COS's primary mission is to promote and provide recreational birding activities and educational opportunities about birds for the Chicago community. We plan over a dozen trips per year and programs led by birding experts, both local and from around the world.
In addition to recreational birding, COS is committed to helping protect birds and their habitat in the Chicago area through conservation projects and local advocacy. We organize and participate in restoration projects to ensure birds have healthy habitats to thrive. We also share our birding observation data, so the public and scientific community can use it. We believe that understanding where and how birds thrive in our region is integral to driving our conservation initiatives and supporting our advocacy positions.
Field Trips and Programs
Field Trips and Programs
COS hosts quality field experiences for its members and the general public. Most field trips are free! Our trips give everyone the opportunity to learn from some of the best birders in the Chicago area. We also provide field trips focused on beginning birders as well as some trips in Spanish.
COS provides education to its members and the general public about birds and threats to their habitat. COS hosts educational workshops taught by experts from around the world. Members also present bird programs for local school groups.
COS organizes native shrub plantings for Chicago-area parks and natural areas and acts as an advisor in local restoration projects . We also pitch in for beach cleanups with bird watching outings. We aim to improve, maintain and restore healthy habitat for birds -- and, therefore, great bird watching areas in our city.
One of our signature projects was the 2015 LaBagh "Big Year" competition. It was a fundraiser to replant and restore bird habitat at LaBagh Woods, located at Foster Avenue and the Edens Expressway. The project was a big success, and our work here continues today. We hope to see many members getting involved in the years to come to ensure LaBagh stays a healthy place for birds -- and for birders!
COS has been a stakeholder on many issues to voice the concerns of birders in our community. We attend public hearings, sign petitions, contact our political representatives on legislation, and provide comments for review processes on development plans.
Some matters we have advocated on:
Let us know if you want to get involved!
COS maintains an eBird account with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Our presence on eBird is primarily for sharing field trip checklists, keeping track of bird monitoring for conservation projects, and transcribing historical observations from paper checklists from some of our legendary Chicago area birders.
If you have an eBird account, you can explore our data here: COS eBird page
Under the guidance of Walter Marcisz, nine dedicated folks gathered at the Bridgeport branch of the Chicago Public Library on September 8, 2012. They began a project of entering into eBird historical bird observations received from Doug Anderson.
With eBird assistance from Matthew Cvetas, 886 checklists dating from April 20, 1926 to October 13, 1979 were entered by the following COS members and friends:
John Adams, Suzanne Checchia, Pat Durkin, Jill Anderson, Craig Taylor, Terry Johnson, Phyllis Petrelli, Nathan Goldberg and Sigrid Schmidt.
The data represent 303 species found in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Amy Baldwin was the most frequently listed observer. Her name appeared on 516 lists. Walter Marcisz compiled some interesting statistics from our project which can be found at the following links: Historical Data Entry and Historical Data Highlights.
We hope to find a permanent hope for the physical checklists, so they can be preserved for posterity and for future use in research projects if needed.
Click the list image below to see Doug Anderson's complete 1927 birding checklist. Special thanks to Geoff Williamson for recreating it and sharing it.