Birding in Jackson Park
May 25, 2010
Last week I took an unintentional hiatus from Tiny Aviary. Excuse the absence of posts. I guess I was spending too much time outside birding and planting a native prairie patch in our backyard!
Actually, I am a terrible birder. I don't go on birding trips. I don't keep a formal life list. I have never done a Christmas Count. I am trying to change this. A couple of weekends ago, I met up with a friend of mine in Hyde Park. She lives across from a wonderful park located just south of the Museum of Science and Industry. It's historic Jackson Park. Created long ago for the World's Columbian Exposition, it is now one of Chicago's best birding hot spots. All that remains of the Columbian Exposition is the museum, and the Japanese Garden. The park has many different habitats: prairie, forest, wetlands. Due to its diversity of habitat, and being located along the lake, it supports a rich variety of bird species.
Renata and I meet up in the morning and stroll with another dedicated group of birders. We probably spend a good hour and a half walking the park grounds. I recently had someone interview me and they asked that since I live in an urban environment, how was it possible for me to be inspired by nature. I thought about this as I tallied up the number of bird species I had seen on this one outing. Once you develop an awareness for nature, you begin to look for it everywhere, and then you realize, even in an urban environment, there is a lot to see. You have to know to look for it, and then know where to look for it. On that note, here is the final tally for my Jackson Park excursion. Not bad for an urban environment, eh? Unfortunately, these were all birds I was familiar with from the prep lab at the Field Museum. These are almost all species that migrate through Chicago, and are prone to building collisions. It was lovely to see these individuals alive and well, flitting about the old oak trees and giant cottonwoods. We were even fortunate enough to see a Baltimore Oriole in its woven nest.
Cape May Warbler
Black and White Warbler
American Redstart (both male and female)
Least Flycatcher (or some other Epidonax species)
Baltimore Oriole (and nest)
House Wren (heard)
Black-crowned Night Heron