Say you are visiting Illinois or new to the area and would like to go birding or shoot wildlife photography with someone who knows the territory. Check out the Illinois chapter of BirdingPals. It’s free and some of the volunteers are even bilingual!
This and That…
Next Club Meeting
September 11, 2014 7:30 p.m
Topic: Identifying Raptors In Flight, An Overview
The timing couldn’t be better for this presentation on raptor identification. Vic Beradi will be discussing some of the difficulties in identifying raptors in flight and how to begin breaking down the elements for successful identification. Key ID features will be displayed for all our regularly occurring raptors in northeastern Illinois. Vic is one of the foremost authorities on hawk ID, and we’re fortunate that he’s always eager to share his knowledge. His enthusiasm for hawkwatching is contagious and by the end of the evening you’ll be well prepared to head out to Greene Valley, Illinois Beach State Park or any other key hawkwatch site in the Midwest.
Vic Berardi is the founder of the all-volunteer Illinois Beach State Park Hawk Watch which has conducted 14 seasons of full time hawk migration monitoring. This past fall he and a few others conducted several spot counts at a new hawk watch site at the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve on the shore of Lake Michigan in Highland Park, Il.
He recently served on the Board of Directors for the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) and is the Central Continental Flyway Editor for Hawk Migration Studies which is HMANA’s biannual publication. This year, he was the 2014 recipient of HMANA’s Appreciation Award for his outstanding service to further hawk migration studies and conservation. In 2009 he was awarded the Service to Chicago Area Birders by the Chicago Audubon Society. In 2007 he was awarded the Grassroots Conservation Leadership Award for his leadership in raptor education and research.
In addition to Vic’s dedication to the IBSP Hawk Watch and HMANA, he also finds time to write articles on hawk watching, give hawk identification seminars and raptor conservation related talks. Vic is also an accomplished photographer and many of his photos have been published in several magazines, including Outdoor Illinois, Hawk Migration Studies and Birdwatching Magazine along [continue….]
Select here for more detailed Meeting information.
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
Select icon for more detailed Field Trip Information
Superb Owl Sunday VI Trip Report - Febuary 2, 2014
Cold, snowy weather did not deter a group of 18 birders from searching for owls on the sixth annual Superb Owl Sunday. We chose to stay local this year and met at Whalon Lake Forest Preserve at noon. We started with a hike through the pines at WL. We found a couple of Brown Creepers working their way up the tree trunks in search of food. Several Downy Woodpeckers and a few White-breasted Nuthatches were also present. Along the woods edge several White-throated Sparrows foraged in the shrubs. But no owls were found.
We then car-pooled to southwestern Bolingbrook where we immediately located one of the Snowy Owls which have been present for several weeks. Several scopes were set up and everyone got good looks at the bird. We got a bonus when a helicopter flew nearby. The Snowy took flight and travelled several hundred yards before settling back down in the field.
Our final stop was Hidden Lakes Nature Center in Bolingbrook. The feeders had plenty of activity with a number of Tree Sparrows, Juncos, [more….]
Mississippi River Trip Report - Febuary 16, 2014
Urs Geiser led a group of eight birders on his annual Mississippi River Eagle field trip. We squeezed everyone into 2 vehicles and headed west on I-88. Along the way we saw several Red-tailed Hawks and 3 Rough-legged Hawks during the 2+ hour drive. We arrived at Lock & Dam 13 to find very little open water and few birds. Only 20 some Bald Eagles were present. Upon hearing that an American White Pelican was present but not visible as it stuck close to the lock wall, one goofball walked on the water (frozen) to confirm its presence.
We went south from there checking feeders and areas of open water. We did well at the feeders finding the main target species, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, at feeders on River Road in Rock Island County. Other good feeder birds were Red-headed Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, and Red-breasted Nuthatch. A group of 12 Wild Turkeys were found crossing the road as we continued to car-bird our way south. We would find a few more Bald Eagles here and there as well as Common Mergansers and Common Goldeneye. [more….]
Saturday, August 9, 7:30 a.m.
Cantigny Park, Wheaton
Leader: Jeff Reiter
Wednesday evening, August 20, 6:00 p.m.
Hidden Lake Forest Preserve, (Downers Grove)
Visit our **UPDATED** LENDING LIBRARY
Birding BOOKS, AUDIO,VIDEO AND MORE!!!
