The American Bird Conservancy and the Chicago Audubon Society

need your help protecting all birds in and passing through Illinois!


The Illinois Senate recently passed a bill that would siphon money away from proven programs that help the state’s low-income pet owners and instead use those funds to maintain colonies of feral cats in Illinois’ parks and neighborhoods. This bill would authorize the systematic abandonment of cats throughout the state and is a threat to the health and welfare of people, birds, and other wildlife.

Cats make wonderful pets, but these non-native predators have contributed to the extinction of 63 species and annually kill 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals in the United States. They are the greatest source of direct, human-caused mortality to birds in the United States and Canada.  
Feral cats also transmit harmful parasites and diseases such as hookworms, typhus, and cat-scratch disease. Even worse, cats are consistently the top carrier of rabies among domestic animals and are the definitive host of the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. Permitting hordes of feral cats to roam our parks and neighborhoods is an unnecessary risk to human health.
The state should not be in the business of promoting and subsidizing colonies of feral cats -- it should be safeguarding our families and wildlife!
 Contact your State Representative to voice your support
for responsible cat management,
and tell him or her to VOTE NO on Senate Bill 641!
Thank you!


"Urban Nature" -- WTTW Video featuring Chicago Bird Collision Monitors

Chicago Audubon is proud to announce a video produced by WTTW featuring Annette Prince of Chicago Bird Collision Monitors & The Chicago Audubon Society, Doug Stotz of The Field Museum, Rose Augustine of Willowbrook Wildlife Center and Architect Jeanne Gang. Chicago Audubon Board member and photographer, Jerry Goldner, donated the bird videos to the project.

"BUILDING A BIRD-SAFE CITY" urbannature/building-bird- safe-city#!/


From the American Bird Conservancy and Chicago Audubon





We are at critical moment for birds! The Endangered Species Act (ESA)—one of our bedrock environmental laws—is under attack in Congress. Leaders of key environmental committees in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have identified weakening the ESA as a top priority. This may be the single best opportunity ever for our community to stand together for birds and defend the ESA. Please sign and share the petition to show your support for bird conservation and help preserve the progress we have made in recent decades. Threats to the ESA can be halted—but only if everyone who cares about birds and other wildlife makes their voices heard. Please add your voice to these very important efforts. The following link will take you to the American Bird Conservancy's page which contains the petition:
(Photo credits, left to right: Bald Eagle by Greg and Jan Ritchie;
Northern Cardinal by Bonnie Taylor Barry;
Blackburnian Warbler by Paul Reeves Photography;
Burrowing Owls by Tania Thomson, all from Shutterstock)



Arguably the most important thing we can do for bird conservation is mentor the next generation to love and value the natural world. Children are the future birders, scientists, artists and voters. Please take a look at the information in the link below about a program that has a great track record of working with children in Chicago to get them out of their classrooms into their neighborhoods to study and appreciate common city birds like cardinals, robins and goldfinches. The program relies on volunteers who are trained to be classroom and neighborhood guides. Consider whether this is something you might want to do and sign up now for the next training session. If you do decide to participate in this program let us know. We would like to write a story for the this website and for our newsletter, the Compass, about Chicago Audubon's educational efforts. Thank you for considering it. Everyone is very very busy, but busy people make time for important things.


The Skokie Lagoons: A Jewel for Recreation and A Paradise for Volunteers

"This network of pools, channels and islands winds between Winnetka, Northfield and Glencoe. With public boat access (boasting some of Cook County’s best fishing), biking and hiking trails and picnic areas, this well loved, wooded preserve offers peaceful retreats and activities around every bend. The Skokie Lagoons Forest Preserve covers 894 acres."   Cook County Forest Preserve District


By John Elliott, Chicago Audubon Society Conservation Committee 

Bur Oak.  Photo by A.L. Gibson.Long before there was a forest preserve, before a settlement called Chicago was founded on the prairie, before Jean Baptiste DuSable built a trading post on the Chicago River, when explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet made the first recorded passage by Europeans over the Chicago Portage, a grand old bur oak much like the one pictured here would have already been a maturing tree. Known to relatively few, the original still stands today surrounded by a tangle of buckthorn on the western edge of Erickson Woods preserve of the Skokie Lagoons.

When the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed the Skokie Lagoons during the great depression of the 1930’s, the region gained a fishing, boating, hiking and biking recreation area—at the cost of losing a diverse marshland home to many wild creatures. From Willow Road to Lake-Cook Road in Winnetka the only remnants of those original communities is a sedge meadow and the neighboring grand old oak that lie between the levee and drainage channel of the lagoons. Over the years much of the land was overrun by buckthorn and other invasive species of marginal value to wildlife. After the lakes of the lagoon system were dredged and rehabilitated in the 1990’s, some hardy volunteers took on the challenge of remedying at least a small portion of past neglect. Chicago Audubon’s Jerry Garden was the first volunteer steward to work on removing invasive species at a lagoon site along Tower Road in Winnetka, beginning at the shore just east of the parking area along Tower Road. After Jerry left us for Alaska, Dave Kosnik and Daniel Kielson took over as stewards. A few years later, Gary Morrissey also joined the stewardship team. In the past few years, work has been concentrated north of Tower, working east towards Forestway Drive. Buckthorn has been removed from much of the target area. While buckthorn removal remains a regular workday activity—and a favorite of many volunteers—there is a renewed emphasis on follow-up work. Even though “it’s not as much fun,” Dave says, follow up maintenance is defense against recolonization and is now a very important task. In spring, control of garlic mustard is also needed. 


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