Neighborhood Nature

Our Family’s Nature Blog

Welcome to the Gyllenhaal’s Neighborhood Nature Blog! May 16, 2012

Filed under: Animals,Birds,Children's Interests,Neighborhood Habitats — saltthesandbox @ 2:50 am

Perhaps you found this page by reading the recent Wednesday Journal article about our family:

If so, here are some links that might interest you:

Here’s a page with lists of the birds we’ve seen in Columbus Park (within the past week, month, year, and even earlier):

This page has similar bird lists for south Oak Park, where Eric walks twice a week or so:  (I may have seen and talked with you on some of these walks!)

And here are bird lists for our home and block in south Oak Park, updated about five times a week:


You can find more of Aaron’s bird photos here:

And here are some of Ethan’s photos:  (These days he puts many of his photos on Facebook.)


If your family is interested in nature, you may want to attend Eric’s Nature Works programming this summer at Wonder Works, a Children’s Museum in Oak Park.

Here’s a link to Wonder Works:

And here’s a PDF poster about Nature Works:


You may also be interested in our Salt the Sandbox website, started more than 10 years ago. It includes modules about the boys’ past interests in cicadas, rocks, cars, dinosaurs, and more:  Many Nature Works activities will be based on things Eric did with his boys when they were young.

That’s it for now. Thanks for visiting!


3 Responses to “Welcome to the Gyllenhaal’s Neighborhood Nature Blog!”

  1. Brendan Says:

    Hi, I’m an architecture student doing research on chimney swift roosting and nesting sites in the greater Chicago area, and have been looking through the eBird dataset for instances of people spotting large groups of chimney swifts. I found your blog after seeing an entry saying that Aaron Gyllenhaal spotted 500 chimney swifts in May 2013 at McGinnis Slough. I was wondering if you saw these birds roosting or nesting, or if they were just passing through (I assume the later is more likely, as my understanding is that the big roosts are most commonly observed at sunset in September and October, but you never know!). So far the large roost that I’ve found any confirmation of was in 2009 at the Evanston Police Department, but there must be more out there!

    • Sorry this got lost in my e-mail pile, Brendan. Here’s what my 16-year-old son, Aaron, says: “They were definitively on migration and were just passing through.”
      That said, I’ve noticed that some moderately large gatherings of Chimney Swifts take place over the lagoons in local parks, especially on hot days when 50 to 75 Chimney Swifts can be seen flying low over lagoons in Columbus and Douglas Parks in Chicago on some mornings, especially in late May and early June. So, perhaps the McGinnis Slough gathering was migrating swifts, perhaps it also included local nesters looking for a drink.
      Another observation that might be of some help: From mid August into September there are flights of Chimney Swifts over our house in Oak Park, mostly headed east (parallel to and just south of the Eisenhower Expressway). I’ve counted as many as 100 swifts in a half hour or so. I’m guessing there is a roost somewhere on Chicago’s west side, but I don’t know where.
      Finally, here’s a link to a video that Chicago-area nature folks have been posting on Facebook (1740 Ridge in Evanston, IL):
      Good luck with your research!
      Eric Gyllenhaal

      • Brendan Says:

        Thanks for the link! I’ll have to go check out that roost in Evanston. I just found a chimney that appears to have around 30 swifts living in it at Damen and Sunnyside in Chicago, but that one in Evanston looks much more impressive!

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