Request for bird program in Channahon, IL

The club has received a request for someone to do a program on bird watching at the public library in Channahon, IL. This is in Will County southwest of Joliet (p.36, A-2 in your DeLorme). If anyone is interested, please contact Sarah Robertson directly at the address/tel #s below.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Sarah Robertson
Date: Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 10:45 AM
Subject: Library Program
To: birdfreak@birdfreak.com

Hello-

I am the adult librarian at the Three Rivers Public Library in Channahon, Il. We would like to do a program on Bird Watching at our library, and hoped you had a speaker at your organization that would be willing to come present this type of program. Please let me know if this would be a possibility, or if there is another person I should contact.

Thanks!
Sarah Robertson
Adult Services Librarian

Three Rivers Public Library District
815-467-6200 x306
815-467-4012 Fax

Sotted Towhee update (no sightings)

We have received a number of inquiries about the status of the Spotted Towhee that was coming to the feeder of Martin and Vonnie Kehoe in NW Winnebago Co., so I thought that I would let you all know its status (actually, the lack of current status).

Vonnie reports that it has not been seen since December 30. Then the warm weather set in overnight. She reports that the number of birds at their feeder have declined quite a bit since then.

It may be that it will take another good snow to bring the birds back to the feeder. If the towhee is relocated, I will post its return.

Cranes on ice

A comment has been posted asking if the Whooping Cranes are likely to suffer from this cold weather and what if they don’t migrate?

I’m no expert, but I know that northern hemisphere cranes tend to be pretty tough critters. Sandhill Cranes routinely migrate north into Nebraska and the Dakotas in March when the Great Plains’ weather can be pretty forbidding.  There is abundant food for cranes with all the corn being harvested and the weather really isn’t too bad so far. We’ve heard from the International Crane Foundation that there are still a bunch of other Sandhill and Whooping Cranes at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin that haven’t even started to migrate yet. I think we are all surprised that these birds have stayed here so long, but apparently they like it here and when they are ready they’ll go. The older birds in this group have migrated both ways on their own before, in fact, there is only one bird of the five that is on his first ultralight-free migration. My guess is that they are fine, and one day they’ll be gone.

Any Mississippi Kites seen since 9/16?

The last report of a Mississippi Kite from the Bloom School area was on Wednesday, 9/16. Has anyone seen a kite, whether adult or juvenile, in that neighborhood (or nearby) since that date? If so, please post a reply by leaving a comment. I am trying to determine the last date that the kites were here. Last year, the last sighting of an adult was on 9/21 and the last sighting of the juvenile was 9/29, so, if they haven’t left yet, they are probably packing their bags.

Tens of thousands of MIKI have already flown over Veracruz, Mexico on their way further south.

Baumann Park – Saturday

On Nov 24 we birded at Baumann Park in Cherry Valley. Our purpose was to see if there is a trail that connects from Baumann Park to McKiski Forest Preserve (which connects to Deer Run). If anyone knows if there is such a trail please advise. We found one trail that crossed a stream but then ended in a corn field not far from the paved walking path.

We heard two CAROLINA WRENS singing and spotted two YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS. Also, after hearing some gun shots towards the corn fields a flock of ~1000 Canada Geese flew into the lake at Baumann. Quite a noisy sight!!

Baumann Park is located just south of the railroad crossing in Cherry Valley past a baseball diamond and right at where the road curves east (Cherry Valley Road) It is usually loaded with people but is an all right place to bird in winter.

Request for late hummingbird sightings

I am interested in any reports of hummingbirds coming to feeders starting today, October 1. Most of the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds should have migrated out by now. They have left our feeders. Lingering hummingbirds, and the dates on which they remain in the fall, should be followed. Naturally, if you see a hummingbird that you can’t identify in this season, please let someone know that, too. We can come out and try to identify it. Thanks.

Possible Nature Photography Club Startup

I was contacted by the owner of the Lone Rock Cafe, the concessionaire at Rock Cut State Park about getting new clubs/organizations to meet at the park as a way to attract visitors (and of course, customers too). One thing mentioned was the lack of a photography club and meeting at Rock Cut would be great since there is so much to photograph there.

I was curious if any NCIOS members would want to be a part of a photography club that meets once (or twice) a month at Rock Cut. So far details are limited. A possible working name would be Winnebago Wild Photography Club and would focus on nature photography county-wide (and elsewhere too).

The cafe has internet access and I am planning on getting more details when I visit (this Sunday) but wanted to know if anyone was interested in being a part. We could use the internet to host all our photos (digital) and that way everyone can view and comment on them. (Examples of this can be found here) I would love to learn photography tips from others and this would be a wonderful way to get non-birders interested in birds.

Feel free to email me directly birdfreak@birdfreak.com if you are interested (you don’t have to join/attend anything, I just want an idea of people interested before I talk to the owner of the cafe). As for cost of being a member that is also open for debate… a membership on the photosharing site Flickr is $24.95 a year (I think) and would allow everyone to upload their photos, organize them by categories, sets, etc. and is really quite fun.

Thanks,

Eddie Callaway

question regarding controlling sparrows

House sparrows have now murdered 2 bluebirds (one last year and a male over the weekend) and a tree swallow last year. Any suggestions on control of this. I remove sparrow nests daily from all my boxes and over the weekend bought a sparrow trap. However, a female bluebird got caught in the trap- so not so sure that the trap will work. I am converting the boxes to slot openings since it seems as if the bluebirds will use the slot boxes and the sparrows do not. (Plus I heard the the slot boxes do allow the bluebirds to escape if a sparrow tries to attack them). Any other suggestions?

Blackhawk Springs & eBird

I birded with Jennifer Outcalt (my sister) at Blackhawk Springs over my lunch break. Raptors seemed to be moving about quite a bit with sightings of low-flying Red-tail and Cooper’s Hawks. The best find was a small group of Eastern Bluebirds and hearing a Song Sparrow singing away.

I will probably bring this up at next month’s meeting but has anyone used eBird before and if they have what do they think of it? eBird (ebird.org) is a great tool for birders because it allows us to put in our sightings in checklist form and let the computer do all the work. You can make graphs, keep year lists, life lists, county lists, individual location lists, etc.

Check it out if you have time. I was thinking of creating a community database for NCIOS – where we could all sign in with same user name/password and submit sightings. Let me know what you think (add a comment by clicking on the post title or where it says “no comments”)