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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Sun, 02/15/2015 - 10:00am

Event date:

Saturday, January 17, 2015 - 10:00am 


Wooded Island

Hello to All,

During all the talk and angst of what will become of our beloved Wooded Island, birders have continued to meet and bird together each week on Wooded Island.

The multimillion dollar Army Corps of Engineers makeover has begun.  Trees have been cut down and the lagoons are being drained. (photos)

Project 120 endeavors to reface Wooded Island as FredrickOlmsted left it in 1893.

Where to plant a library for Mr. Obama is in play. The University of Chicago has graciously offered to confiscate parkland for both of their proposed sites. The plan along Cornell Drive would cast a shadow from the west over Wooded Island as the sun sets.

Should we abandon the Wooded Island Bird Walks?  This was considered and discussed by members of the Wooded Island Regulars. The decision:  We will continue to gather on Darrow Bridge and bird as much of the area as allowed during construction. We will continue to bird together and encourage one and all to join us. We will continue to voice our concerns to the Park District, who are actually listening.  We will continue.

Highlights of today’s adventure were an Adult Cooper’s Hawk, that shot out from the pine trees in Bobolink Meadow and perched on Wooded Island;  a female Hairy Woodpeckerwas at the southeast end of Wooded Island; and a falcon thatflew towards us from the lake at the turnaround north of LaRabida Hospital. Randy’s impression wasthat of a Merlin.It was too small for a peregrine; too big for a kestrel, and smudgy creamy brown - just right for a merlin.

BIRDERS:         13.       Marcos, Manual and Rachel H. – Marcos is a freshman at Whitney Young High School. Marcos heard about our walks from this biology teacher. Manuel is his father and Rachel is his sister. Sally E., Karin C., Randy S., Eric G., Jennie S., Karin D., Gary and Sheila started with us, Raman S caught up with us, and Pat D.

TIME:               8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

PLACES:           Wooded Island, Bobolink Meadow, lakefront and 66th St. Outer Harbor.

WEATHER:      Partly sunny. Temperature 33 – 41 F. Winds SSW 10 – 20 mph.


Jackson Park, Chicago--Wooded Island/Bobolink Meadow area, Cook, US-IL Jan 17, 2015 8:06 AM - 9:46 AM (Randy’s eBird Report)

Protocol: Transect

2.11 mile(s)

Comments:     Eric G. also saw a N. Cardinal.

10 species

Canada Goose  7

Cooper's Hawk  1     Ad. fem.

Downy Woodpecker  2

Hairy Woodpecker  1     Fem.

American Crow  4

Black-capped Chickadee  1

American Tree Sparrow  4

Dark-eyed Junco  1

American Goldfinch  1

House Sparrow  1


Jackson Park, Chicago--Inner/Outer Harbors, Cook, US-IL Jan 17, 2015 9:50 AM - 10:22 AM

Protocol: Point Count (Randy’s eBird Report)

Comments:     Outer harbor and Lake Michigan only.

9 species (+2 other taxa)


Canada Goose  10     OH

Greater Scaup  1     Fem. OH

Common Goldeneye  5     1 m., 1 fem. L. Mich.; 2 m., 1 fem. OH

Common Merganser  8     Males L. Mich.

Red-breasted Merganser  2     1 m. L. Mich., 1 fem. OH

Common/Red-breasted Merganser  10     Fem. L. Mich.

Ring-billed Gull  55     All ads.; 3 L. Mich., 52 OH

Herring Gull  5     4 ads., 1 2nd cyc. all but 1 ad. (L. Mich.) in OH

gull sp.  1     L. Mich.

Merlin  1     Flew in off L. Mich., too small, to be Peregrine; didn't fly like kestrel.

American Crow  1


This is a group report, with many birders contributing to the list. Most of the birds were seen by a least several or all the birders. Randy S. kept exact counts and shared them for this report.

Corrections, additions and comments are welcome.

Recordings are not used to attract birds.

This report will be recorded on eBird as a group report for the Wooded Island Bird Walks.

The Walks are free and open to one and all. They are held year round. Birders always show up near Darrow Bridge at the start times. Newcomers are warmly welcomed.  Come to Darrow Bridge to meet with the other birders.

Noteon Darrow Bridge: Darrow Bridge has been barricaded by the Department of Transportation but there are openings at each end that allows for foot traffic. The Bridge has been deemed unsafe. Birders continue to meet on Darrow Bridge at the start times, even during the multi-year restoration of Wooded Island and other areas within Jackson Park.

The Walks start at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, and at 7:15 a.m. on Wednesday. 

Birders gather on Darrow Bridge, which is located south of the Museum of Science and Industry.

Metered parking is available east of Darrow Bridge and is accessible from South Lake Shore Drive at 57th Street (labeled Science Drive on a small blue street sign). There is a Stop Light at 57th Street. Make a turn at the Stop Light towards the Museum. Turn Left (south) at the intersection of Science Drive and Columbia Drive. Go through the parking lot to the west end near Darrow Bridge.

Note on Parking and Lots: While restoration is ongoing, heavy equipment has taken over half of the east parking lot, off of South Lake Shore Drive, and half of the southwest parking lot which has an entrance off of Hayes Drive (63rd St.) and just east of Cornell Drive. Birders will be able to find metered parking in both lots. The east lot is the preferred one, as it is located nearest the Darrow Bridge. The southwest parking lot would require that the entire Wooded Island be walked northward, and to cross the North Bridge to reach Darrow Bridge.  There is also unmetered parking along Stony Island Avenue from 58th to 56th Street.

Best of Birding to All,

Patricia Durkin

Earlier Event: December 13
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: January 24
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report