Date: 6/3/18 7:44 pm From: Jeff Bilsky <jbilsky...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...> Subject: IBET Skokie Lagoons Forest Preserve--Willow Rd., Cook, Illinois, US
Almost didn't go birding today. You know, the post-migration, mosquito swarm let down. But then I remembered that every time I think it's going to not be good, it ends up surprising me. So was the story tonight.
On 5/28, I noted a male prothonotary warbler on territory and said he had apparently picked a nest hole and was looking for a mate. On 5/31, I noted that there was some moss that had apparently been placed in the bottom of the nest cavity. I researched that this is behavior of male Prothonotaries to show the female various nest options and then she completes the building of the nest. Seemed like a good sign but didn't see any warblers when I was checking. Today, checked the nest cavity and it was immediately apparent something had been working on a nest. There were sticks, leaves etc. So I stood way back, got my camera ready and watched. Eventually I was rewarded with the male Prothonotary returning, but he brought a friend with him this time. Apparently she was pleased with the accommodations. I watched for a while as she would fly in with nesting materials. Often, he stood proud and defensive watch. He occasionally flew around the territory singing a bit as well. I saw him defend the area vigorously and successfully against a pair of much larger Gray Catbirds. He checked me out momentarily, but for the most part they seemed unbothered as I kept my distance, crouched down, watching. During the couple hours I was around, they would sometimes leave for long periods of time, likely foraging, but always came back. During one of these absences, I observed a cowbird interloper scoping things out unfortunately. Also of note, there are at least two AMERICAN REDSTARTS on territory in the area as well as singing ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS. Will keep an eye out for breeding success on all species. Last summer I do recall an inordinate number of species feeding cowbirds here. I am hopeful that the Prothonotaries will fledge at least some of their own.