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67th Lisle-Arboretum Christmas Bird Count Results

67th Lisle-Arboretum Christmas Bird Count Results

The 67th Lisle-Arboretum Christmas Bird Count was held on Sunday, 20 December 2015. There was only a brief freeze in the weeks prior to count day, so that we had a lot of hope for a good count. The 90 field observers and nine feeder watchers also had reasonably warm weather to work with, without any snow on the ground. Despite this, most field parties bemoaned the lack of birds. 

The 2015 COS Team LaBagh Big Year -- Report #1

The 2015 COS Team LaBagh Big Year -- Report #1

Quietly, and with little fanfare, before the Ivory Gull was even a thought forbirders in the Chicago area, a very special year-long event kicked off at LaBagh Woods.  Chicago Ornithological Society (COS), in conjunction with a number of other conservation-minded partners, launched a fundraiser for the restoration of the understory at LaBagh in 2015 and beyond.

Trip Report: Palos Area - 2014 November 3

Sixteen birders showed up on a cool but sunny fall day. It was a great to be out birding. Unfortunately birds have wings and all of the swans seen yesterday were gone. We did have some quality birds. An American Pelican swam around and was very visible. An adult Bald Eagle flew around but quickly disappeared in on of the corners. The waterfowl seen unfortunately were hugging the west side and difficult to ID.

Trip Report:  Bartel Grasslands Field Trip Report - 2014 July 6

Trip Report: Bartel Grasslands Field Trip Report - 2014 July 6

On July 6, 2014, a beautiful Sunday morning, Dick Riner escorted our group of about 20 birders around Bartel Grasslands.  After dousing ourselves with insect repellant and some folks donning rubber boots we were ready for the birds and mosquitoes. 

Trip Report:  Montrose Birding Trip - 2014 July 26

Trip Report: Montrose Birding Trip - 2014 July 26

Christine and Geoffrey Williamson led a group of about 20 individuals around Montrose Point in Chicago's Lincoln Park this morning (Saturday, 26 July 2014), and we located 38 species of birds. We spent some time looking at the 64 shorebirds (of six species) at the beach, which included the following.

Trip Report: Humboldt Park Bird Walk - 2014 May

Report and trip led by Sam Burckhardt:

I had the pleasure to show a group of ten birders (including a three month old baby and his almost three year old brother who came with his own set of binoculars) through Humboldt Park on a perfect late spring day. The weather was gorgeous with blue skies and temperatures in the upper 50s to mid 60s F. The birding was rather slow with a list of 29 species. Most migrants have already passed through and most of the birds were summer residents. We first heard and then saw a Black-and white Warbler, as well as an American Redstart. Other birds of note were two flycatchers (a Yellow-bellied and a Willow) I saw before I met the group at 7 A.M. All in all it was a good morning to be out and enjoy the company of other birders.

Trip Report: "Birds in My Neighborhood" - 2014 June 5

A group of over 60 students from Mark Sheridan Academy went on a field trip to Palmisano Park on the near South Side of Chicago. The weather on this sunny June 5 was perfect for exploring the grasslands and the old stone quarry of the park. We split into two groups and were able to show the students many of the birds in their Openlands field guide.

Trip Report: Emiquon/Chautauqua - 2014 April 26-27

Our COS group had two wonderful days of birding in the Emiquon/Chautauqua area.  On Saturday, we concentrated on waterfowl of all kinds and we were certainly not disappointed.  Highlights at the South Globe Unit of Emiquon included great views of 5 Dunlin, 25 Black-necked Stilts, 4 Hudsonian Godwits, 51 Long-billed Dowitchers, 16 American Golden Plovers, 2 Wilson’s Phalarope, and 20 Bonaparte’s Gulls. 

Trip Report: Lakefront Ducks and Gulls - 2014 February 2014

Geoffrey Williamson led the Chicago Ornithological Society field trip along the Chicago lakefront on Sunday, 16 Feb 2014.  Our group of 13 birders visited Montrose Point, Belmont Harbor mouth, Diversey Harbor mouth, and then hoofed it to the Whiting Refinery Beach in Whiting, Indiana.  Our targets were ducks and gulls, and we did pretty well on both scores.

Trip Report: Gillson Beach - 2013 December 7

This COS field trip had 12 participants, including some new birders and visitors from Germany and Sweden.  Special thanks to Sam Burckhardt for always teaching us a few things we didn't know about birds.

Join COS for the Lisle Arboretum Christmas Bird Count

Join one of Chicagoland’s most active Christmas Bird Counts. Almost 100 people volunteer their time on a wintry Sunday to count birds. The count circle includes a wide variety of habitats from the forests of Palos to the pine plantations of the Morton Arboretum to the open grasslands of Green Valley. The Lisle Arboretum Count is part of the National Audubon Society’s national Christmas Count program.

The day of counting birds is followed by a Count Down Dinner from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at a NEW location, Home Run Inn in Darien. We hope to see you all there!

To participate in the count, you must pre-register with Geoff Williamson at by 8pm on December 10.

To attend the post-count dinner, you must pre-register with Christine Williamson at by 8pm on December 10.