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
New study uses eBird data to define migration flyways for terrestrial birds
In one of the greatest feats of endurance in the biological world, millions of tiny songbirds—many weighing less than an ounce—migrate thousands of miles to Central and South America each year. Now scientists are finding out how these featherweights do it: using elliptical routes that take advantage of prevailing wind patterns to save calories. “Most of what we’ve known about migration routes comes from ducks and geese,” said Frank La Sorte, a Cornell Lab of Ornithology research associate and lead author of a [more…]
Mississippi River Waterfowl Report - March 22, 2014
Jeff Chapman led a group of nine on his annual Mississippi River Trip looking for waterfowl and other regional specialties. We started the trip further south this year due to frozen conditions upriver. Lock & Dam 14 was the first stop. Eleven duck species were recorded here including Greater Scaup and a lone Red-breasted Merganser (two species which arenʼt always found). Good numbers of American White Pelicans and Bald Eagles were found here as well. http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S17601336.
We worked north along the river with a brief stop in Cordova where the normally reliable overlook waspretty much devoid of ducks. A few feeder birds were recorded. We checked along River Road north of town for more feeder birds with the main target being Eurasian Tree Sparrow. This was one case where being in the lead car did not work out as the back of the pack found an E Tree and 2 Eurasian Collared Doves. A couple of Red-headed Woodpeckers was the only other highlight. http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S17601414. A roadside stop just south [more….]
2014 DuPAGE COUNTY SPRING BIRD COUNT RESULTS
May 10, 2014 was a great weather day, and the birds cooperated, big time! 140+ birders (our all time highest prticipation) counted 27,394 birds (2800 more than last year) and reported 181 species, plus one hybrid (a Brewster’s Warbler), 7 more than last year’s 174 species total.
The 181 species is just 2 short of our all time high of 183 species, set 10 years ago, on May 8, 2004. Among the rarities reported was our first Golden Eagle in the 42 year history of the DuPage SBC,found and well documented by Vince Moxon and others at Elsen’s Hill, where they watched it soar overhead. A documented flyover Little Blue Heron in Area 7 is also a DuPage SBC first. Two White-rumpedSandpipers well documented at Fermi (Area 10) is only the second appearance for this species in DuPage SBC history. A very early arriving Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (awaiting documentation) and an equally early Connecticut Warbler are also noteworthy.
We set all time high counts for 24 different species, including 11 of the 32 species of warblers wefound. We tallied just over 5000 warblers (18% of all the birds counted). Only once have we ever tallied more warblers – 6800+ in 1997. Cooper’s Hawk, Hairy Woodpecker, Warbling and Red-eyed Vireo, White-breasted Nuthatch, the now ubiquitous Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, were some of the other all time highs. But the population pendulum is swinging the other way for a few species, notably Am. Kestrels and Am. Crows. For both we set all time lows! Kestrels are in decline nationally, and certainly the habitat transition here in DuPage from rural to suburban exacerbates that decline. Our local crows just don’t seem to be recovering from the West Nile epidemic that began 10+ years ago. 783 Canada Geese was their lowest number since 1983. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide whether that’s a good or a bad trend.
It’s a sure thing. Whether 20, 000, or 30,000 birds are seen on count day in DuPage, between 13-18% of that total will be Red-winged Blackbirds, keeping this species the most abundant bird once again. This year it was on the low end of that range – 13.5%. The other members of the Top Ten this year, in descending order of abundance: Am. Robin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, Am. Goldfinch, Canada Goose, Mallard, Tree Swallow, N. Cardinal, and C. Grackle. The presence of the two most common warbler species – Yellow-rumped and Palm – in the Top Ten, is a clear indication of this year’s strong warbler migration.
2014 is our 42st year of the Spring Count in DuPage. It’s always interesting to look back, so this year I chose to go back 40 years, to 1974. The count was on May 4 that year. Paul Mooring was the compiler and he had 32 birders in the field that day, who recorded 2329 birds in 80 party hours. The weather was cool but clear all day, reaching a high of only 63°F. Of the 101 species tallied that day, the highlights were a single Yellow-crowned Night Heron and a lone C. Gallinule. They tallied 163 Am. Crows, but not a single Blue-gray Gnatcatcher! It’s interesting to note that in those early years of the DuPage SBC, grackles were always the most abundant species, substantially outnumbering Red-winged Blackbirds. That pattern continued until the early 80’s.
The utility of the Spring Count for tracking population trends, using the 40+ years of observations now in the database, illustrate the value of a continuing, long term data gathering effort like The DuPage Spring Bird Count. Our stats are folded into the statewide Spring Count, providing an even broader, statewide perspective on trends like abundance, changes in breeding ranges, etc.
