Winter is on its way.  As the days get shorter and the leaves are turning, are you the type of person who stops birding, thinking that the only birds to see this winter are those hanging around your backyard?  This is not true and here’s a tip to help cure those winter blues – go birding.  Winter birding can be really rewarding – all you have to do is put on a few more layers of clothes and get outside. Winter is long, so get out and bird to help pass the time and you’ll get to see entirely different birds than you see in the summer.

If you’ve never done a Christmas Bird Count – give it a try. The group is accommodating and you can just spend a couple of hours or the whole day.  You don’t have to be an expert at bird identification.  You can help spot birds and there will always be someone there who identify the birds. Being on the count is an excellent way to learn more birds and perhaps get a “lifer”.  Some examples of birds you won’t see in thesummer are Rough-legged Hawk, Long-eared Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Winter Wren, American Pipit, Lapland Longspur and Snow Bunting.  And don’t forget – after the count you can share your experiences with the rest of the group at the post count dinner.

The club also offers a number of winter field trip opportunities where you can check out winter birds andlate migrants.  Trips will offer chances to see eagles, gulls, water fowl, and wintering owls.   Keep in mind,that every couple of years, food scarcities send one or a few irruptive species south of their normal ranges- redpolls in one year, for example, siskins, Snowy Owls, crossbills or Red-breasted Nuthatches in another. We never know what will show up.  Depending on the weather there may be trips to the Mississippi River, Starved Rock, and a tour of the Des Plaines River or the Fox River. As winter subsides (I hope) at the end of March, there is the possibility of seeing Woodcocks.    Check this website for the winter DBC field trips and Christmas Count – don’t let old man winter keep you sitting at home!

Other winter birding experiences include the Great Backyard Bird Count, sponsored by The Cornell Lab. It is a way you can support citizen science and show how much you care about birds.  Anyone in the world can count birds at any location for at least 15 minutes on one or more days and enter their sightings.  It’s free and the next count is February 12-15, 2016.  Just go to to get more information.

The Cornell Lab also sponsors Project FeederWatch which is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, and other North American locations. Participants periodically countthe birds they see at their feeders from November through early April and send their counts to Project FeederWatch.  The data helps scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.  There is a fee to participate in the project.  The website is

Finally, the annual Gull Frolic, sponsored by IOS will take place in February. Held annually at Winthrop Harbor it has a reputation of being cold and windy, but if you like gulls or need help identifying them, this is the place to be. Last year’s sightings included the following: Thayer’s Gull, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull, lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed, and of course Herring and Ring-billed Gulls.  There is afee and space is limited, so you have to pre-register. There is nothing on their website yet, but check  in a month or so.

As a member of the DuPage Birding Club, you receive an Eagle Optics discount for 10% off of any non-sale Eagle Optics, Atlas Optics, or Vortex items, and 5% off any non-sale product manufactured by anyone else (Leica excluded).


This and That…

Welcome to the DuPage Birding Club!

Founded in 1985, the DuPage Birding Club is nationally known as one of the largest and most active birding groups in Illinois. Our mission is to promote birding among our 200+ members and the general public through education and field experiences that take advantage of the various habitats in DuPage County, the greater Chicago area, and other regional hotspots.

        Upcoming Field Trips

Field Trip Participants: Please dress warm and dry for field trip weather and trail conditions. We expect everyone to enjoy birding in a safe manner by being careful and prudent.

Select      f         for more Detailed Field Trip Info!                             

Field Trips



DBC Lending Library

Select our DuPage Birding Club Apparel form to view the great selection of DBC Spiritwear apparel (created by Holy Cow Sports) that is embroidered with the DuPage Birding Club name and logo.

To order, download a copy of the order sheet and fill out your order. Drop off the completed sheet with payment to Vicky Sroczynski at   the next DBC meeting. Merchandise can be picked up   at the following DBC meeting date.

Click on the icon to read recent DBC Field Trip Reports






DuPage Birding Club Field Trip Reports

   Next Club Meeting

Winter Warm-up: Birding with Friends in Tropical Thailand

January 14, 2016

Presented by DBC members Jeff Chapman, Christian Goers, Jim Nachel, and Jeff Smith

Thailand shares much of its border—and all but 3 of its bird species—with 4 other countries in Southeast Asia, and that which it doesn’t share is Pacific Ocean coastline. Although Thailand is only 20% larger than California, 945 bird species are native to its mountains, savannahs, and coastal areas, more than the 914 regularly-occurring species of birds in all the lower-48 United States, Alaska, and Canada. Join Jeff, Christian, Jim, and Jeff as they take you on a tropical and very colorful birding tour of the regions in Thailand they visited last winter in January 2015.

Select here for more detailed Meeting information.

Saturday, November 28, 7:30 a.m.

Morton Arboretum, Lisle

Leaders: Bob and Jean Spitzer

Saturday, December 5, 8 a.m.

Tri-County Area Ramble

Leader:  Jeff Smith  

Friday, December 11, 7:30 a.m.

McKee Marsh (Winfield)

Leader: Kyle Wiktor   

Saturday, December 19, 8:30 a.m.

Cantigny Park, Wheaton

Leader: Jeff Reiter

Saturday December 19, All Day Event    

Fermilab Circle Christmas Bird Count;

Contact: Jeff Chapman

Two Christmas Bird Count Opportunities on Separate Days

Sunday December 20th, All Day Event       

Lisle-Arboretum Circle Christmas Bird Count;

Contact: Geoff Williamson

DBC Facebook Feed Watch the bird video of the month!                      Cliff Swallow Nest

Website Design: Jim Green          Photos: Christian Goers

Meacham Grove - May 7, 2015

Jean and I, along with Nancy and Leslie, took the Meacham Grove field trip on Tuesday morning, May 7th. The weather was great. We saw some nice birds. Our tally was 32 species. Note that the large area that at one time was a wet marsh is now quite dry, owing to draining. Further, this trip came before the heavy rains of late. The vernal ponds were dry back in the woods. Leslie and I spent a lot of time looking for warblers in the western part of the preserve. We were not rewarded for our effort. Hence our tally was less than in past years.

