Bird Songs and Calls on the Web
The Cornell Lab of Ornitihology offers an excellent website for birders: www.birds.cornell.edu. Included on the site is information on 585 species of birds and an ever-growing list of sounds and video on birds, currently covering 51 species. Although most helpful to beginning birders, the site can be a useful source of information for even experienced birders. The following are some websites that you may find helpful as you work to improve your identification of bird calls and songs:
Summary of Field Trip Results, June to September, 2009
June 11 -- Wooded Island in Jackson Park. On an overcast morning with occasional sprinkles, three observers wandered in search of late migrants and nesting species. In spite of poor lighting, a total of twenty species were sighted. Better birds included Black-crowned Night Heron, Caspian Tern, at least six Yellow Warblers, Purple Martin, Cedar Waxwing, and Baltimore Oriole.
July 4 -- Annual Butterfly count at North Park Village Nature Center. On a cool, cloudy morning with occasional light rain, three observers set out in search of butterflies. It was a very poor morning for butterfly watching, only two species were seen: a single Cabbage White and four Monarchs. Some of the birds seen were House Wren, Indigo Bunting, Chimney Swift, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Woodduck, and Black-crowned Night Heron.
August 15 -- Annual Dragonfly count at North Park Village Nature Center. On a pleasant morning, a lone oberver wandered in search of dragons. A total of five species were seen: seven Green Darners (including two pair flying in tandem), White-face Meadowhawk, Blue Dasher, Common Whitetail, and Yellow-legged Meadowhawk. Butterflies seen included four Monarchs, three Cabbage Whites, and a single Tiger Swallowtail, Black Swallowtail, and Clouded Sulfur. Bird sightings included Great Blue Heron, Coopers Hawk, and Red-bellied Woodpecker. Cord Grass and Big Bluestem were in bloom.
IAS Fall Gathering, September 11-13. Six members of Fort Dearborn joined 175 other members of the Illinois Audubon Society at the 2009 fall gathering in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Programs included presentations on Roger Tory Peterson and bird migration. Field trips were organized by the Lake Cook Chapter of IAS and included top birding spots in Cook and Lake Counties. A total of 113 species were seen during the weekend field trips, including Avocet, Little Blue Heron, and Snowy Egret.
September 19 -- Wooded Island in Jackson Park. On a partly cloudy morning with light southeast winds, 29 species were observed, including at least ten Double-crested Cormorants and over a dozen Chimney Swifts. Highlight of the trip was two immature Red-headed Woodpeckers.
Newsletter -- July through September, 2009.
Summary of Field Trip Results, March to May, 2009
March 21 – Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe – On a cold morning 6 observers searched the gardens for birdlife. The quest produced 28 species, including goldeneye, horned and pied-billed grebes, great blue heron, cedar waxwing, and super looks at 3 or 4 common redpolls.
April 11 – Wooded Island in Jackson Park – Three observers wandering in search of early migrants located 26 species. Among them were pied-billed grebe, cormorant, Caspian tern, tree swallow, sapsucker, yellow-rumped warbler. A report by the Geilens from April 17th totaled 28 species including 8 not seen on the 11th, creeper, waxwing, golden-crfowned kinglet, barn swallow, field sparrow, kestrel and red-tailed hawk.
April 25 – Montrose Magic Hedge and the Jarvis Bird Sanctuary – Access to the Magic Hedge was blocked by police barricades because of a charity race – as a result the two observers were forced to settle for birding at Jarvis. As we exited the car, the ground was alive with white-throated sparrows. A fair number of spring wildflowers were in bloom: red and white trillium, toothwort, spring cress, dutchmans breeches and marsh marigold. The larger of the eastern ponds yielded an American Bittern, and the grass to the south a Henslow sparrow that cooperated quite nicely. The morning species list totaled 43, including cormorant, turkey vulture, Caspian tern, five woodpecker species, but only 2 warblers – black and white and Northern waterthrush.
