Date: 5/6/18 7:13 am
From: <GyllenFish...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...>
Subject: IBET Post-industrial and urban birding for the Spring Bird Count

Ethan Gyllenhaal and I covered a broad swath of post-industrialand urban parks for the Spring Bird Count, from Steelworkers, Park 566, andRainbow Beach on Chicago's south lakefront, to Douglas, Garfield, Columbus, and RiisParks on Chicago’s westside, to Fullerton Woods on the Des Plaines River. We totaled115 species, with each park contributing at least one unique bird to our daylist.

Objectively, our “best birds” of the day were probably the GreaterWhite-fronted Goose and immature Red-shouldered Hawk seen at Douglas Park.However, they didn’t seem that special to us, since both birds have beenhanging out in the park for more than a month. On the southside, we enjoyedseeing a Horned Grebe and two Northern Mockingbirds at Steelworkers, NorthernHarrier and Blue-winged Warbler at Park 566, and Red-breasted Nuthatch and singingDickcissel in parts of the steel mills property that don’t have eBird hotspots.Rainbow Beach added a Sharp-shinned Hawk and a Hooded Warbler. Additional birdsat Douglas included the park’s first-recorded Grasshopper Sparrow, a White-eyedVireo, and a flyover American Pipit. Garfield Park had a Marsh Wren and a ProthonotaryWarbler. Columbus Park contributed Wood Thrush, Ovenbird, and Indigo Bunting tothe cause. Riis Park had our only Willow Flycatcher and Northern Parula of theday. Fullerton Woods added Blue-headed Vireo and White-breasted Nuthatch to theday list. And our last new bird of the day was a Turkey Vulture soaring over a watertower near 1st and North Avenues.

Counting all the parks’ contributions, we had a 21-warblerday, but only about a third of the warbler species were singing. We wondered if lack of food silenced many of them, since the ground-feeding warblers werethe loudest of the bunch. (There were lots of tiny insects in the parks’not-yet-mowed lawns.) In support of that theory, this morning we finally sawthe spring’s first elm leaf beetle larvae on the ground under our front-yardelm tree, with a Gray-cheeked Thrush gobbling them up. The bugs in our elmtrees feed lots of neotropical migrants most springs, so we finally feel readyfor the push in mid-spring migrants that began about a week ago.. Now we canfatten up these birds for the rest of their journeys north.

Eric Gyllenhaal
Oak Park, Cook County

 
Join us on Facebook!