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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Sun, 08/27/2017 - 9:24am

Event date:

Saturday, August 19, 2017 - 8:00am 



Hello to All,

We missed the gurgling contented sounds of our Purple Martins. They have begun their migration south from their summer homes in Jackson Park. As we stood near the white houses, now with empty porches and perches, a pair of Sharp-shinned Hawks flew low over our heads.  Hal Cohen, the “Hawk Guy”, confirmed the identification. The photo above is from the National Audubon website.

Sharp-shinned Hawks are the smallest in size of the Accipiter group. They are the most migratory. Their tail end differs from a Cooper’s Hawk. The Sharp-shinned Hawk has a straight cut across the end of its’ tail feathers. The Cooper’s Hawk’s tail is looped.

The Japanese Garden on Wooded Island is roughly halfway on our circuit. We usually linger there awhile. The pavilion provides a nice sitting area. Bruce McCullogh treated us to a slide show he had prepared for the residents of The Breakers, a high rise retirement community along the lakefront.  As Bruce sat on a rock, the birders, joined by visitors in the Garden, perched on the pavilion, Bruce went through the slides and sounds.  The show was of birds that could be found within a mile of The Breakers.  First a photo would appear, then the name of the species would be displayed below the photo, then the song or call of the bird would be heard. There were about three dozen species. It was fantastic! Everyone applauded. A non-birder became a birder and wants to join the Walks.

You never know what you will see on the Walks. It makes getting up early on a Saturday morning worthwhile.

BIRDERS:      12        (1) Gary M., (2) Dan H., (3) Jennie S., (4) Marian N.,(5) Bruce McC., (6) Hal C., (7) Steve B., (8) Les G., (9) Erin C., (10) Karin D., (11) Karin C., (12) Pat D.

TIME:             8:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.         

PLACES:        Wooded Island, Lagoons, Soccer Field & Bobolink Meadow

DISTANCE:    Two miles

WEATHER:    Sunny. Temperature 74 – 78 F. Winds NE 5 – 10 mph


  1. Canada Goose  7

  2. Wood Duck  7     Seen in North Lagoon. 1 adult female with 6 young.

  3. Mallard  17

  4. Double-crested Cormorant  4

  5. Great Blue Heron  6     One was perched in a tree on the SW side of the North Lagoon.

  6. Green Heron  3     Now showing up in all three lagoons.  Juveniles.

  7. Black-crowned Night-Heron  1

  8. Sharp-shinned Hawk  2     Two birds flew only 15 feet above birders (12) Hal Cohen, the Hawk Guy, was among the birders, and without a doubt identified the pair as Sharp-shinned Hawk.

  9. Cooper's Hawk  1     Hunting in the woods at the north end of Bobolink Meadow. tried to catch a bird along the shore of the East Lagoon.  Cut its’ loss and few to snag over west of the Music Bridge.

  10. Spotted Sandpiper  1

  11. Ring-billed Gull  1

  12. Chimney Swift  1

  13. Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1

  14. Downy Woodpecker  1

  15. Eastern Wood-Pewee  1     Was diving down to the water to take a splash then flew back up to a branch near in the peach tree.  The peach tree on the NW side of the North Lagoon (Columbia Basin) was a popular spot for the birds. Two ripe peaches were seen.

  16. Eastern Phoebe  1     In the same peach tree with the Eastern Wood Pewee.

  17. Eastern Kingbird  1

  18. Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1

  19. Barn Swallow  22

  20. Black-capped Chickadee  1

  21. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  3

  22. American Robin  1

  23. Gray Catbird  4

  24. Cedar Waxwing  2

  25. Northern Cardinal  6

  26. Indigo Bunting  2     Adult Male

  27. Red-winged Blackbird  1

  28. House Finch  1

  29. American Goldfinch  6


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.

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 57th Street Science Drive.This 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: 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 Parking Lot is preferred. There is also unmetered parking along Stony Island Avenue from 56th to 59thStreet.

Best of Birding to All,                    

Patricia Durkin

Chicago Audubon Society Representative

Earlier Event: August 12
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: September 2
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report