Why care? LaBagh Woods, a small forest preserve located at Foster and Cicero Avenues, is one of the most important migratory bird habitats in Chicago, especially as habitat away from Lake Michigan. It is an oasis of green in a dense urban setting, where birds can feed and rest. 190 species of bird have been recorded there. The majority are migrants, but almost 50 breeding birds species have been recorded there as well.

Why now? Over the years, LaBagh Woods was neglected. Its understory became infested with buckthorn and other invasive species. In 2014, the Forest Preserves of Cook County obtained a grant to remove the buckthorn using volunteers, but had no money to replace the understory. An understory is critical as shelter and food for birds. Recognizing this, Chicago Ornithological Society began raising money to purchase native shrubs suitable for habitat and food for birds. Partnering with many other organizations, grants were also obtained to help fund this avian-driven restoration. During the past two years, thanks to the herculean efforts of many (especially Centennial Volunteers), over 1250 native shrubs have been planted and fenced at LaBagh. Thousands of seeds of native herbaceous plants have been spread. However, our work is not done. We continue to have restoration workdays twice a month, every month of they year. All are welcome to join us. This project still requires many more native shrubs to replace the acres of buckthorn that have been, and will be removed, especially along the edges between the forest and the picnic groves, along the river and slopes (which will also help reduce erosion) and in areas where ash trees have died.

What good will this fundraiser do? Money raised April 22 will allow us to continue to purchase and plant native shrubs at LaBagh to provide habitat and food for birds. It will enable us to continue to purchase the material necessary to fence the native shrubs until they reach maturity in 3-10 years. It takes approximately $13-15,000 a year for us to continue this restoration project, and EVERY PENNY will be used for this purpose. We thank you for supporting our efforts for an avian-driven restoration at LaBagh. It’s for the birds!