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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Wed, 07/19/2017 - 12:41pm

Event date:

Saturday, July 8, 2017 - 8:00am 



Hello to All,

It has been a very good breeding season for our summer residents.  The Eastern Kingbirds proved very fertile.  Cedar Waxwings increased their numbers. Nests are being found, here, there and everywhere.

And how could I fail to mention the Cliff Swallows who set up residences with the Museum of Science and Industry, without even a group family membership! Yellow Warblers successfully nested on Wooded Island, border areas and Bobolink Meadow. Even Killdeer took advantage of the fenced off area to ground nest northwest of the North Bridge. American Goldfinches are just starting to breed, as is their pattern. 

Our local cemetery Great Blue Herons kept three nests active and produced about a half dozen future gliding “pterodactyls”(“PLEASE”, they request, “Group me with my own kind: that would be pterosaurs, not dinosaurs.”)

Yes, indeed, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have successfully bred on Wooded Island.  We have been looking for their half-dollar size nest for several years. A lucky birder found the nest and even took a photograph of the nest and uploaded the picture to eBird.

Northern Flickers, American Robins, Northern Cardinals, Downy Woodpeckers, House Wrens, Baltimore Orioles, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, European Starlings, House Finches and Sparrows, and our beloved Purple Martins, Barn and Northern-roughed Wings Swallows. The complete list has many more…Wood Ducks, Canada Geese, Mallards…even more.

BTW, a Coyote, was spotted by Karin H. along the shore near Turtle Island.  The creature leapt into the tall grass in the fenced off area, west of the golf shack.

BIRDERS:      15        (1) Karin C., (2) Jennie S., (3) Bruce Mc C., (4) Eric G., (5) Erin C., (6) Tracy W.,(7)  Samantha P and (8)Tim P from Des Plaines, IL – new to Jackson Park, (9) Chris R., (10) Karen H., (11) Roger F., (12) Peter K., (13) Raman S. and his father (13) P. C. from Houston, (14) Karin D., (15) Pat D.

TIME:             8:00 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.

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

DISTANCE:    2 Miles

WEATHER:    Sunny. Temperature 71 – 78 F., Winds SW 5 – 10 mph


  1. Canada Goose  115     North Lagoon & on MSI steps.

  2. Wood Duck  10     One female was sailing along in the East Lagoon with two female mallards. An adult female with 8 young in tow were seen in the West Lagoon near the South Bridge.  This brood must have used a hollow in a tree somewhere near the lagoons. Where?

  3. Mallard  21     Female with two ducklings, West Lagoon, seen from North Bridge, hugging shoreline.

  4. Double-crested Cormorant  2     Fly overs.

  5. Great Blue Heron  5     An adult was perched 30 feet up in a tree south of the Japanese Garden.

  6. Black-crowned Night-Heron  5

  7. Killdeer  2

  8. Ring-billed Gull  42     Around 40 were on the soccer field.

  9. Caspian Tern  3

  10. Chimney Swift  2

  11. Ruby-throated Hummingbird  2

  12. Downy Woodpecker  2

  13. Northern Flicker  1

  14. Eastern Phoebe  3

  15. Eastern Kingbird  13     Adults and juveniles. Active nest in Japanese Garden and SE area near North Bridge to Wooded Island. Babies seen in nest in Japanese Garden, area north of Moon Bridge. Another nest is on the southern tip of Wooded Island. Occupied. Two adults on or near the nest. Adult atop a tree at the north end of Bobolink Meadow. Likely another nest nearby.

  16. Warbling Vireo  2

  17. American Crow  2

  18. Purple Martin  16     Busy households.  Adults bring food back to the young, who are waiting at the entrances.

  19. Tree Swallow  2

  20. Barn Swallow  12

  21. Cliff Swallow  45     On/in nests. 13 nests on ceiling of MSI portico. Other nests on corner of ledges. Some young have fledged.

  22. Black-capped Chickadee  2     Japanese Garden.

  23. White-breasted Nuthatch  2     Traveling up and down the main trunk of an oak tree, NW corner near South Bridge.

  24. House Wren  2     Near lamp post SW corner of Japanese Garden. Constant singing.

  25. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2

  26. American Robin  6

  27. Gray Catbird  3

  28. European Starling  2

  29. Cedar Waxwing  9     Wooded Island. Center area. The nest near the entrance to the Japanese Garden is now empty.

  30. Yellow Warbler  6     4 in Japanese Garden.

  31. Song Sparrow  1

  32. Northern Cardinal  2

  33. Indigo Bunting  3

  34. Red-winged Blackbird  4

  35. Brown-headed Cowbird  1

  36. Baltimore Oriole  3

  37. House Finch  4

  38. American Goldfinch  2     Active nest discovered by Karen H. on branch, north end of North Bridge.

  39. House Sparrow  3


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 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: 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: July 8
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: July 22
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report