Saturday was Spring Bird Count day in Illinois, and our family counted birds at several Chicago-area parks and west-side locations. Our most impressive finds were at Columbus Park, where we recorded 80 species for the day!
My son Ethan (aged 13) describes the Columbus Park part of our day on his new blog, nicknamed “OCB” for “Obsessive Compulsive Birding.” His first post is here:
Ethan had to drop out of the rest of our day because of his allergies, but Aaron and I continued until after sunset:
- At Garfield Park on the west side of Chicago we found 45 species of birds, including seven additions to our overall list: Wood Duck, American Kestrel, American Coot, Solitary Sandpiper, Herring Gull, Eastern Wood-Pewee, and Blue-headed Vireo.
- At Riis Park on the northwest side of Chicago we found 22 species, including three broods of baby Mallards, but no new birds for our overall list.
- At two cemeteries on the northwest side of Chicago we found 13 species, but no new birds.
- At Fullerton Woods in River Grove we found 38 species, including three additions to our list: Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, and Blackburnian Warbler.
- When we returned to Columbus Park just before sunset Aaron and I found birds number 79 and 80 for our Columbus Park list: Orchard Oriole and Downy Woodpecker. Aaron also may have seen a Connecticut Warbler, but we couldn’t nail down that identification.
- Birding close to home we found Cooper’s Hawk and House Finch.
For the entire day of birding we found 92 species. That’s not a bad day for city birding, especially when you don’t have any large lakes, marshes, or mudflats in your count area.
So I guess this goes to show that you don’t need to travel far to see great birds during the migration season. A place like Columbus Park provides a range of small habitats where migrating birds can stop over and refuel for the rest of their journeys.
But now our thoughts are turning to nesting birds. Will Baltimore Orioles join Warbling Vireos and Song Sparrows and nest in Columbus Park this year? Will the Red-tailed and Cooper’s Hawks successfully raise young in local nests? And which birds will nest on our block this year?
We’ll post about nesting birds over the next few weeks.