All these statistics about the Spring Count would not be possible without the dedication and commitment of every participant. Thanks again to you all! Special thanks to our area captains who coordinate teams of birders to assure comprehensive coverage, and then compile their team Totals. In that spirit, I’d like to dedicate this report to Jack Pomatto, whose recent passing saddened all of us who knew Jack as a birding friend and mentor. Jack served faithfully as the Area 1(Pratts Wayne) captain/compiler for the DuPage SBC since 1996, until his health problems prevented him from participating this year. A Charter member, active in the DuPage Birding Club for many years, serving as Club President in 2004, Jack generously shared his knowledge and birding skills with all of us. Jack, you will be missed!
All who participated got a copy by email. If you were unable to count this year but would like to see the count results, they’re posted on the DBC website. Or send me an email and I’ll send the list. If you don’t have Internet access or email, call me and I’ll mail a copy.
Not able to count this year? Join us next year in this fun, rewarding and important (for tracking bird population trends) activity! Perhaps we can set a new record for counters, and surpass 1997’s total of 31821 birds counted, and break our all time species record of 183 (set in 1994) as well. SELECT HERE TO VIEW THE 2014 SPRING BIRD COUNT RESULTS.
Bob Fisher, DuPage County Spring Bird Count compiler
Will County Big Day Trip! May, 2014
Joan Norek was the winning bidder at the DBC Auction for the Will County Big Day field trip. We scheduled the trip for May 17th and prepared by monitoring eBird reports as well as personal scouting trips. We planned to meet at 3:30 a.m. which would put us at our first stop well before sunrise. The plan was to start in the far southern parts of the county and finish the day back north. On our way to our first stop near Braidwood a very light raptor flew across our path just above the headlights, which may have been a Barn Owl. We were unable to relocate the bird so it went uncounted. Our first stop was to listen for Whip-poor-will. A very distant Whip was calling when we got out of the car. We walked down the road further and were able to hear a much closer bird call for several minutes. A Woodcock or two were also peenting and displaying in the area. Before we left the area, a Wild Turkey gave a couple of gobbles which saved us a trip to look for them later. We next headed for Kankakee River S.P. To look for warblers. Kentucky, Prothonatary, and Yellow-throated Warblers can often be found in the Will Co. areas of the park. We were able to find Kentucky but missed the other 2. Several other more common warblers were added as were the hard to find Pileated Woodpecker. Nearby back roads got us a Lincoln's Sparrow and a Eurasian Collared Dove. [more….]
Birding Opportunities: Have you heard about Beaver Island? As the the largest island in Lake Michigan, Beaver is a critical stopover for migratory birds flying over the lake on their way north to breeding grounds. Many birds stay to nest. The Beaver Island Birding Trail encompasses more than 12,000 acres of state and township lands and four Little Traverse Conservancy preserves where examples of each of the Island’s diverse habitats can be found. The island hosts a rich array of migrating, nesting and resident birds offering birders of all levels unique and satisfying experiences. With high quality habitats, great public access, and diverse bird species the Island makes the perfect place for a birding trail. For more information visit: http://www.beaverislandbirdingtrail.org.
Thursday evening, August 21, 6:00 p.m.
Leader: Bob & Jean Spitzer,
Saturday, August 30, 7:30 a.m.
Pratts Wayne Forest Preserve
Leader: Kyle Wiktor
Saturday, August 30, 6:00 a.m.
Momence Sod Farms and Nearby Sites TBA
Leader: Jeff Smith
Sunday, August 31, 7:30 a.m.
McKee Marsh, Warrenville
Leader: Kyle Wiktor
Midewin Trip - July 5, 2014
We had some decent weather for a late afternoon walk at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie on the 5th of July and the birds cooperated as well. Thirteen birders started at the Iron Bridge Trailhead and hiked east. Several House Wrens chattered away as we walked through the wood lot next to the parking lot. Entering the grasslands we stopped to look at Dickcissels and Indigo Buntings before proceeding after our target species. We went east on the southern leg of the Group 63 trail where several Grasshopper Sparrows and Eastern Meadowlarks were calling. We eventually got decent looks at the former as well as Bobolink. A Blue Grosbeak could be heard up ahead but before we could walk toward it another popped up on the fence nearby. A couple pairs of Northern Mockingbirds flew back and forth across the trail as we headed for the "Shrike" spot. Scanning the fences we saw a Loggerhead Shrike perched in the distance. It stayed long enough for a couple of us to get scope views. We moved on to get better looks. Reaching the corner of the fence line we could now see 3 Loggerhead Shrikes on the fence. This time everyone got good looks. We pushed forward to see if we could locate the other shrike family a quarter mile up the road. We found one adult bird and turned back to our cars.
We next drove to the Explosives Road Trailhead. Here we looked for Henslow's Sparrow and Bell's Vireo. Henslow's Sparrows were heard but not seen. Light rain moved in so we cut our walk short and called it a day.
Trip lists can be seen at : http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19001824 http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19001827