Back to All Events

Wooded Island Bird Walk

  • Wooded Island, Jackson Park Museum of Science and Industry south parking lot Chicago, IL, 60637 United States (map)

Hello to All,

And to think…we almost skipped birding this morning. It was raining. It was cold. Cheryl M. and I had convinced ourselves that we could be doing other things rather than walking in the rain on a cool morning.  Then Jennie S. arrived.  Folks like Jennie who are cooped up in an office all week will not let inclement weather defer a weekly outdoor adventure. Okay. Okay. Let’s walk and see what we find. “Bad weather means good birding”, as a familiar axiom goes.

The birds seem to move about when there was a break in the light rain. The two rarities were found on Wooded Island, along the center foot path.  The sighting of the Golden-winged Warbler was made by Karin D.  I was close behind her and could not believe that I was looking at such a rare warbler. The bird is very true to its name. He was stunning in all his coloring.  Jennie S. and Cheryl M. were close behind us and enjoyed great looks. 

Along the same path I spotted a warbler with a complete eye ring and a gray bib on a dull yellow belly.  I wanted to make it common, but after reviewing Sibley’s Field Guide, the bird could only be a Connecticut Warbler.

Today yielded high counts for Belted Kingfishers and a large family portrait of Wood Ducks on a log.

So this was the fall migration day that I thought had passed us by.  Thanks Jennie S. for motivating us to see what we could find.

BIRDERS:      5          (1) Cheryl M., (2) Jennie S., (3) Karin D., (4) Randy S. – occasional crossing of paths, and (5) Pat D.

TIME:             8:00 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.         

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

DISTANCE:    2 miles

WEATHER:    Light rain throughout the Walk. Temperature steady at 60 F. Wind North 10 mph.

TOTAL SPECIES COUNT:  37 (+ 1 other taxa)

1.     Canada Goose  58     Under count. Flocks were on the ground and in flight. Active, relocating often.

2.     Wood Duck  29     23 were seen resting together on logs along the east shore of Wooded Island. They seem to be waiting out the light rain. This is the highest single count of a gathering of Wood Ducks that I have ever seen in Jackson Park (Pat Durkin)

3.     Mallard  15

4.     Chimney Swift  100 +   Under count.  Skies were constantly filled with swirling flocks.  Between light rains, the Chimney Swifts would skim for bugs just above the lagoon surface.  This was a big migration day for Chimney Swifts.

5.     Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1     Found working a patch of Jewelweed along the west side of the center foot path on Wooded Island near the south end of the path.  This patch of Jewelweed was protected by surrounding vegetation and still in bloom.  Other patches of Jewelweed on our Walk were withering.

6.     Ring-billed Gull  6

7.     Double-crested Cormorant  6

8.     Great Blue Heron  3

9.     Great Egret  2     Observed both in the NE corner of the East Lagoon at the same time.

10.  Green Heron  1     In the Japanese Garden near the Moon Bridge, where a Green Heron has been found for the past several weeks.

11.  Belted Kingfisher  5     Highest single count ever seen by recorder in Jackson Park (Pat Durkin) Both males and females. multiples in single views. Big migration movement.

12.  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  2     In short trees located in the SW corner of the Museum Parking Lot.

13.  Downy Woodpecker  3

14.  Northern Flicker  4

15.  Eastern Wood-Pewee  2

16.  Eastern Phoebe  1

17.  flycatcher sp. (Tyrannidae sp.)  1     Yellow belly.

18.  Red-eyed Vireo  1

19.  American Crow  4

20.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3     Small flock at the north end of Bobolink Meadow in the company of migrating sparrows.

21.  White-breasted Nuthatch  2

22.  Gray Catbird  7

23.  Brown Thrasher  2

24.  Eastern Bluebird  1     Juvenile. In the oak grove east of the north lagoon. The nest site area.

25.  American Goldfinch  9     A flock working the plants in the area NW of the Music Bridge.

26.  White-crowned Sparrow  1     Spotted by Jennie S and other birders. At the north end of Bobolink Meadow.

27.  White-throated Sparrow  1     Moving with other migrating sparrows and Ruby-crowned Kinglets at the north end of Bobolink Meadow.

28.  Song Sparrow  3

29.  Golden-winged Warbler  1     4 birders saw the adult male at very close range and for over a minute. No doubts about identification.  The golden wing patch was first obvious sign.  The body was pearly white.  The male was classic in appearance, with a black throat and auriculars and a lemon yellow crown.  It was discovered along the center foot path of Wooded Island toward the south end but north of where the Rose Garden use to be. If was making its way south on Wooded Island.  A thrilling find for all the birders on this rainy and cool day of autumn.

30.  Black-and-white Warbler  3

31.  Connecticut Warbler  1     Found along the center path on Wooded Island which had thick vegetation and shrubs. Seen at close range.  Noted the full eye ring and the gray bib.  Call made by Pat Durkin

32.  Common Yellowthroat  1

33.  American Redstart  4

34.  Magnolia Warbler  3

35.  Palm Warbler  3

36.  Yellow-rumped Warbler  5

37.  Wilson's Warbler  5

38.  Northern Cardinal  9


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 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: 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

Wooded Island Bird Walks