Neighborhood Nature

Our Family's Nature Blog

Back in the Neighborhood March 23, 2009

Our family spent the weekend at a work bee at Circle Pines Center near Delton, Michigan. I suppose it was an escape to nature, since we made maple sugar, pruned apple trees, raked up last fall’s leaves, and found birds we won’t be seeing soon around here (like Wild Turkey and Ruffed Grouse).

But we also left a lot of nature behind. As we prepared to leave on Friday afternoon, the buds were opening on an American Elm one house north, attracting tiny bugs and four Golden-crowned Kinglets to eat them. Friday also saw the year’s first Song Sparrow and Brown-headed Cowbird in our yard. (The Cowbird was not good news — our closest Cardinal pair were tricked into raising one last summer.) While we were gone, a fellow Oak Park birder saw a Bald Eagle soaring high above our village, as reported on the Illinois birding list.

As sunrise approaches, I hear the songs and calls of Robins, Cardinals, and House Sparrows through our barely open back window. I just heard a Song Sparrow sing from the small Ash tree in our backyard. I also heard a song I don’t recognize — today’s birding challenge. Looking at my laptop screen, I see the echoes of bird migration on the Chicago Tribune weather radar, flocks riding southeast winds between the storms (image below). So, today I’ll keep track of backyard birds for Project FeederWatch and walk the neighborhood during dry spells to see what’s new

I’ll report the neighborhood nature news later today. Later this week I’ll post Ethan’s photos of life at Circle Pines.

The green around Springfield, Illinois, is migrating birds, coming in for a landing as sunrise approaches. The yellower areas are today's storms.

Chicago Tribune's Midwest weather radar from this morning. The green area around Springfield, Illinois, is flocks of migrating birds, coming in for a landing as sunrise approaches. The larger yellow/orange/green areas are today's storms.

Update added same morning at 7:50 a.m.:  A Cooper’s Hawk just landed on our back fence. As I edged closer to the window to see its age and gender, it took off and landed in a front yard tree. I stepped outside to get another look just in time to see a Common Grackle dive at the hawk, then take off before the hawk could retaliate. For a birder, that’s a pretty good start to a rainy day!


One Response to “Back in the Neighborhood”

  1. What a great reminder that nature isn’t just out in the ‘wilds’, but in all of our back yards. Thank you =)

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