May 1-3 – IAS Spring Meeting in Southern Illinois – I left on the long trek south on the morning of April 29th. The first stop was at Gensburg Markham Prairie. Overnight rain made entry into the prairie impossible; from the parking lot I could hear meadowlark and see kestrel. As I approached the Volmer Road wetland, I saw red-tailed hawk and great egret. Near Tuscola, the first turkey vultures were sighted. A bit south of Champaign, a stop at the Arcola marsh produced many yellow-rumped and palm warblers, as well as scarlet tanagers and indigo buntings. Stopping at a wooded area near Shelbyville Reservoir produced great crested flycatcher, tufted titmouse, and Carolina wren. Wildflowers in bloom included pussytoes, spring beauty, red trillium, blue phlox and spiderwort. Baltimore orioles were seen at the Rend Lake rest stop. As I headed to dinner at the end of the day in Marion, a mocking bird sang from the roof of a neighboring building. Early the next morning I headed to Metropolis to visit Fort Massac on the Ohio River. Seen at this stop were fish crow, kingbird, warbling vireo, bluebird, and blue grosbeak. As I headed out of town, I stopped to see Superman in the town square. Next stop was Lake Mermet where I saw tree swallow, marsh wren, cormorant, and towhee. Onward to the tupeloe and Cyprus swamp at Heron Pond – this may be the best place in Illinois for prothonotary warblers. Other sightings included gnatcatcher, northern parula, summer tanager, black-throated blue warbler, and red-headed woodpecker. Mayapples and geranium were done blooming, but rue-anemone flowers persisted. After lunch, I headed back toward Carbondale and Giant City State Park. Here I wandered the Trillium Trail in the Fern Cliff Nature Preserve. This is wildflower heaven: great waterleaf, white trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, celandine poppy, feathery solomons seal, ginger, bloodroot, shooting star, and lousewort. Birds seen were white-eyed vireo and phoebe. On to the motel in Golconda. Friday was an all day hike into the Lusk Creek Wilderness area including the latest IAS land acquisition. Highlight was the sighting of French’s Shooting star which only grows in a few sights in Illinois, and prairie warbler. Friday night was a pizza party and program on ruby-throated hummingbird research. Saturday morning was a hike into Grand Piere State Natural Area (prior IAS property). Plant highlights include Amorpha nitens (endangered), climbing milkweed, blue star, Virginia lily and American Colombo. Saturday afternoon was an easy walk at Rim Rock National Recreation Trail, and Garden of the Gods. The evening program was Saving Southern Illinois Natural Areas. Sunday I elected to repeat the Saturday afternoon walks to do some photography. Collectively the group saw 136 species, of which I only saw 81, but I spent as much time botanizing as birding. It was a great trip.
May 23 – Northwestern University Landfill – On a cool, breezy morning, 22 observers from Fort Dearborn and Evanston North Shore Bird clubs searched for late migrants. A total of 30 species were seen. Included were all 5 swallow species (50+ nesting cliffs), creeper, mockingbird (highlight), warbling vireo, yellow, black-throated green, and mourning warblers, and Baltimore oriole. Non-avian highlight was a muskrat.
May 30 – Rosehill Cemetary – On an overcast morning, 5 observers searched the areas around the ponds at Rosehill for birds. The search produced 36 species, including great blue, green, and black-crowned night herons, Coopers hawk, great crested flycatcher, catbird, thrasher, and nesting Baltimore oriole (highlight). Other observations included snapping turtle on land, creeping buttercup, and coyote pup.
The banana is the world’s favorite fruit. It was discovered by stone age man in south east Asia. It is a genetic mutant which produces no seed. As a result it must be propagated from root cuttings, and as a result all banana plants are clones. The banana is in a whole bunch of trouble. The most common variety, the Cavandish, is succumbing to Panama disease, for which there is no cure. This isn’t the first time Panama disease has ravaged a banana species: in the 1960’s it claimed the Gros Michel. Since then the Cavendish, smaller and seemingly immune, has made a worthy stand-in. But now a vicious strain of the fungus is wiping out the world’s Cavendish plants. All are genetically the same, so what kills one, kills all. Researchers are experimenting with hundreds of feral varieties, trying to engineer a disease-resistant banana that’s tasty, and robust.
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TO REPORT A BANDED BIRD: Please call 800-327-BAND to report the band number