Back to All Events

Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Sun, 08/26/2018 - 2:45pm

Event date:

Saturday, August 18, 2018 - 8:00am 



After a comparison and discussion of Tilley hats and proper sizing, the Walk proceeded along the counterclockwise route – North Basin, Wooded Island, Soccer Field and Bobolink Meadow.

The gurgling musical sound of our summer residents, the Purple Martins, was absent. Wait until next spring, we tell ourselves.  They shall return, if humans provide housekeeping service.  The White Houses that was home to the delightful summer companions are now empty.  We will see some migrants from the north soon, but they will not be our local charmers.

Otherwise, there were no surprises or rare sightings on our Walk.  Wooded Island was quiet.  We are waiting for the fall migration to begin.

The lagoons were devoid of geese and ducks.  The majestic Great Egret perked up our spirits. The trio of heron species was around too.  I love how the adult Black-crowned Night Heron has made the Japanese Garden its home. Such poise and self-confidence is on display.  It waits patiently for our departure, so it can once again reign is splendid silence.

BIRDERS:      9.         (1) Gary M. soon to travel to South Africa. (2) Karin D. just returned from South Africa. (3) Chris R. from MSI, (4) Bruce McC. Recently back from the Rockies. (5) Jennie S., (6) Kim S, (7) Beverly B. – journalist student at Northwestern who interviewed Jennie on the changing environment in Jackson Park and the impact on wildlife. (8) Marian N. and (9) Pat D.

TIME:             8:00 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.         

PLACES:        Wooded Island, Bobolink Meadow and Lagoons

DISTANCE:    2 miles

WEATHER:    Partly cloudy. Muggy. Temperature 77 – 84 F. Wind NNW 7 – 19 mph.


  1. Wood Duck  5     SE area of East Lagoon.

  2. Chimney Swift  24

  3. Ring-billed Gull  1

  4. Great Blue Heron  1

  5. Great Egret  1     Perched on west side of Music Bridge.  A solo traveler.  Stayed all morning.

  6. Green Heron  2     Near Turtle Island.

  7. Black-crowned Night-Heron  3     An adult favored repose in the Japanese Garden. The waterfall is its footbath.  Very clever heron. Knows all the hidden branches to perch, even in the pine tree to the right inside the Garden entrance.

  8. Cooper's Hawk  1     Made a brief appearance on Wooded Island. They are great masters at using tree branches and leaves to camouflage their position.  You can walk beneath a Cooper's and they will maintain their hiding place.

  9. Downy Woodpecker  1

  10. Eastern Kingbird  6

  11. Warbling Vireo  2     One was seen on a branch along Soccer Field shore.

  12. American Crow  2

  13. Purple Martin  2     Reported by one participant. Houses are abandoned. Local population in migration. Will  miss their sound until the scouts return next spring.

  14. Barn Swallow  4

  15. Black-capped Chickadee  1

  16. White-breasted Nuthatch  1     Trees along east parking lot. Seen by Marian N.

  17. House Wren  1

  18. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1

  19. American Robin  13

  20. Gray Catbird  2

  21. European Starling  30     Puts the Thunderbird jets in town for the Air & Water Show to shame, as the starlings are far more adept at flying in close formation.

  22. Cedar Waxwing  22     At least two were flying around the canopy in the center of Wooded Island.

A flock of 20 landed on shrubs at the south end of Bobolink Meadow.  A juvenile stood boldly on top of a shrub for all to see. The juvenile wears vertical strips and has a small tuff of feathers for a crown.  The crown, albeit petite, plus the black eyes and mascara from the outside corner of its eye backward, gives clues to its identity.


  1. American Goldfinch  4

  2. Baltimore Oriole  1

  3. Northern Cardinal  2

  4. Indigo Bunting  1

  5. House Sparrow  4


This is a group report, with many birders contributing to the list. Most of the birds were seen by at least several or all of the birders.

Corrections, additions and comments are welcome.

Recordings are not used to attract birds.

This report will be documented 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. Newcomers are warmly welcomed. 

Darrow Bridge: Darrow Bridge has been barricaded by the Department of Transportation. A high black metal iron fence has been erected on all four sides. The fence will remain in place until Darrow Bridge is completely rebuilt, which could be several years away. The Bridge has been deemed unsafe.

Birders meet on the east side of Darrow Bridge.

Saturday morning walks: Start at 8:00 a.m. covers a distance of two miles.  Birders walk counterclockwise around the Columbia Basin (North Lagoon) onto Wooded Island. Exiting Wooded Island at the south end, the birders walk along the soccer field and enter the south end of Bobolink Meadow. The Meadow’s path leads to the Music Bridge and back to the East Parking Lot. In late fall, winter and early spring, the birders check for birds on the lakefront and Outer Harbor near LaRabida Hospital, and the Inner Harbor.

Metered parking is available in the East Parking Lot that is accessible from South Lake Shore Drive. There is a Stop Light at Science DriveThis Stop Light is approximately 200 yards south of the major intersection with signs for Museum of Science and Industry. Make a turn at the 57th Street and Science Drive 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.

Birders meet in the southwest corner of the East Parking Lot.

Parking and Lots: The East Parking Lot is preferred. There is also unmetered parking along Stony Island Avenue from 56th to 59th Street.

Best of Birding to All,                    

Patricia Durkin

Chicago Audubon Society Representative

Earlier Event: August 11
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: August 25
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report