Trip Report: Burnham Park - 2013 October 12

Christine and I led a COS/Sierra Club group in Chicago's Burnham Park yesterday (Saturday, 12 Oct 2013).  We started at 39th Street and made our way up to about 31st Street and then head back south.  We had 41 species of birds, plus five butterfly species (one Black Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Clouded/Orange Sulphur, Eastern Tailed-Blue, and Common Buckeye) and one dragonfly species (Common Green Darner).

Trip Report: North Pond Bird Walk - 2013 October 3

A particularly good birding day at the North Pond on Wednesday October 3. Around the North Pond in Chicago's Lincoln Park: I forget to put Swainson's Thrush and Rusty Blackbird on the list, so the species count went up to 59 from the 57 I reported yesterday.

Trip Report: Jackson Park Bird Walk - 2013 September 14

With northeast winds and meager indication of movement on radar Friday night/Saturday morning I didn't expect much to see for the COS trip to Jackson Park yesterday.  At first it seemed that it would be really slow but near the Rose Garden we finally found a nice pocket of warblers.  We only got 12 species but working on their identifications with all the leaves kept us well occupied.  The best was a male BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER just south of Wooded Island.  There was a small group (3-4) ofN. PARULAS just west of the Rose Garden, which were all females orimmature birds (one was an immature male that briefly sang while I waslooking at it.  We also had 5 species of woodpeckers with great looks at adult and immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS, a heard only HAIRY WOODPECKER and a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER.  I missed the sapsucker butgot 2 later in the day waiting for a bus at 60th and University!  TheMONK PARAKEETS did not make an appearance but let us know they werethere by calling from inside their nests.

After the trip I stayed around Wooded Island to look for the sapsuckerwithout luck but added GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH and SONG SPARROW.  I then checked 63rd Street Beach but only added SAVANNAH SPARROW (2).  However, I had one great find here.  It wasn't an animalor plant but a 1945 silver Mercury head dime in almost mint condition!  I found it in the sparse vegetation behind (south of) the fenced offhabitat at the west end of the beach.

In the area at the southwestend of the inner harbor I added HOUSE WREN and WILSON'S WARBLER.  Therewas also a MAGNOLIA WARBLER, 2 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS and a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK here.

On the east side of the golf course I added OVENBIRD,  TENNESSEE WARBLER and, the best bird of the day, a male GOLDEN-WINGEDWARBLER to give me 16 warbler species on the day.  There were also aGREY-CHEEKED and a SWAINSON'S THRUSH in this area.

Randy Shonkwiler
Hyde Park/Chicago


Here is a list of notable birds from the outing:

Black-crowned Night-Heron 3
Monk Parakeet ~2
Belted Kingfisher 2 males
Red-headed Woodpecker 2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 5
N. Flicker 5
E. Wood-pewee 1
Least Flycatcher 1
Red-eyed Vireo 2
Warbling Vireo 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
Swainson's Thrush 7
Brown Thrasher 2
Nashville Warbler 2
N. Parula 3-4
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Magnolia Warbler 2
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Black-throated Green Warbler 2
Palm Warbler 6
Blackpoll Warbler 2
Bay-breasted Warbler 1
A. Redstart 4
N. Waterthrush 2
Common Yellowthroat 5
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2
Indigo Bunting 2

Trip Report: North Pond Bird Walk - 2013 August 28

The COS North Pond Bird Walk Wednesday, 28 Aug 2013 at North Pond in Chicago's Lincoln Park  recorded 30 species of birds, three species of odes, two butterfly  species, and two mammal species. Highlights included four species of warblers (NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH,  BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, MOURNING WARBLER, and AMERICAN REDSTART),  three LEAST FLYCATCHERS, and SWAINSON'S THRUSH. The birding was  really quite slow.

Trip Report: McCormick Place Sanctuary and Burnham Sanctuary - 2013 August 24

Trip Report: McCormick Place Sanctuary and Burnham Sanctuary - 2013 August 24

Chris and Geoff Williamson led the nature walk in Chicago"s Burnham Park on 24 August 2013. When all was said an done, we had observed 33 species of birds, two species of mammals (aside from human beings and domestic dogs), 10 butterfly species, and one dragonfly species. Lists of all these creatures along with the number observed are provided at the end of this report.

Trip Report: Calumet Reclamation Plant - 2013 August 18

Twenty-two observers attended this joint Chicago Ornithological Society/Evanston North Shore Bird Club sponsored field trip to the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant in southeast Chicago on Sunday morning (18 August 2013). Like last year's trip, it was an absolutely gorgeous day for a field trip. We counted at least 186 individuals of ten shorebird species, compared with 318 individuals of ten shorebird species on the same trip last year. The main difference between this year's trip and last year's was the number of Least Sandpipers (135 last year, 40 this year), and Pectoral Sandpipers (80 last year, 5 this year).

Trip Report:  Montrose Point, COS/Sierra Club joint trip - 2013 July 27

Trip Report: Montrose Point, COS/Sierra Club joint trip - 2013 July 27

Chris and Geoff Williamson led a nature walk to Montrose Point in Chicago's Lincoln Park on 27 July 2013. The weather was unseasonably cool, with the temperature at only 61 degrees Fahrenheit and with winds blowing from the northwest at 10 to 15 miles per hour. The skies were mostly cloudy.