Back to All Events

Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Wed, 07/19/2017 - 12:35pm

Event date:

Saturday, June 24, 2017 - 8:00am 



Hello to All,

Another great summertime bird walk!  Paul Clyne reported a chipmunk sighting this week on Wooded Island, and sure enough, the little creature ran across the North Bridge to Wooded Island in front of us. We did not spot the coyote that walked inside the fence along the soccer field.

On the west wall of the containment weir under the Music Bridge, a juvenile Great Blue Heron perched with its feet in several inches of water.  Its back feathers on its rump were blown up by the west wind. It made him look like a “Turkey-rumped Heron.” (I am prone to making up new species names.) While perched, and without moving a bit, a huge carp, over two feet in length, jumped over the wall and into the East Lagoon. Remember when the Army Corps of Engineers and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (both federally funded agencies) let the lagoons dry up in order to kill off the “undesirable” fish, like carp?  I recall Eric G. asked what would happen to their Grand Plan to separate “desirables” from “undesirables”, if someone just happened to drop a crap in the lagoon.  The gentleman thought a moment, and then responded, “Well, that would be bad.” Ha! The carp can take action themselves! I would deem the control of aquatic life in the lagoons, as a Mission Failure.

BIRDERS:      12.       (1) Eric G., (2) Bruce McC., (3) Jennie S. and (4) Karin D – recently returned from a wilderness vacation in Alaska, which included a clear day sighting of the summit of Denali. (30% change of that happening). (5) Renate G., (6) Roger F., (7) Raman S., (8) Bruce M., (9) Marian N., (10) Karen H. visiting from New Mexico for the summer, (11) Chris R., (12) Pat D.

TIME:             8:00 a.m. to 11:25 a.m.

PLACES:        Wooded Island and Bobolink Meadow

DISTANCE:    Two miles

WEATHER:    Sunny. Temperature 68 – 74 F., Wind WNW 15 – 25 mph.


  1. Canada Goose  116     In North Lagoon (Columbia Basin)

  2. Mallard  25

  3. Double-crested Cormorant  1

  4. Great Blue Heron  2

  5. Black-crowned Night-Heron  7

  6. Killdeer 3     Successful nesting in fenced area NW of North Bridge to Wooded Island.1 adult with 2 juveniles nearby.

  7. Ring-billed Gull  11

  8. Herring Gull  1

  9. Caspian Tern  2

  10. Mourning Dove 1     Heard at start of Walk, SE of Darrow Bridge.

  11. Chimney Swift  6

  12. Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2 A photo was taken by a birder last week of a likely nest on Wooded Island.  If confirmed, this would be the first finding of a nest on Wooded Island, although nesting has been considered likely for several years. Wooded Island is only sixteen acres, but it has proven to be a challenged to find a quarter to half dollar size nest, even for the best of Wooded Island Birders.

  13. Hairy Woodpecker  1     Southern tip of Wooded Island, NE of South Bridge. In the same tree as a restful, perched Eastern Wood Pewee, with an Eastern Kingbird on a snag over the water nearby. This has proven to be a Jackpot birding tiny spot the past two weeks.

  14. Northern Flicker  3

  15. Eastern Wood-Pewee  1     Perched in a tree southern tip of Wooded Island. NE of South Bridge.

  16. Willow Flycatcher  1     Identified by Eric G. by call and was seen.

  17. Eastern Phoebe  1

  18. Eastern Kingbird  4

  19. Warbling Vireo  1     Seen and heard, near start of Walk, SE of Darrow Bridge.

  20. Purple Martin  15     Adult male & female on porches to condos. Young poking heads out occasionally.

  21. Barn Swallow  2

  22. Cliff Swallow  15     Nine nests underside roof of the MSI south portico. Several more active nests on nearby ledges.

  23. Black-capped Chickadee  1     Heard

  24. House Wren  4

  25. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2

  26. American Robin  4

  27. Gray Catbird  1

  28. Cedar Waxwing  3

  29. Yellow Warbler  6

  30. Chipping Sparrow  1     Seen and heard in enclosed fenced area NW of North Bridge to Wooded Island. Credit to Eric G. for locating bird by ear then by sight.  Most birders observed bird.

  31. Song Sparrow  2

  32. Northern Cardinal  2

  33. Indigo Bunting  4

  34. Dickcissel  1     Heard then seen by Karen H. on Turtle Island, near golf shack.  Bird flew to large willow tree south of Island.  No sight or sound of a Dickcissel in the Meadow.

  35. Red-winged Blackbird  4

  36. Brown-headed Cowbird  2

  37. Baltimore Oriole  1

  38. American Goldfinch  10     Birders told me that as I sat on a bench near the Old Rose Garden, a swirl of finches were talking and flying behind my back!


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: June 17
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: July 8
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report