I filed our listing on the Club's eBird account. A copy of the listing is attached in PDF format. We took a some photos with my pocket Lumix camera. I have attached a selection just for fun. Jean and I have 2 more DuPage Birding Club field trips remaining for May.

Glacier Park in  McHenry- May 20, 2015

II have found some time to capture our May 20th DBC field trip to Glacial Park up in McHenry County. I was a good experience for our 5 birders, even though rain curtailed our chances to see some birds. John, thank you for the eBird report of 66 species.

Jean and I took some photos. She got some good shots. I have attached some just for fun. The sandhill cranes were great. So was the birding experience.

DBC Tweeter Feed

Cantigny - Nov. 14 2015

Today's walk at Cantigny Park, co-sponsored by the DuPage Birding Club, produced 32 species, our highest total ever for November! (Our previous best was 29 in 2013). Thanks to all 35 birders who attended including several first-timers and one very promising young birder.

The birding started a bit slow owing to the chilly start but ended strong. The bird of the day (my opinion only!) was an immature Bald Eagle, lazily flying west and just north of the park property. This was just the third time we've seen an eagle during one of our monthly walks, which began in 2008. The eagle was spotted just before the group broke up, around 10:30. Prior to that we explored the golf course with hopes of finding a Red-Headed Woodpecker. We failed in that pursuit but the Cantigny links did give up a Belted Kingfisher and Common Redpoll. Both were heard but not seen.

About 10 of us kept birding until about noon and the extra session was rewarding. Our 30th bird of the day was a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker. This is late in the season to find a sapsucker, our only migrating woodpecker. In fact, it was the first time we've ever encountered one in November! The smaller group thankfully located the ever-elusive Mourning Dove and a small band of White-Throated Sparrows. We also enjoyed nice views of a kingfisher at the pond by the Cantigny greenhouse.

Here's the full list of today's birds: Assisting with today's walk were Cantigny volunteers and DBC members Joan Campbell and Jim Frazier. Thanks much!

The next Cantigny Bird Walk will be Saturday, Dec. 19. Note this is the THIRD Saturday of the month because of the Christmas Bird Count. The data collected at Cantigny will be included in the Fermi CBC, conducted by the DuPage Birding Club. If you want to be on the Cantigny CBC team please let me know via email ( or just reply to this message. Please put "Cantigny CBC" on the subject line. My roster is limited to the first 20 birders to sign up but there will be plenty of opportunities to participate in the CBC at other DuPage locations on Dec. 19.

Pate Phillips State Park/Tri County Park - Sept. 5, 2015

We had a successful DBC Field Trip on Saturday morning, Sept 5th. Per our plan, we met at the Pate Philips Tri-County State Park at 7:30am. Three birders came who were new to DBC field trips. They told us they had a good experience and we invited them to our next Club Meeting. More birders came from the Club. Our birders were all with some experience and several brought some nice cameras. Counting Jean and myself, we had 12 birders on this outing.

We checked the birds at "Tri-County" for the next two hours. The weather was warm, but close to ideal. We were able to see lots of birds and some very nice species. I kept the log and tried to get everyone's input. The bird totals for each species represent a rough interpretation of what was being seen, given the many inputs. Others may have their own list. I have filed the results with eBird under our DBC account. Per my tally, we logged 29 species on this outing. I have attached a PDF copy of the listing.

Per the eBird history, we got to see birds that might be expected this time of the year. Some birds were not seen, such as the Osprey. Several birds were intriguing. We got to see a Northern Waterthrush on a sand bar in the creek. We got to see and hear the Sora in the brush near the bear dam on the creek.

I tok some photos with my pocket camera. Jon Grainger got the only shot of the illusive Sora. I have attached several of my shots, including Cormorants, Cedar Waxwings, plus the Sora photo from Jon.

We all elected to stop birding at 9:30am. (We did not explore Pratt's Wayne Woods). Some had other commitments. For myself, I had a doctor's appointment to address my head cold. Jean and three others went on to the Savoury Pancake Café for brunch and good conversation. Two of the breakfast group were new to the DBC.  

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An electronic field guide, bolstered with facial recognition software, may be the new frontier for birders

Until now, birdwatchers relied on cumbersome field guides to identify the species they observed in their backyards. But as nature-lovers embrace the digital age, birding manuals are getting a makeover complete with cutting-edge facial recognition software.

Researchers from Columbia University and the University of Maryland released a free iPhone app last month called "Birdsnap" aimed at helping amateur birdwatchers identify species. Professor Peter Belhumeur of Columbia, who supervised the project, says his inspiration stemmed partly from his admiration for birdwatchers' ability to accurately identify species on sight. "For the rest of us, it's a much harder process," he explains. "So we made this app to bridge that, to help people without training to get a leg up on identification."

On its surface, the program seems simple enough: You snap a photo of the tricky bird in question and upload it to the program, which processes your photo and reports back with a list of possible matches. In reality, however, a complex facial recognition software is at work, identifying the various parts of the bird—feet, neck, wings, tail—and comparing your photo to a database containing thousands of images. The program uses characteristic bird markings—for example, the distinctive white "eyebrows" on a Carolina wren—to come up with the best possible match.

The app is not without its quirks. Facial recognition software works best with clear, high-quality images—hard to come by when snapping photos {more}…..

President’s Corner