Mississippi Kites at Bloom School

A few birders (and quite a few curious others) gathered near Bloom School by a playground to observe two Mississippi Kites flying around the area. We were lucky enough to get a great look at this bird and to snap a couple of photos.

Mississippi Kite {Ictinia mississippiensis}

Dakota also got some good shots of the bird. The Mississipi Kite was a life bird for Dakota, my two nieces Sammie and Allison, and also for me.

Mississippi Kite

Deer Run Forest Preserve Field Trip

Today was the Deer Run Forest Preserve field trip, led by Jack Armstrong. 15 birders attended and we met around 7:30AM in the Deer Run parking lot. We saw around 50 species or so and enjoyed warm sunshine as we hiked around the preserve.

Dickcissel {Spiza americana}

The shorebird list included Killdeer and one Spotted Sandpiper. On the warbler end of things we found three Yellow Warblers, a few Common Yellowthroats, and one calling American Redstart. The sparrows had to be the highlight of the trip. Jack Armstrong brought along his scope and we were able to see close-ups of both Grasshopper and Henslow’s Sparrows. Getting a good look of these little guys can be tricky, so that was great. The scope also brought us a bit closer to a singing Dickcissel high in a tree.

In addition, we saw many Lark Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Eastern Kingbirds, Tree Swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, a Brown Thrasher, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Red-winged Blackbirds.


Deer Run Forest Preserve – June 10

There is a field trip on Saturday to Deer Run and Oak Ridge Forest Preserves. Jack Armstrong will be leading the event. Hope to see everyone there!

Killdeer and Young
Killdeer Crossing

I took my nieces and son out to Deer Run Forest Preserve on Tuesday. The Dickcissels are back!! We saw Grasshopper Sparrows, Field Sparrows (nesting), and Henslow’s Sparrows. We also found a Baltimore Oriole, lots of Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Yellowthroats, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a Savanna Sparrow, Eastern Kingbirds, and Tree Swallows.

Dickcissel {Spiza americana}

A few more highlights were Eastern Meadowlarks carrying food, a calling Eastern Wood-pewee and the most exciting for the kids was an entire family of Killdeer right near the entrance. The Killdeer was not so happy to see us, so we grabbed a couple of photos and left them alone.

Young Killdeer
Young Killdeer

The only problem? A lot of ticks, creating hysteria and the bird-scattering sound of “Get it off! Get it off!” We are working on this fear. Good birding everyone!

A calm, tick-free Sammie
Sammie with Bins

Western Meadowlarks

In DeKalb County at the corner of Baseline Road and Malta Road I heard two or more Western Meadowlarks singing. I have heard them all week long on my way to school.

On Baseline Rd. (north of Malta Rd.) is a small pull-off that you can park and hear them singing in the corn. There are Robins, Killdeer, and Song Sparrows as well. I saw two Horned Larks there last week.

I heard Western Meadowlarks nearby last year. I don’t know how common they are around here.

Deer Run Forest Preserve Birding

We {me (Jennie) my Dad (Ron), brother (Eddie), sister (Susie), and son (Dakota)} went to Deer Run Forest Preserve today and found five Hermit Thrushes! We saw Field and Song Sparrow, Tree Swallows, Eastern Meadowlarks, and a couple of Sandhill Cranes. We also spotted an Osprey flying overhead.

Singing Song Sparrow

A lot of the area had been flooded, but we could still walk all around. We also went to Kishwaukee River Gorge South Forest Preserve and watched 8 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and a few Eastern Phoebes. One Ruby-crowned Kinglet was singing it’s neat song.

Deer Run Forest Preserve

The Purple Martin Conservation Association

Last year, while looking for specific bird migration studies, we came across The Purple Martin Conservation Association (we posted about it on birdfreak.com last January).


This organization keeps track of when and where the Purple Martins are arriving and/or staying. They also map the information, which is very interesting. I noticed a report (today) of a Purple Martin in Springfield, Illinois! So, if you see one, please report it on their easy-to-fill-out form: http://purplemartin.org/scoutreport/scoutform.php.

Photo courtesy of LaNeta

Reddish Barred Owl

Barred Owl

We are doing a Deer Run Bird Survey and we came across a Barred Owl this morning. Eddie got this photo and we thought it was really red for a Barred Owl. Is there a red phase for the Barred Owl such as the Eastern Screech Owl has?

Eddie also shot this cool American Tree Sparrow. The snow is very deep at Deer Run and it was a bit hard to walk, but it wasn’t nearly as frigid today!

American Tree Sparrow

Good Birding All!